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About Natalie

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Southern England
  • Interests
    cooking, colour pencil art, photography, poetry, ice hockey, world travel,

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  1. Today I am going to Oldbury in the UK West Midlands area to see my best friend and stay with her for a few days. Its about 130 miles away so I will be driving my car. Public transport just doesn't work over long distances, far too expensive and time consuming.  

  2. Conundrum is a personal account of her trans journey by one of Britains best travel writers, Jan Morris. CBE, FRSL. Born as James Morris, the author was well known journalist and in 1953 was the first reporter to break the news that Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing had conquered Everest. After her gender change, Jan continued to write about her life in another book, the follow-up autobiography 'Pleasures of a Tangled Life'
  3. Trans Britain, authored by Christine Burns MBE This book was only published on the 25th of January 2018 and I have yet to read it. However, knowing the author and working with her during the struggle for legal recognition in the UK, I can probably make an informed educated guess on the contents by what Christine has told us. I was part of the struggle, and took part in the consultation for the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. But this book is about more than just the Act, from the publishers webpage they say this: "A comprehensive account of the landmark events which shaped the transgender community over the last five decades, told through a series of essays by real experts who were there and can describe the knock-on effects today." Though I never took part in this book, I was there fighting my corner, part of the solution to the problem with a couple of significant victories to my credit that have benefited transgender people in the UK rights that they have today.
  4. This book is still available and is in libraries. It has also been used in several Universities as source material for Gender Studies. It is a collection of short autobiographies by gender diverse people gathered together by the editors, Tracey O'Keefe and Katrina Fox and was originally published in 2003. My story is on p158 in this book "Dream on.....and don't wake up to the nightmare of reality" in which I describe my life as a transgender woman until the present day, although fifteen years have now passed and life has changed quite a lot. I am no longer married and in the UK there has been a paradigm shift towards acceptance since the 2004 Gender Recognition Act was introduced that allowed birth certificates to be changed and transgender people to be legally recognised in their true gender...for all purposes including marriage.
  5. Tired, I was awake at 2.30am this morning to watch a hockey game...I follow the Calgary Flames and being from the UK, 8pm Mountain Time is 3am GMT.......I will sleep well tonight :)

