Are you sympathetic towards transexuals?

Transexual Drusilla Marland has won almost £65,000 compensation for enduring ‘an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility’ while working for P&O Ferries.

She worked as a repairer and suffered verbal and physical harassment from the engine room crew while undergoing gender-reassignment. It seems her managers turned a blind eye, insisting that she should use a male changing room.

I imagine that’s how most blokes would react, and transexuals must surely have counselling to prepare them for this kind of reaction. I wonder why Drusilla continued to work in a male dominated area, surely she would have been better off considering retraining and finding work in a more sympathetic environment.

I have met a few transexuals and always found them to be very gentle people who desperately want to fit in and be accepted, they take immaculate care over their appearance.

Drusilla should be heartened by the success of transvestive Grayson Perry, an outstanding potter who has a female alter-ego called Claire and has won the Turner Prize. He wears the most outlandish “little girl” frocks, I would just adore one of his fabulous ceramic pots. But it must help to be self-employed and famous so you can do your own thing.

Our society is very accepting on the whole, but I would suggest transexuals make their life as easy as possible by finding work in a more tolerant environment, I guess this means choosing female colleagues who would feel intrigued and be more accepting.

Transexuals in the workplace is still very much new territory and bosses need to be aware of their legal obligations. All I can say is, Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes time to develop mutual understanding and respect.


  1. Dear Ellie,

    Thank you for your kind words and insights.

    Being transgendered or transsexual is such a poignantly strange path to walk.

    As I’ve grown through the years, I’ve discovered many facets of myself and have described myself in somewhat different ways (though my sense of my gender has always been consistent since early childhood):

    I am “queer” even among the queer, as I am a male-to-female transsexual who has chosen to *NOT* transition to female form out of love for my spouse and the commitment I made to her before God. I can only say that this path, as I have walked it so far, is for me and not necessarily for others. I desperately want to be clothed in female form, and only God can help me to endure my circumstances as they are. But love and a promise hold us together, my wife, God and myself. So, I have accepted God’s challenge to live as a female soul in a male form, and I am learning how this will be uniquely expressed in my – how I will express beauty, gracefulness and feminine sensibility in the context of a male form, without damaging this form nor denying the masculine components of my soul. In short: how would a female live gracefully withing a male body?

    All of this is possible for me because I realize that my present form is only temporary, and I give-up my right to a SRS and hormones knowing that God must make this right in eternity.

    Without God, I could not endure this, and would likely bring pain into the lives of those I love and who depend upon me remaining in male form. Who will I depend upon? When I cuddle with my wife, it is always I who hold her who; will hold me? Who will pursue me? Who will desire me? To whom will I abandon myself? These are as deep in the soul of a woman as beauty and gracefulness themselves are. Yet for me, they will never be met by a man. He, God Himself, must desire me, must cover me, must take me in strong arms and hold me, and as He meets these feminine needs in me, I will be strengthened to continue to meet them for my wife.

    For me, beauty and gracefulness are first and foremost inner things. I long to be a beautiful and graceful person inside, and then for their shadow to be manifest in my external self. This is congruence beyond simply that somehow my sex be made to match my gender – in this life, they will not, though God has promised me that He will not remedy this by removing parts of me, rather, by adding to me.

    Queerer still, I a asexual, neither attracted to males, nor females. My wife being a supernaturally-arranged exception. There was never anyone before her, nor anyone else during our twenty-one years of marriage, nor will their be anyone after her if she dies before me (she has always been seriously, chronically ill). (I should also say, that my wife is TG too: a male soul in a female body. We are both blends, nether of us being completely male nor female in soul.)

