The Country

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I feel like this chapter might offend many people and that really isn’t my intention. When I speak about the countryside please keep in mind that I saw a very ugly side to the place that I lived during my time there. I’m not trying to make a generalisation about country people or country towns. I encountered many people that I adored and continue to adore during my time in Wexford. I still enjoy my visits home but in this chapter I am going to be honest about my past experiences. I can’t change the fact that I didn’t fit in in the countryside. I can’t change the fact that I had some bad experiences and have been left a little traumatised from living there. I can only be honest about all of it and say that none of it matters to me anymore. We move on from things like that but that doesn’t make any of it right.

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Incidents of Disrespect.

The sad thing is, I could probably name a ton of incidents that have happened to me over the years where I felt blatantly disrespected. I don’t generally like to focus on things like this but I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting recently and when I do this, I can’t help but encounter incidents where I was blatantly disrespected. So I’m going to share some of them.

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A Day Spent Living.

Let me tell you about a day that I had over the weekend. I woke up after sleeping for sixteen hours (have I mentioned how fun it is to have fatigue) feeling quite surprisingly refreshed. I was due to meet my friend Bridgin (I’m mentioning her by name because she complained that I never have before) for a catch up day.

One of my favourite things to do is to catch up with my friends over a meal, a coffee, a drink or a day of shopping. It’s even better if myself and my busy friends actually find time to do a combination of any of the above activities.

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In “Who Cares?” (I find myself constantly saying that) I wrote a chapter about men. But what about the BOYS in my life? The ones who I socialise with. The ones who I’ve grown up with. The ones who I usually encounter. The ones who are in my age-group. The one’s that I interact with in a non-romantic way?

I could probably count the number of boys that I’m currently particularly friendly with (or should I say that are particularly friendly with me) on one finger. Does this upset me? A tiny little bit. But I’m not interested in trying to impress boys. Because boys have almost always tried to avoid me. And I don’t really feel the need to compensate for that.

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Turning Heads.

I’m not sure what age I was when I realised that I was destined to turn heads. Not in a full of myself way or anything. But you can’t deny that I’m quite a noticeable person. I’ve turned heads for as long as I can remember. And here’s why I enjoy doing so.

I’m walking through town with my friend Catherine. We are chatting and walking towards our bus stop. We are taking up a small path and we separate when we see a man approaching. Instead of quickly moving past us, this man slows down to stare at me. I meet eyes with him, smirk and keep walking.

When Catherine catches up she laughs. “What?” I ask. “It’s just funny,” she responds, “I don’t know how you deal with that.”

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The Stigma of Bullying.

The 21st century saw the Irish education system finally take a dedicated and realistic approach to bullying in schools. In September 2013, the Department of Education and Skills published these Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools. There are rules set down in procedure (but not law) regarding bullying between students at primary and post-primary schools and the rights of pupils and parents when bullying occurs. But, as we know, bullying can happen anywhere. The workplace, the gym, college, the internet. It is not just a kid’s problem.

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