Settling into ‘full-time’ living, I stepped away from the places where I’d explored my gender, spending time with old friends as we intuitively worked out if my transition would affect our relationships. No longer feeling that I could only be myself in ‘safe’ spaces, I stopped going to ‘T-friendly’ mainstream gay clubs (where I was often the only T, sitting in the corner grinding my teeth as yet another musical abomination piped up), deciding that the best way to normalise my gender was to maintain as much continuity as possible with my pre-transition social life.
For the most part, this was fine. Fortunately, I lost very few friends and, being discerning about where I socialised, I encountered little friction away from the streets. Having discussed my transition so much on coming out, the resumption of long-standing arguments with old friends felt strangely cathartic. But I missed Brighton’s queer scene: I no longer needed it in the same way, but I still liked the atmosphere at its events, as well as the tunes (sometimes they let me choose them, the fools) – and I’d made some good friends there.
As well as strengthening my few existing ties, I wanted to make new friends who understood the specific challenges of transsexual life. ‘Tranny’ nights, which felt more suited to those who would not transition (especially transvestites) didn’t appeal, even before I came to define as transsexual, and I started to look beyond clubs (which often, on some level, cater for people of shared sexuality rather than gender identity) for community support.
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