With their customary crappyness, P&O, or rather their lawyer Slimy Joe, landed a letter on my doormat on Saturday morning. It announced their request for a review of the tribunal judgement, with reasons. So I did a crash change of plans for the New Year, delivered Katie to the Other Parent, and spent New Year’s Day writing my response. It was sitting on the Tribunal chairman’s desk, alongside the P&O request, on Tuesday morning.
Their request contains a veiled threat that they will appeal against the judgement, which, if they do, will mean another hearing. My response contains a veiled threat that, if they do, I shall be reviewing aspects of the judgement with which I am unhappy, as I think that the rascals got away with a lot on the medical evidence side of things, owing to Slimy practices…
The deadline for an appeal expires on 26th January, so I guess I’m in for another period of uncertainty…
Meanwhile, the healing continues. The nerves Down Below have been going ping lately, and were wide awake yesterday, which was rather distracting, though not in a particularly pleasurable way. And I am very much back on my bicycle, at last, thank goodness.
Five years ago I made my first appearance among friends as the New Dru, at a New Year’s party. It was nice. The next morning, I climbed up onto the roof of the house and watched the day begin. It was a frosty, utterly clear morning, with a solid bank of mist over the Severn, to the north. I knew that the year ahead was going to be adventurous and a time of crediting marvels.
I was right.
Busy, busy. I went to the City Council Job Shop, and found that they’re recruiting librarians. Serendipity or what? I shall now put my creative writing skills to use on the application form. Be afraid. Be… well, moderately afraid.
Then home to find an e-mailed letter from Slimy Lawyer, saying that he wanted my letter of objection to the tribunal to be disregarded. That’s what happens when you keep pondlife in the information loop…. I phoned the Trib office, in time to be told that the case folder had just come out from the Chairman, with a tape-recorded response which is to be typed up. And yes, he did read my objection. Which, of course, points out ever so politely that Slimy’s a bit of a liar….
And finally to my GP, to update him on things and reassure him; he’s still a bit of a quivering wreck after that rather vicious cross-examination he got during the hearing. I asked him about blood samples, as I’ve not had a decent one done now for about 18 months. It will be done tomorrow morning. So that’s sorted, too.
..was browsing PFCs stuff this morning and read about the PCCs rejection of a trans man’s complaint about intrusive reporting. So, since the war against stupidity is never-ending, I was impelled to write to the Daily Mail about that article about me, now nearly three weeks old but smelling no better.
Daily Mail6 January 2007
I wish to complain about an article which appeared in the Daily Mail on December 18th 2006. The article was about me. These are the grounds for my complaint:
1. The article was headlined “Would you Adam and Steve it… transsexual wins £65,000 for taunts by P&O crew”.
The remark about Adam and Steve is borrowed from one of the taunts made to me by members of the crew, which were accepted as being offensive by the tribunal. Its use by your paper is equally offensive. Further, it appears to invite the reader to share some sense of disbelief at the amount of the compensation awarded me, for, apparently, merely enduring taunts. The article fails to mention that I was also threatened with violence and physically assaulted, despite the reporter having full access to the judgement for this case which describes these incidents.
2. It is stated that “It is understood she used to be called ****** (edited: Dru) Marland – a person of this name shares her birthday and was listed as living at her flat in Bristol until 2002.”
I refused to confirm my previous name to your reporter, and told him that it should not appear in the article as it was not in the public interest. This article is about harassment in the workplace, and my former identity in that context is protected by a directive from the Department for Education and Employment – as I also pointed out to your reporter.
Further, there is an unpleasantly stalker-ish element to this sentence, which might give your readers the idea of hunting me down themselves. As this case demonstrated, I am vulnerable to abuse from transphobes.
AndThere was the letter from the Chairman of the Tribunal.
He’s turned down P&O’s request for a review. In no uncertain terms.
I pertickerly like the final clause:
Quote:In fact, I consider that the arguments put forward are either misconceived or lack merit, but it is not necessary for me to assess the prospects of the judgement being varied or revoked on review, since I have ruled that there are no grounds for the decision to be reviewed.
Another waypoint. The clock continues to tick; they have a further 20 days to appeal.
It’s all gone V quiet out there in No Man’s Land. So I’ve left Orsa the teddy bear peeping over the parapet with her tin hat on to discourage surprise attacks, and gone a-gallivanting.
On Saturday I found a Really Nice Coat in the Oxfam shop. Fitted lovely; sleeves, though, too short; and it cost £40. So I left it.
By the time I’d got home I recalled my golden rule of charity shop buying. Which is, if you’re not sure, then buy it. You may regret buying it, but if you don’t buy it you certainly WILL regret it.
So I cycled hastily back, and it was still there. And there was a sign on the window saying All Coats Half Price. And I checked the sleeves and there’s plenty of spare turn-up at the cuffs to extend the sleeve length.
Today I dropped off my application for a job at the City Library. Judy, at the City Council Job Shop, congratulated me on the trib result…
Yesterday I got a letter from the City Council. I’ve been shortlisted for the library job, and shall be going to interview.
…and I’ve just written my letter to the Press Complaints Commission, as a week has passed without any response from the editor at the Daily Mail.