    I think that some other transsexuals would read these words and conclude that I simply am not “transsexual” because if I was, then *nothing* and *no one* would keep me from transitioning as quickly as possible. But, very lately this came to mind from the scriptures: Remember “Solomon’s choice?” In grief and agony, two women came to him with a baby they both claimed to be their own. He asked for a sword with with to divide the child, giving half to each woman. “No!!! Give her the child!!!” said one, whilst the other said “cut it!!!” To the former, the child was given because Solomon concluded that the real mother would lay aside her own needs and desires for her child. (1 Kings 3:16-28) (And God *knows* that *I* have longed to be able to conceive and bear a child!)

    Ellie? I’m not sure why I shared all of this; it does seem to get easier as I go, and in a very real sense, I *am* transitioning, but on a much longer time-scale than most transsexuals. Where I am today, could be comfortably described as gently transgendered – feminine, yet not effeminate. It seems God is making clear that I am to be this way, and to be this “in-between” way lived gently, gracefully, and lovingly before others will somehow help others learn the God can help them with their impossibilities too. This is gradually being confirmed by Him as it becomes known what I am and why in my conservative Christian congregation. My pastor and others cannot understand what I am, yet they cannot find fault in me; still they are a bit uncomfortable because they cannot understand how God could make a person like me, and that I could be growing distinctly “Christlike” in character and maturity. I am amazed and deeply humbled to find that He *is* making me beautiful and graceful and congruent, even here, and that despite my oddity, He is making me a person that attracts others to Himself.

    Ellie, please forgive me for rambling, and I thank you for reading my thoughts.

    Take Care 🙂

  2. To Jim:

    “gender-reassignment” is te right way to say it, because like Grace Hunter says: “Transsexuals wear the bodies of the opposite sex through no choice”

    So because of that a gender-reassignment is necesary to make the genre of they bodies match with the genre of they mind.

    Very nice post.

  3. Grace Hunter

    I would like to quote a moderator from one of the TS forums that I presently inhabit, for your and others clarification.

    “Transvestites wear the clothes of the opposite sex through choice.

    Transsexuals wear the bodies of the opposite sex through no choice.”

    Hope that clears things up for you.


  5. Kay, Thank you for your comment, obviously I am not an expert, but wanted to provide a platform where these issues could be discussed.

  6. kay meddings

    I have just read your short article, and while there is some sense in it in advocating a life style that avoids unecessary problems, I am sad at your lack of understanding of even the basics of the condition you are writing about. Do try contacting the Gender Trust, for information before embarking on any writing on this subject in the future.
    As for Grayson Perry. you may not be aware that not only is he a TV, as you say, but hia attitude to transexualism is in the nature of “holocaust denial” in that he does not believe that Gender Dysphoria ( the medical term for transexualism) actually exists. He believes it to be tranvestism run riot, and says so, often. Fortunately the specialist medical and psychiatric practitioners know better.
    I have never met Dru Marland, but what I have learned from a friend who was present at her tribunal was appalling; no-one should be treated the way she was for whatever reason. The fact that the treatment was illegal under British and European law is almost irelevent.

    Kay Meddings; post op transexual and retired special school headteacher; one of those who DID seek out a sympathetic staff group.

  7. Thank you. God* bless us everyone

    *or, of course, ‘whatever means the good’


  8. Dru, You have great attitude, all human beings should be treated with decency. Good luck with everything, and Merry Christmas.

  9. Yes, thanks, I’m getting on with life; I do have other skills than fixing things.

    To clarify; the engine room was indeed an unreconstructed male environment, through which the breeze of equality has yet to blow; but most of my work was out and about, among the passengers and (mainly female) cabin crew. Which more than compensated for the dumb macho attitudes down below, if not for the treatment. I know women who work in predominantly male occupations; carpenters, car mechanics, whatever, and of course they find it challenging too. But this is what equality is all about, isn’t it? -getting out there and mixing it. I’m not asking for special treatment, any more than they or anyone else does or should. I just expect to be treated with a basic level of decency.

    Anyway, rant *off*

    Grayson Perry’s work does nothing for me; it’s no big issue, just my personal response. I just found it odd that you should link me with him, as I don’t *think* we’ve got anything in common.

