Been a while hey Steph!

Please excuse the use of a movie line but I thought it fitting as my last post was over twelve months ago!

2024 has had its fair share of challenges up to now, it started with shingles, although I think I dodged a bullet for the second time as apart from the rash itself I had little pain. I’m sure the fact that I had a stock of antivirals from the misdiagnosis in May 23 when it turned out to be gallstones was a help as despite it being the weekend, after a visit to the very helpful pharmacist in Vasse for a semi confirmation, I was on them straight away.

A very brief visit to England came in February after the death of my Adopted Mum (my Aunt). Despite needing to get my passport renewed and some other complications I’m so glad I went. Apart from the inclement weather and the reason for the trip (I actually attended two funerals while i was there as a good friend from school had also recently passed) there were several high spots of the trip. I caught up with my cousin David and his beautiful family and I also got to spend some time with my ex sister in law Lynne which was lovely as we both had plenty to talk about. I caught up with my nephews and their partners which was also lovely and spent a day with my step children and the rest of the family. I also met, in person for the first time, my very good friend Sophie Ottaway. If I’d ever thought I had a rough start to my life then Sophie’s story makes mine look like a walk in the park. I spent a day with her and her parents which was both lovely and enlightening. Her mum has read my book and we had lots to talk about. Sophie and I also spent a very long and thoroughly enjoyable evening together, talked non stop, had an hour on FaceTime with Denise, got quite drunk (thankfully I had a bed for the night!) and got to know each other much better. I’m hopeful that I can persuade her to visit us here in WA in the not too distant future.

Then it began! The first presentation of the year, telling my story, raising awareness of the difficulties of gender diverse (especially Intersex) people, trying to educate in order to improve the outcomes for gender diverse people and to talk about a more inclusive way forward. My first presentation of the year was on one of the workshop Stages at the Nannup Music Festival and for the first time I was not alone on the stage. As my rock, Denise was by my side. It was empowering to hear my journey from the partner/primary carer’s point of view and it worked really well and generated many questions at the end. The only negative was that the 45 minute time-slot was not long enough!

My next two presentations, April 26th and yesterday, May 3rd, were given to a wonderful organisation called the Bunbury Regional Community College. This is a recently opened college which provides education (and a great deal more) for students in years 10, 11 and 12 who don’t really fit into mainstream education for various reasons (I hope I’ve described that right?). They have a campus in Bunbury and also one in Busselton and I presented to the staff, teachers and social workers. I’m genuinely blown away by both the warmth and caring nature of all the staff and the excellent facilities offered to the students who otherwise would probably flounder in mainstream education as I myself did all those years ago. I’m sure it won’t be my last visit there; I feel I made lots of connections.

My next appearance will be a very new experience as I’m part of a panel discussion on inclusion in Perth to celebrate IDAHOBIT. This has already educated me about a couple of things as previously I was completely unaware that an ‘Inclusion Consultant’ was an actual occupation. The event will consist of two speakers and then, after a short break, the panel discussion. I’m sure there will be some very interesting discussions as Inclusion is a very important topic. I do feel however that in many cases inclusion is misinterpreted. To me, it’s not about inviting someone to your table, it’s believing that they belong there.

My next presentation, a week later is a really interesting opportunity in an area which is closer to the Intersex/Transgender world than you might think. I’m presenting at a fertility clinic. Fertility is going to be an ongoing discussion topic which, with the huge increase in young people presenting with gender dysphoria, is not going away. The disruption caused by puberty blockers and cross sex hormones is often irreversible and in my opinion, not enough time and psychotherapy is available to adequately look after these young people.

So, I promise I’ll make more effort and will post more regularly.

For those of you who don’t recognise the movie quote, it’s by Tom Cruise when he first sits in the cockpit of the F14 Tomcat before stealing it in Top Gun Maverick.

Until next time, lots of love to you all

Steph xx

One thought on “Been a while hey Steph!”

  1. Steph – I am so proud of all that you are doing to get your story and message out to those who need to hear it. Well done! Love Denise xx

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