Another little waypoint passes.
At 4:00 p.m. yesterday, the deadline for P&O to lodge an appeal expired.
At 4:15 I was on the phone to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, to confirm that no such appeal had been lodged.
So now it’s a case of getting the money out of them.
I e-mailed the head of HR yesterday
Quote:Dear Mr Ambrose,
As you may be aware, the judgement for this case was promulgated on 15th December 2006. I have not yet received the compensation which was ordered. Please take note that on Monday I shall begin legal action to enforce payment, both of the compensation and of the interest which will begin to accrue from tomorrow.
…now, an interesting thought occurs. If they prove to be a bit backward in coming forward with the money, then it might be necessary to take action such as seizing goods. And since the company I worked for is an offshore one (in name at least), i.e. P&O Portsmouth (Gibraltar) Ltd, then the only asset which they have in this country is a big floating one with a chimney on top…
The unpaid compensation starts to get interest charged on it after 42 days, at the same time as the deadline for lodging an appeal expires. Quite what motive P&O might have for continuing to hold out is beyond my comprehension, other than that they appear to do the shabby thing as a point of principle. Maybe they’re like Satan and his fallen angels in Paradise Lost, who get uglier and nastier as they become more confirmed in sin and vice, until they turn into a load of serpents…
Thinking nautical things, I was cycling round the harbour this morning (to check out moorings for the appropriated Pride of Bilbao, obviously…). There was a flapdoodle going on up by the Underfall Yard, with marching band and cadets with realistic looking guns at present arms. I asked the boat builders what the score was. They said that it was the official launch of a traditional-style pilot gig, and the Lord Mayor would preside over it since the City Council had invested a few pounds in the project. The funny thing is that, though there are some traditional pilot cutters in the Bristol area, this is the first pilot gig. Because pilot gigs weren’t used in the Bristol Channel. Hey ho, heritage lite…
As we went on, I saw Bill Foley hurrying towards me. Bill was Chief Officer on one of the Channel Island boats I’d worked on long ago, and gave it up to work in the Bristol Harbourmaster’s team. He was in a hurry; but we exchanged hellos. Then he added “Well done!” as he continued on his way.
Scene: a blasted heath. A seedy bunch of individuals stand next to a staff car, waiting expectantly for something to happen.
A distant hum increases in volume. It becomes the full-on roar of a Merlin. Dru’s Spitfire appears, low and fast. It roars over the figures, so low that they throw themselves to the ground. As it ascends in a barrel roll, contrails appear from the wingtips. Then it climbs steadily and disappears through the cloudbase.
It’s peaceful up here. The sun’s warm on my face, and I can see for ever.
The cheque arrived this morning. That’s it.
I am now horribly hungover after mixing the wines of Spain and Italy and some dodgy Hungarian charcuterie last night. Hmmmm… where’s ‘sympathy’ in the dictionary?
I’ve been very lucky to get something approximating to justice, and a proper closure to a rather nasty episode. It is indeed time to move on.
I started yesterday, by popping over to the Morris Centre in South Brissle, and selecting a likely candidate for my next car. It’s a Morris Traveller, in british racing green, and they’re bolting on a few extras for me. Life in the fast lane, eh?
And today finds me preparing for a trip to Lunnon Village, to see Dr L and, presumably, sign myself off the books at the Claybrooke.
I’ve had a letter from the PCC. They’ve had a response from the Daily Mail. Letters as follows:
Quote:Dear Ms Marland,
I write further to my e-mail of 07 February.
The Commission has now received a response to your complaint from the Daily Mail, a copy of which is enclosed.
As you will see, the newspaper has offered you its apologies for the distress that was caused by the headline and article, and the managing director would be happy to write to you privately to that effect.
The newspaper has also sought to explain that the headline was not intended pejoratively, but rather as an echo of the cockney rhyming slang for ‘would you believe it?’ Furthermore, the newspaper has defended the reference to your former name, making clear that it is a matter of public record.
The primary aim of the commission is the resolution of substantive complaints, wherever possible. To this end, I would be grateful for an indication of whether you would like to take the newspaper up on its offer to write to you privately to apologise.
One additional benefit of resolving your complaint at this stage is that a summary of it – with your consent and a wording agreed by you – will be published on our website and in our bi-annual report. This will act, importantly, as a further public record of your concerns, and the subsequent remedial action taken by the newspaper.
In any case, before a decision can be made as to how this matter might be taken forward, I should be grateful to receive any further comments you may wish to make.
I should be pleased to receive your response within seven days, or sooner, if convenient. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance to you.
…and here’s the letter from the Daily Mail to the PCC:
Quote:Dear Ms Sanders,
Thank you for your letter with the complaint from Ms Drusilla Malrland.
I would like to apologise to Ms Marland for any distress caused by our article and headline and I am ready to write directly to her saying that if she so desires.
The intention of the headline was not to be pejorative and, while the phrase was indeed in the copy, it was intended in our case as an echo of the Cockney rhyming slang “Would you Adam and Eve it?” which means would you believe it.
