Thursday, July 2, 2015

Call Me Caitlyn (or Stephanie or Kellie)

By Michelle Bowles

Transgender issues seem to be big at the moment. Apart from Caitlyn Jenner story, just recently I’ve been aware of a number of stories that have made the national news in the UK.

Here is one that I noticed today as I was looking at the BBC website concerning a DJ who broadcasted nationally to millions on a weekly top 40 show and won three prestigious Sony Radio Awards; now to be known as Stephanie Hirst.

The photo accompanying this article, by the way, indicates to me that she knows how to present as a woman. However, the interview with her by Radio 4’s Today programme is enlightening on how “commercial interests” can trump all before them ― I assume she is being legally restricted as to what she can say as this topic is addressed, although she does state that everyone was supportive.

Apparently, a letter from Global Radio, which owns the station she worked on, said “it did not think the topic of gender reassignment was suitable for the shows that he presented” and that “it was in his best interests to come off the radio.” Fortunately, the BBC has a more enlightened attitude to gender matters than some its commercial radio competitors and her new show starts on BBC Manchester on 4 July at 22:00 BST. It could be worth a listen.

There is also the case of boxing promoter Kellie (formerly Frank) Maloney. Maloney guided Lennox Lewis to the World Heavyweight Championship. Remarkably, even in such a macho environment he has received much support with Lewis himself saying, "This world we live in isn't always cut and dried or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can only imagine what a difficult decision this must be for Kellie.” A full article on Kellie can be found here.

I bought he latest edition of Vanity Fair and I really enjoyed the “Call Me Caitlyn” article. It was very much in depth, not sensationalised and what a fantastic set of photos to accompany it.

Apart from the bravery of these women, one thing that stands out for me is that each have known for most of their lives that they were born into the wrong body. Maloney says, “I have always known I was a woman. I can't keep living in the shadows, with the burden any longer would have killed me.” The other two women say pretty much the same thing in the coverage of their stories.

I suspect many (or even most) of us have felt the same thing in our lives. It would be wonderful if at an early age I could have confided in somebody to tell them my feelings. I don’t know whether I would have completed the full journey to the other side ― but maybe, even if I did not, I could have been made to feel less ashamed and guilty and found ways to let out my strong feminine side.

Hirst is in her late 30s, Jenner and Maloney in their 60s as they take the journey they have always really known they should make. If we assume his could have been done in their teens or twenties, that is a total of over a 100 years of human life that has not been lived to the fullest.

Source: Madeleine.
Wearing Madeleine.

Jerick Hoffer
Jerick Hoffer femulating in the "Manhattan Queens" episode of television's Blue Bloods (2014).


  1. AnonymousJuly 02, 2015

    (Unless it was here that I learned of it...) Caroline Cossey, AKA Tula, has updated her book 'My story'. She says this is in response to all the recent TG news.

    Cossey is now 60, and was for many of us - me included - an absolute inspiration and impossible dream, becoming a showgirl, model, actress, harem girl, mistress, and wife. She is also a campaigner of some note, and helped change both the sentiment and actuality of European gender law.

    I've got, and read both her books in paperback - they were out of print for some time - and now re-reading in this kindle format. Either my memory is fading (surely not!) or there are some tweeks to update the content. However its still a great, andf ethralling read, and an insight into how far we have come in 40 years.


  2. True, we have come a long way! I don't know what else to say.

  3. Your post today fits nicely with todays post at Shades of Gender by Terri Lee Ryan. In her post, while noting the recent increase in visibility by trans women she focused her remarks about the confusing status of cross dressers. SHe discusses us dressing part timers and our need to remain closeted while at the same time confronting the need/desire/hope to be able to present and get out and about while dressed.

    While the recent publicity about T issues from Jenner to Cox, from Transparent to the recent articles in the NY Times is generally positive I wonder if it helps open a window for part timers to feel a little more free in presenting as women.