  6. Natalie

    Being Autistic and transgender

    Hi everyone, Thank you for all your interest and comments. Sorry for the length but I thought it might be interesting to hear the realities from someone on the Autistic spectrum The AQ (Autistic Quotient) test has to be taken with all honesty, it is the standard test taken by anyone who is looking for a diagnosis although of course that on its own is not any real indication that someone might be autistic. There is a lot more testing that takes place but here are the most common indications that are important. Below is a in depth look at my autistic mind, we are all different and although this will show some the advantages and disadvantages of being on the spectrum. Imagination. Not being able to imagine anything that is not based on reality. Conjuring up a story, a situation from scratch is impossible for me, I really don't have a clue what is going on around me unless I base it on the past realities/situations. In part of the diagnostic test I was given a book to read with pictures but no words. I was then asked to say what I thought was happening. Apparently all the pictures were linked but I couldn't work out what the link was, it didn't make sense. I wasn't able to use my imagination because the pictures I saw just didn't link in any logical way. That was the downfall, it was apparently describing someone having a dream, nothing makes sense in that scenario, so for me it impossible. Picture thinking. I only think in pictures, or images. Anything that passes through my mind presents itself as an image and if I am asked to remember anything I just run the videotape in my mind, I can recall huge amounts of memory, what was there, what was said, a bit like PTSD except its not scary situations. I am also able to construct visual images and move them around with ease, like rearranging a room full of furniture and seeing what it would look like before I move it, remembering maps, thats a positive, I don't need a GPS to allow me to find my way about, even in other countries I've been to, my spatial ability is so developed getting lost is unusual. Logical thinking. Its all logic and I liken it to precisely how a computer works. If you present illogical information/arguments to a computer it will have great difficulties finding what you want, it has to make logical links and anything that doesn't link has to be found in another way. If that is still illogical then a computer will return a negative. This can cause utter frustration because life isn't logical, computers just crash, humans can 'crash' too. Thats what happens with me, but over the years its become easier, unlike a computer I learned different methods to use but I still have great difficulty working out what some people mean, thats why I ask so many questions, trying to find the logical link. Pattern thinking. The best part is being able to see patterns emerging as they are normally logical. In that I can identify what is going on around me and I am attracted to patterns...carpets and wallpaper I can look at and see all the repetitive lines and shapes and that is how life is too, but of course the downside is illogical patterns throw me off, life tends to be more illogical. Repeating the same things, like eating the same foods, following a route over and over and even number plates (licence plates) can be fascinating. Comparing everything and finding logical patterns in life is one of the advantages. Communication. Humans can be so difficult to understand, thats the problem for me and generally all autistic people because they are not necessarily logical. Whilst my life is run along a well oiled track, always the same, not boring but has to be regular in the way I do things, expecting others to be the same, and they definitely are not. Normally people communicate with each other in a number of ways, some of those abilities are difficult to grasp, if someone tells me something I expect it to be as told, but there are other cues that I will miss, facial expressions are the worst, although its become better as my life progressed. But if what I am told doesn't make logical sense then it gets confusing, especially when the person I am talking to is not giving all the information that they can. Giving me simple information about something that in itself is complex is really difficult, I prefer if the difficult parts are given, then I can make sense of it. Sometimes because I don't understand the simple things in life I am thought to be a bit slow, but tell me about the difficult parts that I can understand I am thought of as intelligent. The downsides to the lack of communication skills can be massive, several lots of illogical information and just like a computer I will shut down, crash and then get into panic mode. The consequences can be problematic because if others don't understand how I process information, there is confusion on both sides and the probability of becoming overwhelmed and everything escalating into what is a meltdown, a total loss of control, an explosive rage cycle is possible. Its not anger, its the inability to process and communicate what I am feeling that makes any sense. I can talk endlessly about special interests, I have a mind full of information thats probably only important to me and other people can get bored rather easily if its not what they have an interest in, but I won't know that and then that situation can get into a problem area. Learning. As I've already explained, I learn differently to a lot of others, but information is normally given from the simple to the more complex. I learn back to front and so I have to seek out the more complex information to be able to make sense of the easy parts. The advantage is that I learn quickly and comprehensively. This is reflected in schools with some children quickly becoming bored waiting for the slower learners ( the normal method of teaching) to catch up. If the teaching isn't the way I learn then thats where big problems occur. If children could be tested to discover how they learn before the teaching process begins, instead of teaching one way, the quicker centre focused and the slower outer learning kids could both benefit. This is me and although there are a lot of similarities to others, we are all individual and we are all affected differently, have our own methods of dealing with this challenging life. I could have gone into much greater depth so I hope this helpful and ....interesting
  7. Natalie

    Being Autistic and transgender

    Agree with you about vaccines Briannah, Its well known about Andrew Wakefield and his flawed research, families who have genetic autism like mine we just feel sorry for those who can't accept that their genes carry the answer. Like I pointed out, they would blame the family dog instead of themselves or their relatives
  8. Natalie