The article itself is very positive to Ms Marland’s case, devoting at least ten paragraphs to her evidence and, as far as I can see, very fairly reporting the tribunal’s findings. The sub head is merely factual.
I am sorry that Ms Marland did not like the reference to the former name. However the evidence quoted is a matter of public record.
Executive Managing Editor.
…which I think is weaselly. I shall write a response to that effect.
…Here’s my response:
Quote:Dear Ms Sanders,
Thank you for your letter dated 13 February, in which you detail the response to my complaint from the Daily Mail.
I don’t think that the Daily Mail’s response is adequate. The issues have already been covered in my initial complaint to you. I would like to add these comments:
1. Regarding the headline “Would you Adam and Steve it?” This comment uses as its source a comment made to me by a crew member of the Pride of Bilbao, who said, “When God made man, it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” This latter comment was made with the intention of causing offence, and it did cause offence. My reading of it goes as follows:
• Adam and Eve are archetypes for men and women respectively.
• By transposing ‘Steve’ for ‘Eve’ and using the name to refer to me, the user of the phrase effectively says that I, as a transsexual woman, am not indeed a woman, but a man. This was the intention behind the original comment, and, I believe, behind the Daily Mail headline. It is grossly offensive.
• Further, by using the phrase “Would you Adam and Steve it?”, which, as Mr Esser has helpfully pointed out, is an echo of the cockney rhyming slang for ‘would you believe it?’, the Daily Mail invites the reader to find something disproportionate in the compensation awarded me.
2. Regarding the reference to my former name, Mr Esser says: “I am sorry that Ms Marland did not like the reference to the former name. However the evidence quoted is a matter of public record.” I find this disingenuous. There is not a public record which states that I was formerly named ****** Marland. There is no more than a conclusion drawn by the Daily Mail, when they say “It is understood that she used to be called ****** Marland – a person of this name shares her birthday and was listed as living at her flat in Bristol until 2002.”
I made my claim to the employment tribunal to obtain justice on two counts:
• I wanted P&O to acknowledge that I had suffered verbal and physical harassment to the point where I was no longer able to work for them, a fact which they had denied
• I wanted to refute the unfounded and anonymous allegations made about my behaviour by crew members and repeated by P&O’s senior HR personnel.
I succeeded in both these objectives. The cost to me was that my status as a transsexual woman was made public. Now, this is what the Women and Equality Unit’s guidebook ‘Gender Reassignment – A Guide for Employers’ has to say about confidentiality:
Access to records showing the change of name and any other details associated
with the individual’s transsexual status, (such as records of absence for
medical treatment) must be restricted to staff who need the information
to do their work.
They could include people directly involved in the administration of a process,
for example the examining medical officer, or the person who authorises
payments into a company pension scheme. They do not include colleagues,
clients or line managers.
Once a person has obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate there must
be no disclosure of this information, not least because it may be a criminal
act subject to a maximum £5000 fine. Breaches of confidentiality should
be treated in the same serious manner as disclosure of personal details of
any other member of staff (see below).
Transsexual people in employment may choose voluntarily to disclose
information at a secondary level, for example, answering an equal opportunities
questionnaire, or asking for support from a line manager. Again, strict
confidentiality should be observed as further disclosure must not be made
without the express permission of the transsexual person.
As this tribunal dealt with workplace issues, I believe that the press should be bound by these guidelines, too. I effectively chose voluntarily to disclose my transsexual status by prosecuting my claim at the tribunal. I did not choose to reveal my former name; in fact, I specifically warned the reporter who phoned me that he should not reveal my former name. He went ahead and did it. What is the point of his disclosure? Does it serve the public interest? I certainly do not believe so; it is an unwarranted invasion of my privacy.
Here’s the latest from the PCC
Quote:Dear Ms Marland
Thank you for your email.
I hope you will permit me to make a couple of points before I place your complaint before the Commission.
I first wanted to acknowledge that you found the headline of the article offensive. However, you should be aware that the Commission generally considers headlines to be a brief summary of a wider set of circumstances. Might there be an argument that the headline took one of the comments made by a crew member to reflect the content of the article as a whole. Other than an apology, is there anything further the newspaper could do to satisfactorily resolve this aspect of your complaint?
I also wanted to draw your attention to a past PCC adjudication which covers some broadly similar issues. It might be worth bearing in mind that the Commission does not generally consider names to be intrinsically private details. http://www.pcc.org.uk/news/index.html?article=MjA5Mg
That said, I cannot speak on behalf of the Commission so if it remains your wish to place the matter before the Commission, I will do so next week.
Do let me know your thoughts when you have a moment.
Very best wishes
Latest squib to the PCC. Judgement day is a-comin’ on.
Thanks for your e-mail, and the points you raised.
Regarding the headline, I don’t think that the newspaper offering to apologise for the distress caused to me is an adequate response. If I may draw a parallel, it is equivalent to someone kicking me and then expressing regret that I should find it painful. It neither addresses nor acknowledges the fundamental fact that the initial action was wrong. This is, of course, my personal viewpoint. It will be for the Commission to decide whether they agree with me.