  10. Dru, Thank you for getting in touch, it is certainly not acceptable to be constantly harrassed at work, and assaulted too, it must have been a terrible time for you.

    What are you doing now, did you find more work? It would obviously be great if you could still use your skills, but would you want to go back to an all-male working environment?

    I saw Grayson Perry on TV on Sunday night and thought he was such an interesting and unique person, that’s why I mentioned him too, I think his ceramics look stunning.

  11. …actually, that was written in haste; you’ve sort of covered that issue. As to why I stuck it out in the job; it was actually a job I enjoyed and was good at, and had there been any guidance given to my troglodyte colleagues from management regarding appropriate behaviour, I might still be doing it. As it was, the officers stood back and watched the harrassment going on, or actually joined in with it. Finally I was assaulted and told that it was my fault. It was then, as you may believe, that my position at work became entirely untenable.

    The judgement given by the Tribunal has some very pungent things to say about the way P&O handled things, and I hope that the world will now be a slightly better place because of it.

    Unfortunately, you won’t get any of that from the Daily Mail….

    As for Grayson Perry; gosh, I’d never thought of adopting him as a role model.

    OK, I’ve thought about it. No thanks.

    And I can’t think of any other women I know who’d want to, either.

    Or men, for that matter.

  12. I would suggest that you replace the word “transsexuals” in this sentence with the word “women”, and see how it sounds. Then tell me what is the difference between a “transsexual” (BTW, that word is an adjective and not a noun)and a “woman”.

    I would suggest transexuals make their life as easy as possible by finding work in a more tolerant environment, I guess this means choosing female colleagues who would feel intrigued and be more accepting.

  13. The most famous transexual I can remember is Carloline Cossey. She actual featured in the James Bond film For your eyes only. Her book was a true insight into what she went through to become a woman.

    If you look at pictures of her following her op, you really couldn’t tell she had been born Barry Cossey.

    Live and let live I say.

  14. Best I stay out of this one.

  15. Anyone who takes as drastic a step as having a sex change must be quite tough, really. I agree with GlassHouse and don’t see why Drusilla should have had to change her job.
    Personally, I wouldn’t want one of Perry’s pots around. I know that art is sometimes meant to disturb but some of his subject matter would not make for a relaxing home!

  16. GlassHouse, Again, I agree, but Drusilla tried and found her working situation intolerable. My suggestion was based on what would spare her feelings, how she would feel more comfortable working in a less hostile environemnt. As I say, the transexuals I have met have all been very gentle and certainly non-confrontational, it must be very difficult for them to have to face daily taunts and bullying. I know I couldn’t face it.

  17. I know it’s not a perfect world, but surely the way to edge towards the ideal is to take a stand and refuse to be run out a job by others.

    If you just appease ignorant people, then you’re not only letting yourself down, but also the next person to come along who will have to endure another round of bullying that you could have done something to stop.

  18. I know it’s not a perfect worlk, but surely the way to edge towards the ideal is to take a stand and refuse to be run out a job by others.

    If you just appease ignorant people, then you’re not only letting yourself down, but also the next person to come along who will have to endure another round of bullying that you could have done something to stop.

  19. GlassHouse, You are quite right, but we don’t live in an ideal world where everyone is treated fairly and I felt my suggestion would minimise similar difficulties, it must be so horrendous to be bullied at work on any grounds.

  20. I don’t want to come across as some PC-crazed loon, but telling people who are being bullied at work to go and find another job seems rather unjust.

    Should a woman being subjected to sexism be expected to “retrain and find work in a more sympathetic environment?”

    Should a homosexual on the recieving end of homophoic taunts be told to think about “retraining and finding work in a more sympathetic environment”?

    I hope not.

  21. Jim, It’s jargon for having a sex change.

  22. What’s all this about “gender-reassignment”??

    The word is sex-change.

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