    Being Autistic and transgender

    Thanks Emma, it really is something I have studied and researched about since my kids diagnosis. It would appear that there is a significant number of people who deny everything, like its some kind of fatal disease when their children get a diagnosis. They would blame the family dog if they thought it was possible, not their genes, but it has to come from somewhere. People like me on the spectrum are amused about this because its given me so many abilities, I am a detailed colour pencil artist, I know that is something I could or couldn't be regardless of my dis 'ability' but its also something that autism has enhanced. I never stop learning, its something I have to do, ask questions all the time, #neverstop thats me, No.5 is alive.....need input It does have its negatives, isolation, lack of face to face and telephone communication skills, unable to read social cues, (big one that, I talk too much, or not enough and eventually say nothing at all) I misinterpret other people......one thing that we all do on the spectrum when looking at a face, its always the mouth/teeth that we concentrate on, the eyes are almost totally avoided. I'm not unhappy being trans and autistic, it makes me who I am For anyone who is inquisitive enough, here is a test, it means nothing but its a standard test that gives someone an idea about their personality. https://www.aspergerstestsite.com/aq-test/ ​
  9. Is there a link between autism and being trans? Yes, there is.....we are in the scary part of the process where there is lots of denial and misinformation around the issues. A lot of research has been going on in Cambridge University UK by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. Its quite a common comorbidity yet those individuals who deal with both issues are undiagnosed a lot of the time because transgender is identified first. Dealing with trans issues covers up the autism traits, and of course, the gatekeepers are only focusing on one problem. A lot of autism in adults is misdiagnosed with differing mental illnesses BPD, a common misdiagnosis in girls. Autism can cause no end of mental illness yet in itself is simply a developmental disorder. A lot of transgender M2F's appear to be highly computer literate, have a narrow range of interests and can be obsessed with exactly the kind of interests that are normally found in autism. I speak from experience, autism has been in my family for generations, nothing to do vaccines, and it can be traced back to my father, although I suspect it was one of his parents who had the gene pool, my aunties (his sisters) were much like him and so were their children, my cousins. F2M's are often diagnosed with both and it was the 'Extreme Male Brain' theory that showed how the F2M's could indeed be affected. I was diagnosed with autism....in that I am talking about Aspergers Syndrome only in 2010, but that was because one of my children was on the spectrum and it was noticed that I was indeed the gene carrier. So I wanted to find out if some of the difficulties I had were all down to being trans or something else (that I knew anyway) and sure enough I am firmly on the spectrum. It is life changing and empowering to discover what has been really going on, and brought so much enlightenment to why my life had been this way, and provided answers to the decisions I make. Vaccines as the cause is still unproven, families with autistic children who have a long established history of autism in their gene pool will tell you that IF vaccines are involved, there is a big difference in the effects. Gene pool autism is far more systemic and its affects are wide spread throughout the daily life of the individual. The claims about vaccine induced autism appears to be more narrowly based on learning difficulties but less on the behaviour and other traits. Like all people who are in the LGBT community, we appear to have a radar for finding each other, no matter how stealth we believe we can be. Autism is the same, I can spot someone who could be on the spectrum easily, sometimes by just the way they dress themselves, fashion isn't important, comfort is. My sister has a total aversion to wearing traditional female clothes and only 'dresses up' when the need arises. Yet she is no doubt completely comfortable with her gender and has four children and has been married to the same man for over 50 years. She is atypically autistic, and three of her children too. We are who we are though, regardless of whether we are one or both its how we deal with the issues. all I know is that having both have created a really interesting life, difficult to navigate through but I wouldn't change anything, its all part of who I am and who I can be proud of. What I have achieved, and the talents I have is down to being open and honest and facing these challenges head on. Be yourself, cause you sure can't be nobody else.
  10. Natalie

    Getting on the bus 😱

    Apologies Monica, the description of your transit ride and library gave and what has happened gave me the wrong impression. You're right though about libraries, they have always been a place where one can go and find a bit of quiet time for study and reflection, not to be harassed by the worst of society for any reason. Society is becoming worse in so many ways, its not just in your country, mine is much the same, we appear to be going backwards in that regard. I hope you have a better day today
  11. Natalie

    Getting on the bus 😱

    ​Hi Monica, I really hope that you are able to overcome what appears to be a terrible time you are having at the moment. I don't know your transition history but building up a resistance to these bullies is vital, its not easy but the more you are able to the easier it becomes. Hurtful words and verbal attacks are dreadful but please remember that it says more about them than you. I know thats cold comfort when all you want to do is be yourself, but try not to isolate yourself too much. Is there any transgender support where you live like groups and clubs perhaps? If I can be of any help with advice etc, please let me know, (((hug)))
  12. Natalie

    Getting on the bus 😱

    The first motivation I had was when I made contact with one of my cousins (I have two that are trans) and her voice was perfect. This was way back in 1978, that was my first attempt at transitioning. She explained to me that by pushing my voice to an octave higher is what I needed to achieve. At the time the BeeGees were all the rage, Saturday Night Fever and all the songs that flowed from that album were in the chart. So thats where I began, and very soon I could feel the muscles developing. My throat became sore, and when that happened I allowed my overstretched larynx to rest. But that of course produced a reasonable falsetto with no tonal quality. I am autistic too, now that came in real handy because imitating people is what we do, its how we learn to interact with others. I started imitating natural female voices, in fact I pick up accents quickly and accurately, a lot autistic people do that apparently. All of these different exercises helped a lot, like training any set of muscles, and eventually a natural tone developed. I eventually went to a voice therapist because I wanted to make sure I hadn't damaged my vocal chords and what she had to say amounted to a brilliant pat on back. She said, "There is absolutely nothing I can do to help you, in fact your voice is exactly how it should sound. You have achieved what I try to teach people in your position, lift the larynx higher up and then slide it backwards." So what I am doing essentially is to use my throat muscles to squeeze the larynx, and then my oral cavity and sinuses for volume control. A better vocal sound is achieved just by singing along with female singers, or male falsetto voices that have a mature tone, I used my favourite Motown group, the Temptations, their falsetto lead was Eddie Kendricks, (and others) and black singers seem to have that more developed voices at higher ranges. Luther Vandross is another good voice trainer, helps with the tonal values. Once the pitch has been achieved its a case of adjusting the tone to create perfection, the more control of the tone is vital, it gives you the ability to bring emotion into the voice, soften and/or harden how you speak. Having a good voice increases confidence, it is key and I have always recommended this any new transitioners to work on it, because it will confuse those bigots like hell.....and I love taking on bigots ​
  13. Natalie