As for the Mail claiming that the article was positive to my case, I would remind you that it mentions only the ‘taunts’ which were made to me, saying “…she was forced to quit when the taunts became too much.” I actually left the ship after I had been assaulted, and then told by the Chief Engineer that he didn’t want to investigate the assault and that I was “camping it up”. This was the culminating incident in events which also included the RMT union representative telling me in front of the whole engine room crew that I was “going to get done.” It is odd that the Mail chose not to mention these incidents, since they claim that their article deals positively with my case. I would be happy to forward a copy of the tribunal judgement which details more thoroughly the incidents on the Pride of Bilbao, so that the Commission can decide for themselves whether the article is fair, or even positive.
I have read the case which you cited, and note that the paper involved published the name of a woman. It did not delve into her past and publish the male name which she had used before transitioning. The Mail, on the other hand, did just that. I have already attempted to explain why they should not have done so. I would like to add these further points:
There are very good reasons for a transsexual woman to wish to maintain confidentiality about her past, and these are understood and accommodated by the Women and Equality Unit’s guidelines, already cited. Of most concern to me is the consideration that there are some people who appear to believe that it is perfectly OK to abuse people who can be identified as being transsexual, as has been demonstrated in the tribunal in which I was involved.
The press seem unwilling to treat transsexual women as just women-with-an-unusual-medical-condition. They apparently prefer to see us in terms of blokes-in-frocks. Hence the tendency to try and rake up our pasts. Presumably there is something about the process of transitioning which some reporters and readers find titillating. For my part, I think this attitude unhealthy and prurient, and tending to confirm people like my harassers in their prejudices. By the way, ‘best practice’ these days is to accept that the word ‘transsexual’ is an adjective. I am not defined by it. Referring to me in the headline as ‘(a) transsexual’ dehumanizes me. Someone with one leg would not be defined by their one-leggedness, would they?
OK, so I phoned the Council. I asked about the job interview. They’ve already held the interviews and given the jobs to other people. They just didn’t bother to invite me to interview.
Thanks, Bristol City Council.
I shall, of course, persist.
Meantime, I’ve got a couple of book reviews and an illustration to sort out for the highly erudite, entertaining and desirable Bristol Review of Books
One of them is a book on Charles Redrup, inventor of the reactionless rotary engine and the axial wobble-plate engine, of which you will find an animation here. It rocks …..
The editor rightly felt that, as Virginia Woolf was not available, I was the most suitable reviewer.
…oh, here’s a link to the mag. Just in case you’re passing…
…oh, and I’ve got to keep the crickets cheerful; they’re really a solemn bunch.
One is seldom an issue-free zone. Last week, someone with whom I am closely acquainted he’d me twice in the same sentence. She then realised what she’d done and was mortified. “It’s all right; it’s just information,” I said, taking a favourite phrase of S’s.
But it wasn’t all right, not really.
How to be more girly? -no plans to give up the mechanicy stuff. Working on the voice seems the most constructive way of upping my Personal Pinkness. So I redoubled my efforts on the voicework.
I was up at CX yesterday, for my second session with Christella. She recorded me speaking in my old, unmodified voice. I was struck by two things:
- -my pitch has gone up since the last time I heard my old voice, maybe two years ago
- -it still sounded bloody horrible and clipped and nasal.
I much preferred the ‘new’ voice, imperfect and through-a-glass-darkly though it is.
So there’s nowhere to go but forward. And, of course, onwards and upwards
The PCC’s judgement arrived today. They find for the Daily Mail on all points. Well, a negative result is still a result; posterity will judge (if, that is, it can be bothered) the rights and wrongs of the case. I don’t intend to devote my time to firing arrows at the moon.
Here it is:
Commission’s decision in the case of Marland v Daily Mail (ref. 070128)
The Commission noted the complainant had raised three concerns: first, that the article suggested that she had been subjected only to ‘taunts’; second, that the disclosure of her former name against her wishes intruded into her privacy; and third, that the headline ‘would you Adam and Steve it’ was discriminatory.The Commission noted the complainant had raised concerns that the sub-headline suggested she had only suffered ‘taunts’ and misleadingly omitted to include the threats of violence and an assault to which she had been subjected. Taking into account that the fact she had suffered taunts was not in dispute, the Commission considered that – in the context of the article as a whole which made clear that the complainant had won her tribunal after suffering ‘verbal and physical harassment’ – it was not necessary for the newspaper to have included every detail of her ordeal. The selection of material for publication is a matter of editorial discretion, provided of course that the Code is not otherwise breached. In this instance, the Commission was satisfied that the omission of detailed information regarding the complainant’s treatment did not render the article misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code.
The Commission then turned to the complainant’s concerns that the article had intruded into her privacy when it stated that it was ‘understood’ that her former name was A*****, and that a person by that name shared her birthday and was listed as living in her flat until 2002. The Commission acknowledged that the complainant was unhappy with this disclosure, but emphasised that it could only come to a decision under the terms of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Code. This clause makes clear that everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private life. The Commission indicated that it did not generally consider a name to be an intrinsically private detail. In this instance, the Commission was satisfied that speculating on the complainant’s former name using evidence available in the public domain did not intrude into her privacy in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy).
