The big message I try to get out with this blog is that people who identity and live as a gender other their birth gender can live life and have fun no-matter what part of their journey they are. The trigger for this weeks post is the fact I’m in a cast for Pantomime. I fancied giving it a go and auditioned and got a part.
I didn’t do anything ‘special’ I found out about a local theatre school through a friend who was part of the school. She was performing in a show which I really enjoyed and reminded me of a production I’d been part of 5 years ago. That production unfortunately failed to hit stage but I really enjoyed the experience, and coupled with my LARP decided to take the chance and audition. Exactly the same as my friend had done for the production she was in (she’s also now in the Panto), and exactly the same as anyone else can do.
It was definitely a nervy experience, but only natural nerves because it’s a new experience, I have no formal acting/dancing/singing training, but initial conversations via facebook made it clear that low levels of experience didn’t matter – they’d work with me to get through any areas I found tough.
The reason I’m telling you about this is to, hopefully, encourage people who are going through similar journey’s to me to just go for it and have fun. I’ve always said I’ve been fortunate that I make friends fairly easily, and it’s my appreciation of my situation that triggered this blog, but ultimately while I had a good friend at the threatre – the only bits she’s helped with (so far) are introducing me via facebook to a member of theatre staff, and gave me the inspiration to go for it.
Fancy doing something, could be theatre, a reading group, playing live music, roleplaying, anything, you don’t need friends to get involved.. but once your involved you WILL make friends. Just google for something your interested in and get in touch. You WILL be nervous, that’s natural, but I’ve yet to get into any group of any form and have anything other than a friendly face, lots of hugs and lots of fun.
It’s easier having friends to go with, but as my experience with the theatre shows, just get out and get involved. My friend was unable to make the audition or first rehearsal so apart from being there for moral support, I was meeting people for the first time on my own, not knowing how people would react – exactly the same as for you if you decide to think ‘yes I can do ‘that’ ‘ – whatever that is. Living in a gender other than your birth gender does not stop you doing things, some areas can definitely be tough, employment especially can be tough – despite laws protecting us, but when it comes to volunteering and hobbies and pastimes really there are no limits.
I’ve sung in Open Mics, volunteered for a variety of things including working with teaching young carers, LARP and a national exhibition at the NEC, do LARP, now in a theatre production, go to local pubs, play roller derby, go to HIIT sessions at the local gym.. many of them are nervy the first time you go, indeed I still am a bit wary of going to HIIT on my own, but honestly in all of that I’ve had zero issues relating to my gender identity.
Work – I do wonder if some struggles for promotion have been GI related, but then I’ve now got two jobs, one working as a home-care worker, and am going to train as a Nurse, so even there if you plug away you should be able to find work. If you do struggle with paid, then do voluntary – I cannot rate voluntary work highly enough.
I certainly am not trying to make all this sound easy!! I was a complete nervous wreck at auditions, for example, and it does require some mental strength, but the fact is if I can do it, you can. It can be incredibly nerve racking going to a new group on your own, but honestly I’ve not joined a single group where I’ve had anything other than positive reactions – just be yourself and have fun!!
Postcript: None of the groups I’m involved with are LGBT specific, or advertised as LGBT friendly. I’m just getting involved in groups because I want to, and not seeking out LGBT friendly variants – so don’t think you have to.