    Getting on the bus 😱

    Great feeling isn't it? I am pleased that my blog has given you encouragement and hope. I have just had a visit to my doorstep of two 'Witnesses' and while I am not into their version of religion, I am a Spiritualist and we had a good conversation about our different views.....they never had an idea I am trans, its something I keep very well under wraps, totally stealth. My voice is indiscernible now from any other woman, eventually they had to go, I had talked them into oblivion. Thats the power of getting the voice correct, great tool to have in your armoury. Any other help I can offer please ask, I have many achievements and adventures and if any of the experience can aid someone I would be delighted to describe how I overcame the problems.
  14. Ever wondered what it takes to get on a bus? The fears and scary parts explained and how eventually I overcame them. For some this is not a problem, those with the strongest of characters who really want the world to know about who they are, but for many integrating and becoming the person you really are without any fuss and bother it's a different story. Many years ago the first hurdle apart from the big step of going out of the front door as the real me, was getting on the bus. For those just beginning the journey from one gender to the other, this can be terrifying and once you have managed it thats when you know you have really begun your transition. My preparation was always the best, but my confidence wasn't great so every day I found myself in the position of taking the terrifying journey and this is where strength of character comes in. So you are ready to face the world in the new you and hope no one is going to give you a second glance, because in many ways that is what you are trying to achieve. There you are stood at the bus stop waiting for the bus hoping that no one notices you, and then someone turns to you and asks, "Do you have the time please." Now hang on, who doesn't have a watch or a mobile (cell) phone with a big display on it? Its often a good indication that they want to hear your voice, they have looked at you and wondered....is that a man or a woman? The best way to overcome it is to to nod and show them you watch/phone and smile if you're not happy with how your voice sounds. Of course the bus stop is often where people talk to each other, (years ago before smartphones and everyone was a bit more social) so when the bus arrives its a bit of a relief, or is it. I suppose its a lot easier now with electronic passes, no words have to be uttered but when I was just starting out, talking was necessary....So you ask for your fare....city centre please.....then once you have your ticket you turn and face the all the passengers, desperately trying to find a seat .....EVERYONE is looking at ME.....no they're not, but thats what it feels like. Seat found, head down ....please don't talk to me. I have one of those ...faces. I always sit next to the most talkative person on the bus, it happens often. But then there is the other parts, people looking at YOU....they know, they've spotted me, they know I'm trans and they are looking at me, talking about me.....OMG. The fears of the newbie are immense, in an enclosed space with all these people and THEY KNOW. No, probably they haven't even seen you, but the fear is there all the same. Seat selection is important, inside seat you have to ask (if you are polite that is) to '"Excuse me please." So outside seats are easier (just don't speak to me). If the bus is crowded the next step is to get off the damn bus, ding the bell and hope that its going to be the stop everyone else alights too. If not, it can be a struggle as it might be necessary to say ...excuse me several times. The point of all this? I had realised than when I could get on the bus, face the 'crowd', find a seat, talk to my fellow passengers and get off the bus with no problem, that is when I knew I was on my way to being happy with my transition. Thats when you know you have begun to integrate the new you and made it. Overcoming the fears isn't easy but when I realised that probably no one was really looking at me, no one really noticed anything different about me, it drew less attention anyway. The voice I have found is a powerful delimiter in that you can use the voice to confuse anyone. if you are able to sound like the gender you present, then any unwanted attention seems to be lessened and I found I could overcome many uncomfortable situations. I hope that you have found this interesting and helpful.