Finally, the Commission addressed the complainant’s concerns that the headline of the article was discriminatory. It noted that Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Code states that the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to (amongst other things) an individual’s gender. In this instance, the Commission was satisfied that the headline was not a pejorative reference to the complainant’s gender change. Indeed, the Commission noted that the basis for using the phrase was its adaptation from a comment the complainant claimed had been made to her by crew members. In those circumstances, the Commission did not consider the headline to establish a breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Code.
That said, given that the reference had upset the complainant, the Commission welcomed the newspaper’s offer to write to her privately to apologise.
To conclude the business of the PCC…
I got another letter from them last week. Here it is:
Quote:Dear Ms Marland,
I write further to my letter dated 05 March.
I am sorry if you were disappointed with Commission’s decision on your complaint. I am writing to you to enclose a letter of apology that I have received from the Daily Mail. If you would like to accept this letetr as a resolution to your complaint, and take advantage of the summary of your complaint to appear on our website, do let me know. Otherwise, I will assume that you would prefer to draw the matter to a close.
Very best wishes,
…and here is the attached letter of apology:
I write to apologize sincerely for any distress caused, which I assure you was in no way our intention, by our article and headline on Monday December 18, 2006.
The headline was not intended to be pejorative. The article is very positive to your case and fully reported the tribunal’s findings.
Nontheless, it is most regrettable that you were distressed by the piece and I have brought your concerns to the attention of the members of staff involved who join me in saying we are sorry we added to your concerns at a very difficult time for you.
Executive Managing Editor
…and here is my letter of reply.
Quote:Dear Ms Sanders,
Thank you for your letter dated 9th March, enclosing a letter of apology from the Daily Mail.
I wish to reject the letter of apology, as it does not acknowledge any wrongdoing on the part of the Daily Mail.
I am, of course, disappointed with the Commission’s decision on my complaint. There is, though, one positive outcome; that decision is now on record, and will, in time, be judged and found wanting. I continue to believe in the justice of my case, and hope that, if the Commission will not bring themselves up to date with what is now deemed acceptable in matters relating to transsexual people, then they will have change forced upon them.
On a more personal note, I would like to thank you for your help in this case.
Things continue to happen in my life.
On Tuesday I was interviewed for a job in Henleaze library, just round the corner from where I live. It seemed to go OK; they asked questions from a sheet of questions which they were asking all the candidates, and scribbled down my answers. Examples:
Q: A class of seven year olds is due to arrive for a library visit. The librarian who was due to look after them has gone off sick, and everyone else has been carried away by giant eagles. What do you do?
A: I read them a story. The children, that is. Children love being read to.
Q: You’re stacking shelves, and see the following: an unattended toddler heading for the door, a queue of people at the counter, and the phone ringing. What do you do?
A: I look at my watch and realise that it’s my tea break. No-brainer, that one…
Yesterday, to Lunnon Village for a hair transplant consultation in the Marylebone area. He’s a nice chap, the one who draws lines on my forehead and explains the plan. He asks how I heard about them.
“Through a friend,” I reply.
“Oh, who was that?”
“Fiona McFlurry. She was here a couple of years ago.”
“O yes. A good result, as I recall…”
…and I’m thinking, o yes, of course you remember her….
…never mind. And he was nice, so I didn’t tell him that dark jackets speckled with dandruff are a sartorial no-no in a hair clinic or, indeed, anywhere else. Except, perhaps, a Star Trek conference
I have been lying low and reflecting upon things. It’s a worry, not having to worry about anything major for the moment. Still, I think I’ve got over it.
As opposed to the cat I ran over the other day.
My advice to you, gentle reader, is not to run over a cat. It makes a narsty sort of bumpy noise, and makes the car judder.
I screeched to a halt, and pursued the beast, which was crawling furiously away from me in case I tried to reverse over it and finish it off.
It got into a garden. I rang on the doorbell. A young girl cautiously opened the door.
“I ran over a cat, and it’s in your garden. May I go and catch it?”
Wordlessly, she motioned me through the kitchen and the back door.
The cat was trying to leap the wall, but hampered by a very broken back leg.
I threw my cardie over it and took it to the car. It tried to scratch me for a while, then subsided, panting heavily as an animal in shock.
I rang the number on the collar. No reply. I left a message.
I called the RSPCA, who sent an animal ambulance. Off goes Tiddles in a cage.
That evening I get a call from the owner. She thanks me for doing the right thing, though in the distant sort of way in which one would thank someone who’s just run over their darling pet. Tiddles is under sedation and being observed.
Closure on the PCC.
I was disappointed to find that the PCC didn’t find anything to object to in the Daily Mail article, and it looked like the whole affair was going to vanish without trace. I batted e-mails to Nadine at the PCC, and they are going to publish a summary of my complaint. Wording as follows:
Ms Drusilla Marland of Bristol complained about the headline of an article which reported her successful claim for constructive dismissal from her former employment. The complainant considered the headline – “Would you Adam and Steve it?” -to offensively paraphrase a taunt about her gender change which had been judged by the employment tribunal as discriminatory – “When God made man it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” The complainant also raised two further concerns: that the headline implied that the compensation she had received was disproportionately large; and that the article had revealed her former name.
