Money can’t buy you love and acceptance, but at least it can buy your lunch

Today a young shop assistant remarked on my red finger nails, and how she wished she could achieve the nail length I have. I smiled and thanked her, but admitted that I need to use shellac polish as the hormones I am taking cause my nails to be extremely brittle, and that they otherwise too readily, and too often, peel, shatter and split past my quick. Despite my extensive reading beforehand to search for all possible outcomes, I don’t remember reading any references to the possibility that a drastic reduction in testosterone could interfere with my body’s ability to lay down keratin in my nails. My hormone specialist has promised to trawl the journals to try to find a solution for me, bless his little cotton socks. It is unlikely, though, due to the dearth of studies on cross hormones and transitioning.

The shop assistant replied “oh … the hormones my boyfriend takes cause his nails to be really hard, so he struggles to trim and file them”. It took me 0.25 second and several blinks of my eyelids to realise that she had just very probably told me that she has a trans boyfriend experiencing the effects of vastly increased testosterone. I wanted to ask, but there were others behind me waiting to be served. 

I left the shop, sat down in my car and promptly started crying. I shed tears for how comfortable she was in telling me … someone that she sees for a matter of minutes not even once a week, and someone who’s name she doesn’t know. I shed tears for the joy that future generations of trans folk, generally speaking, in Australia at least, will have vastly improved and much more fulfilling lives than those that have beaten this path before them. I shed tears because … well that’s just who I am now.


Transgender Awareness Week

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November 12 – 19 individuals and organizations around the country will participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces.

Between November 12 – 19, individuals and organizations around the country will participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. Also, after Transgender Awareness Week is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. You can read more about Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance below, and find out how you can participate. More about Transgender Awareness Week >>

What is Transgender Awareness Week?

Transgender Awareness Week is a time for transgender people and their allies to take action and bring attention to the community by educating the public and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender people face.

What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor her memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance by attending or organizing a vigil on November 20 to honor all those whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence that year.  Vigils are typically hosted by local transgender advocates or LGBT organizations, and held at community centers, parks, places of worship and other venues. The vigil often involves reading a list of the names of those who died that year. See the TDOR website at

You should travel: it broadens your mind

Transfixed on a transgender future with my allegedly cisgender past (with all of it’s privileges, some real, some only assumed) behind me, a ludicrously long list of future crunch points flooded into my head, daring me to reconsider the inevitable. Transition once envisaged, though, is unstoppable. Only the pace is manageable to a certain extent. The only real levers are time and money. I see those envisaged crunch points as future reminders of the many inconveniences that will be brought into my life at some point by the petty small mindedness of others.

One of the crunch points that flashed before me was travel. It was hard for me to fathom, having lived in the on-the-whole-accepting-or-at-least-prepared-to-overlook Northern Rivers for 14 years, but I have now lost the privilege of being able to travel anonymously and unperceived in most places in Australia and overseas. Now it would be a gaolable criminal offence for me to even set foot out of a transiting plane in some countries. Of course this is a theoretical inconvenience to me. I can avoid these countries with only a little effort. I’m lucky: the trans folk living in those countries cannot. Personally, it’s the small minded Australians that I’m more concerned about. Having to think twice or thrice about my comfort levels, or even my personal safety, visiting family or friends is anathema to me, yet this is my new world.

Apparently I visited Lightning Ridge when I was a toddler. I don’t remember the visit, being so young at the time, so I’ve long wanted to return as an adult. It’s one of those iconic towns that you just ‘have to visit’. Or so I thought until recently. Two of my dearest friends recently visited Lightning Ridge on a deliberately rambling road trip. Curious as I was about what it was like, I messaged them asking for details of their trip. This was the response:

“Trip good. Lightning Ridge is a place that dines out on its proudly self-declared Fringe Society vibe but actually turns out to be as Centre socially as it is geographically. Yeh, not sure how ‘fringe’ the people really are: most blokes wear the regulation uniform red checker flannels and have huge ginger beards and beat-up Akubras, and most of the women are your typical salt-of-the-earth no-nonsense farmer’s wives Shazzers. It’s almost like they are conforming to a preconceived idea of a ‘rebel’ born of old Chips Rafferty black and white movies and ABC local dramas. Quite monoculture. No out gays, no goths, no skaters, no hippies, the indigenous are shunned and certainly no room for transgender ideas. A bit of a shit hole really. Oh well… off to Bourke tomoz.”

My travel bucket list just got one destination shorter. My intuition tells me that it’s going to get decidedly shorter, rather than longer.