The newspaper defended itself against claims that the headline was pejorative, making clear that its intention was to echo the Cockney rhyming slang for “Would you believe it…” The newspaper nevertheless apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the article and headline and wrote to her privately to this effect. The complainant agreed to resolve her complaint on the basis of a statement setting out her concerns on the PCC website.
And that, I guess, is that.
I have thought a bit about the way the press covered this case, and decided that it was a big mistake to go public, when I could have requested reporting restrictions.
The result was that the press gleefully reported the allegations made against me, even though they were entirely unfounded, anonymous and based upon hearsay; and hardly troubled themselves with reporting the truth of the matter when it finally did come out. In consequence of which the sort of bigots out there who would no doubt have happily been my harassers had the opportunity arose, simply had their prejudices confirmed; and there was a smattering of negative comment on a couple of gay websites, and a couple of transgender ones… go figure…
Fin de histoire. Is the world a better place? -who knows. I’ve got a garden to cultivate. Thhhhrrrrrppppp.
Hair Transplant at the Wimpole Clinic, London
I was asked to arrive at 11:00. At 10:55 I remembered that the Wimpole Clinic isn’t on Wimpole Street, and phoned them for directions. I then got lost and ended up on Regent Street.
Arrived at clinic at 11:15…
Welcomed, plied with tea, and given a large cocktail of drugs to swallow: antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and some sedatives (dimazepan? -something like that). I was asked to change into a surgical smock, and led to the treatment room. Dr May injected something into my arm, and asked me to lie on my side.
I was sort of asleep, I suppose; I was woken enough for me to be taken to get my hair washed, after Dr May had removed the piece of scalp from the back of my head and had cut all the slots for the transplants to go into.
Then another injection, and goodnight again.
I was semi-conscious by about 5:00, by which time Linda was well into the task of inserting the follicles in my head. I declined an offer of another injection, as the pain was bearable and I don’t like having too much drug stuff floating around in me.
I was impressed by Linda’s thoroughness. She’s worked for Dr May since 1978, she said. Obviously got the hang of it by now. She plodded on…. and on…. time passed… she finally pronounced the job done at 8:30. I now had 1642 implants. I was given a goody bag of medicines and instructions, had a hot choc, and wobbled off to Marylebone station.
I was out and about yesterday afternoon, and got a couple of looks, to which I responded with my Grade 3 noli me tangere down-the-nose job. Take no prisoners…
I now have lots of disgustingly healthy food in the kitchen. Made some oatcakes, the floppy, dishclothy Lancashire-type ones, as I have decided yet again, despite what Suzanne says on the subject, that porridge is inedible, and a joke perpetrated upon the english by the scots, in the same way as the welsh do with laverbread. Oatcakes, however…. mmmmmm. Even better if lathered with butter and cheese and… oops.
I’m accumulating the gear for The Great Welsh Expedition. I’ve now got a nice new rucsac – did you know that you can get gendered rucsacs? And some KBS shoes. And I’ve just got a Rohan waterproof jacket off e-bay. The seller sent me an e-mail yesterday. At the bottom of the e-mail was a link, which, when I clicked on it, directed me to an online sex shop.
Goodness. So I’ll be wearing a pornographer’s coat. In nonconformist Wales. How shaming.
When I was assigned a cabin on the Pride of Bilbao, I removed all the porn from the bulkheads that my oppo had put there (we did three weeks turn and turn about..) Gosh, he was annoyed. “It’s not porn, it’s art,” he said.
Hmmm, I went with some friends who wanted to see an Emanuelle movie back in the 70s. I left after five minutes. I wonder if my moral objections to porn are tacked on post facto to my aesthetic revulsion. Who knows?
…then there was a time when, as a fresh-faced (and rather naive) young seafarer in Marseilles, I went to see Fassbinder’s Querelle. Knowing nothing of either Fassbinder or of Genet at that time, but thinking it sounded arty.
“Gosh, there are some odd looking chaps in the audience,” I thought.
O well, it was a crash course in gay iconography….
The bouncy ball story.
I bought one of those exercise balls last week, so that I can do exercise stuff while sitting at my desk. Works quite well, too.
Zoe was going by and said, “Oh, I saw that in the newspaper.”
Turns out there’s a little hoo-ha going on at Bath University, where the physio department have all taken to using them instead of chairs.
Then the Health and Safety bloke said, “You can’t do that, it’s dangerous and against Health and Safety and therefore more than my job’s worth”
Then the physios said, “Don’t be silly, it’s safe and good for you too”
So the H&S man went away muttering.
He might have had a point, though.
Yesterday I was sitting intently studying something at my desk when
I landed with a considerable thump on my tailbone.
Bloody thing had blown itself into sunders.
Back to the drawing board. Slowly, with a limp.
I had a feeling that it was the anniversary of something the other day, so I checked, and blow me if it wasn’t the fifth anniversary of my father’s funeral. It was a rubbish funeral with those stupid poems about how I Have Only Slipped Away Into The Next Room. I was ‘allowed’ to attend, on condition I came in man clothes. And I was told that I’d killed him.
So now it’s now and I’m thinking, o well, let bygones be bygones, maybe it’s olive branch time.
And then I think, why bother? Family ties are worthless if the person you’re tied to is just crap anyway. And I’ve got the hang of not having anything to do with the people in question, and am better off for it.
Onwards and upwards.
Well, I finally got a berth for Nabara, the Mirror dinghy, down on the harbourside. Took it for a spin this afternoon, with my friend Richard crewing. We managed to avoid capsizing, drowning and collision with other vessels; pranged the harbour wall on the way in, but at least no-one was watching.
…and tomorrow we set off on the Great Welsh Adventure. Rucsacs packed with boiled sweets, waterproofs, sketchbooks, …dilating kit …well, in mine, anyway… everything except that Very Important Thing that we’ll only remember somewhere the wrong side of Tintern. Hasta luego, guapas. And guapos, of course.
Well, we did have adventures; but you had to be there, mostly, I guess.
We started from Chepstow, walked up Offa’s dyke to Shropshire, then put the left hand down a bit and crossed the Cambrian Mountains; then down the Teifi to Cardigan, and so along the coast to St David’s. We were blasted by gales, half-drownded by torrential rain, and baked to a lobsterish hue by the sun. We saw entire herds of wildlife. We teetered on clifftops, squelched through bogs.
I felt quite insecure for a lot of the time, because I was a bit short of female signifiers and we ventured into places I’ve not been before. I felt particularly frumpy at the Hay Festival of Literature, where we poked our noses in; me in my crumple-proof Rohan travel dress, surrounded by uber-fashionable London literati… but we got by. I learned that having a man around is a useful prop; people took us for a couple, and we got into the roleplaying quite readily. Meaning mostly that Richard did the talking, and I smiled a lot, though I managed a nice chat with the female component of a couple at Hay, along the lines of men/maps/navigation/sulking.
Richard learned a fair bit about what life is like for me; the reaction we got when I wasn’t working hard on my voice, for instance. So for both our sakes, I tried to keep it at a pitch where it didn’t seem incongruous. And I’m determined to keep it there, now.
Some day I may be much more confident than I am now. Insecurity is a nuisance. While we were waiting at Cardiff station on ther way home, an old lady told me that she liked my hat. I thanked her. She said, “Are you a woman?” I said, “Yes, are you?” (a response that I’d been storing up in readiness after so many esprit d’escalier moments). She was hurt, and walked off saying “Well, it’s a nice hat, anyway”. I was mortified.
Envoi: We’re back in Bristol and cleaned up and dried out. I give Richard a lift to the station. We set off. Half a mile on, the car conks out. Richard pushes the car into a parking space. I consider the problem, and decide that the fuel supply needs checking. Richard refuses to let me do it, though. So he removes the carburettor float chamber while I whisper “OK, undo those three nuts…” and stand there looking like the damsel in distress……the fuel wasn’t getting through; Richard (under instruction, of course) thumped the fuel pump and it ticked into life. We drove on for a few hundred yards. The engine conked. I got a lump of wood from the boot, and Richard thumped the forward bulkhead periodically, reawakening the fuel pump as required. And so we continued.
I think I could get used to having a man about the place; they’re so useful. Shame he’s already taken…
Ho hum. I sent off my GRC application yesterday, after getting the stat dec thing done down at the solicitors where I’d changed my name five years and twelve days previously.
And today I drove down to Lundun Village for another speech therapy session. Christella was off sick, so I was seen by the apprentice. She was impressed by the progress I’ve made, though from my own point of view there’s a heck of a long way to go yet. And I can’t seem to shake off my nasality.
One gets noticed, chugging along at fifty miles an hour on the motorway in a Morris Traveller with a Nuclear Power No Thanks sticker on it. A little saloon with four LADS went by and one of them made a very loud grunting noise at me, accompanied by a rude gesture. I think that this is the problem with groups of LADS in little cars; their testosterone hits critical mass, and they go all feral. Poor lambs. Looking on the bright side, I got the thumbs up from a french lorry driver.
Still, why do I worry about approbation or otherwise from men? This is one of the lingering questions from the Great Welsh Trip. Having got rid of a bunch of baggage from the past – seafaring, willy… -I feel like I’m just cranking up for a new beginning. A bit of a stout Cortez moment…
- Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
- When a new planet swims into his ken;
- Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
- He star’d at the Pacific – and all his men
- Look’d at each other with a wild surmise –
- Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
- Aug 17th
- Hey, I got asked out for a drink.
- It was just someone I bumped into.
- It happened like this.
- I was trundling along behind one of those dinky little Fiat Seicentos. It was faltering and wavering its way along, and, when I looked carefully I could see that the driver’s head was barely proud of the seat.
- Crumbly alert.
- We stop at a roundabout. A large gap in the traffic appears. Fiat goes forward. I follow. Fiat suddenly stops dead in the middle of the roundabout.
- With all the majesty of a Mauretania entering Southampton with the engine room telegraphs jammed on FULL AHEAD, I sail into the back of him.
- He staggers out of his car. The first thing he says is, ” are you going to pay for the damage?” -but in a not-very-aggressive sort of way.
- “Yes,” I reply, and instantly my inner voice starts screaming at me WHAT ON EEEEEEARTH DID YOU SAY THAT FOR BLOODY FOOL….
- He’s got some cracked plastic at the back end. I’ve got a bent number plate, which I bend back straight again.
- We exchange details, and part.
I occupy a lot of the day wondering what to do about it all. Then he calls.
“You can hold on to your no claims bonus,” he says. “It cost me £10 to fix it.”
So I call by and give him the money.
“What’s Dru short for?” he asks.
“That’s posh,” he says.
“Too posh for me, that’s why I shortened it,” I say.
Anyway, he’s going to give me a call.
He’s a freelance writer. I’m a freelance illustrator. Sort of.
obviously we will want to talk collaborations.
OK so he’s ninety and married. Hey ho.
On this day of A level results, I find a big brown envelope in the letterbox.
Heart starts pounding again. I react badly to brown envelopes.
But no. It’s my GRC.
I look at it and the box that says FEMALE and I think “safe”.
Not sure what that was about, but that’s how it was.
So I passed my A level in gender, then. It didn’t give me a grade. Can’t decide whether it should be an A, a B or a Q. Hmmmmmm…..
Life goes on, la la la la life goes on….
I’m doing some drawings for a new guide book for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which are a bit of a bind, trying to make them both techy and interesting…
I went down to the Council Jobshop the other day to get feedback on my library interview ages ago, just to see where I went wrong. Apparently, I have inadequate customer relation skills and problem solving abilities. As I thought that they were my particularly strong points, there’s obviously a lot wrong with my interview technique, consisting as it does of turn-up-and-hope-for-the-best.
I learned something funny recently. Four years back, Mr Cox the idiot handyman was employed by my landlord to do up my bathroom. He removed the bath and replaced it with a shower, explaining that the bath messed up the pressure of the central heating downstairs. I explained several times to both him and the landlord that this was total nonsense. To no avail.
I had a coffee with my downstairs neighbour on Friday. She said that Cretin Cox had told her that he removed the bath because he thought that I was unfit to be a parent, and he thought that not having a bath would make it harder for me to have Katie here.
Funny how people work, isn’t it? -using the term ‘people’ in the loosest sense, obv….
O well. Here’s a hot weather haiku.
- In the oak’s shadow
- The sheltering sheep tell the time
- -Too hot to go out.
blows dust from diary) *pphhhhttthhhh*
Well, pigs’ bums.
I interviewed for a job at the City Museum last week. This afternoon I got a phone call. I didn’t get the job; I was beaten by half a point by someone with more retail experience. But they said that I was in line for another job that’ll be coming up. I’m a museum person, apparently.
You heard it here first. I officially belong in a museum. Gosh.
Meantime, the book that I’ve been involved with
Quote:MILLS AND BONE!
Sex Swap Ferry Worker Signs Book Deal
A sex-swap ferry worker has landed a book deal to write about life wearing a dress in the engine room, an employment tribunal heard yesterday – Daily Sport
…is progressing nicely, and we’re just bickering over the fine points in the draft. I think it’s pretty good, actually. Shame about the title, though; any suggestions for an alternative will be given a serious looking at. Promise.
Here it is.. or will be…
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Becoming-Drusil … 869&sr=8-
So the solstice has passed and we begin to move back towards the light again.
This diary has been through some eventful times. I’ve not added to it for ages, but life has been going on, though perhaps less dramatically than before.
My daughter will be moving in with me come the summer, ready to start her secondary schooling in Bristol. I am very lucky, I know, compared to a lot of parents, here and elsewhere. When talking about it, I have been struck by the number of people who express concern about the Other Parent’s feelings about it; I have pointed out that I was equally unhappy when K was taken away from Bristol, but no-one seemed to worry themselves about my feelings then… and then when I say that sort of thing, people tend to go a bit quiet, and I realise that, for them, it is Not The Right Thing To Say.
Another lesson learned. Like the Tribunal business. I had thought that it would add some small building block to the edifice of fairness and equal opportunities; in reality, it feels that my victory was rather grudgingly conceded by all concerned.
So, glory is for other people, not the likes of us. Or me anyway. We do what we can to do the right thing, and take comfort in the thought that we have succeeded, when we do, and that our success is recognised by people whose opinion we value.
I’m going over the proofs of the book. It’s really quite good stuff, and the publishers seem sincerely enthusiastic about it. I do wonder how it will be received, though. A feeling which is nothing new…
Go, litel bok, go, litel myn tragedye,
Ther God thi makere yet, er that he dye,
So sende myght to make in som comedye!
But litel book, no makynge thow n’envie,
But subgit be to alles poesye;
And kis the steppes where as thow seest pace
Virgile, Ovide, Omer, Lucan, and Stace.
And for ther is so gret diversite
In Englissh and in writyng of oure tonge,
So preye I God that non myswrite the,
Ne the nysmetre for defaute of tonge;
And red wherso thow be, or elles songe,
That thow be understonde, God I biseche!
…and so I continue to move ever onwards and hopefully upwards
- In this strange new land
- We name the hills as we pass;
- Our feet mark the map.