Life & Blog Update (November 2020)

Featured image description: White text on a pink background that says: “Life & Blog Update (November 2020)”. On the right is the a logo for the blog, ”Trans Autistic Feminist” (a gold neurodiversity helix on a black trans symbol) with the blog name in purple.

CW for discussion of fertility, transphobia, ableism 

Hi all, 

I’ve been quiet on here lately and in general regarding my transition and everything else in my life. Hence, I’m going to ramble a bit because lots of good, yet big things are happening in my life.

Transition update: 

Next weekend, I have my psychiatric assessment for a gender dysphoria diagnosis and referral for hormones. In the UK, this is an essential part of the process of accessing hormones here. I won’t go into the specifics aside from that I need to be as confident as possible and be careful of what I say to avoid gatekeeping. Considering the stage of the transition I am at there shouldn’t be an issue, but I’m still worried I may say the wrong thing or be too honest as this has bitten me in the past a lot. 

I also have another appointment next week concerning gamete storage. I didn’t know this at the time I started. Still, each patient who goes to the gamete service I’m using can have up to three attempts to get a sample to freeze their sperm if the embryologist suggests it. The second and third attempts are free, whereas the first attempt has a fee. Well, due to the stressful process, I have been struggling to produce a large sample and am now on my final attempt.

So as you can see, I have to make sure this last sample is right. I’m more confident this time around. Hence I hope I have a large enough sample after this attempt.

Hence the last couple of weeks, I’ve mainly been sitting around and playing games for self-care purposes when I’ve not been working on my course or planning my future. I will also do mainly for the next week or so as all of this is incredibly stressful. 

Regarding my life & recovery

I’ve made a lot of progress, and that is for many reasons. I’ve been able to stabilise my life a bit, start to get a bit of routine going and slowly working on my skills in a positive environment. I’m also progressing in therapy and learning to manage my cPTSD triggers too – another huge step.

I had to end my crowdfunder early because I’m not mentally strong enough to deal with processes where I’m likely to be repeatedly rejected at the moment. i.e. private renting in the UK. Hence I redirected deposit money on top of crowdfunder funds and money from selling my stuff. In hindsight, this was the right thing to do as being able to mentally ground myself has enabled me to think things through very carefully and improve wellbeing.

Given the Westminster government mishandled both COVID and Brexit, this has narrowed my employment prospects to the point where it’s unlikely any young disabled person (not just me) – will find work.

This is also on top of the fact I am scared to look for work here. The main factor is the hostile, transphobic climate here (made worse by the fact I have to out myself to any employer I work at. This is because I cannot update my HMRC gender marker (which I talk more about in this article). The ableist, punitive nature of UC also is a factor because if whatever job I apply for and get doesn’t work out, I will lose a month’s income. I can’t put myself in that position again. 

Planning a way forward

Hence, I am currently in the early stages of planning a migration to the Republic of Ireland next year. I am hoping to do a Masters at a university there but if not that, get a job and get off this bigoted island that has caused my life chances to deteriorate. Because of the rights granted under Common Travel Area to British citizens (including rights to social housing and homelessness support like a citizen of that country), this is a realistic possibility for me and many other people in the UK looking to leave. This would be a long term move with the intention to work towards Irish citizenship to get my European citizenship / rights back. I will never live in this country again once I’m out unless I would not survive otherwise. Here is more information about it for those curious

If anybody has any advice on relocating to Ireland (especially regarding transferring ADHD medication and HRT over from the UK, which is something I haven’t been able to look into yet), I’d appreciate it. I’ve been praised a lot for my research so far which says a lot about my mental wellbeing, but the more advice, the better. 

Changing my approach to disclosure

I’ve also decided something arguably even more significant – I’ve decided to change my name again and go stealth. 

I’m not ashamed to be trans – far from it. But I am done dealing with cis people’s transphobia and bigotry. This was made more dangerous by the fact that I was open and honest with services, even those that were openly transphobic. I can’t stop bigotry from others, but I can reduce the opportunities they have. If they don’t clock me or find out in advance, they are less likely to do anything. 

I also wanted to be stealth all along – long before I even revamped my blog. As a trans autistic person, it is easier for me to be an openly autistic woman rather than openly transgender. I feel being openly autistic can help me pass as cis, especially as I admittedly have passing privilege. I have to disclose my disability to do well in the job market as I need accommodations, but revealing my gender does not reap the same benefits. If I was open about both and people discriminated against me, I wouldn’t know the exact reason unless it was apparent, such as certain slurs. Whereas if I’m openly autistic but pass as a cis woman, it would be obvious I’m being discriminated against on ableist grounds. Hence this is easier to process and navigate. 

My abusers took the option to go stealth away from me because they outed me to so many people without my knowledge or consent. They even emphasised this and showed a complete lack of regard for my feelings multiple times. This included their friends who I know nothing about but who know me, meaning there is a huge power imbalance. In a country where a hostile press and government regularly endorse transphobia, I fear this could be taken advantage of by higher powers if I was to become famous for whatever reason. 

Hence by changing my name again, I am taking this control back from them and subsequently disempowering their circle of influence in the process. I had initially been open to try to take back control and own my narrative, which I did. However, with the challenges I face and my need to thoughtfully plan my future with a focus on migrating and protecting my wellbeing, it is no longer possible.

Once this control is back, and my documents are updated, I can fully close the door on everything that has happened and get on with my life. I want to move on, and I’m sick of talking about this over and over again. In the context of recovery and surviving abuse is an excellent thing. It shows there’s nothing more for the survivor to process about the past aside from minor things like coping mechanisms for individual triggers. This will also help me commit to my relocation plan fully. 

How does this affect my blog? 

I’m not 100% sure yet. I may tweak the branding of my blog to de-emphasise the trans aspect somewhat. I’m going to keep using Milla as my name on here because frankly I love the name too much and don’t want to change it, but I have to for my safety.

I’m also planning to not talk as much about my personal experiences from now on aside from publishing my responses to the Parliament evidence calls regarding transgender rights (closing on 27th) and disability rights (closing next month) respectively. This is because I can get all my experiences down and used in a constructive way. I also want to publish another UK politics post at some point because moving up North has helped me understand what the left faces in more depth.

I’m considering moving towards doing some more reviews, especially regarding the LGBT games I have in my games collection. This is also partially because – to put it frankly – I miss games journalism and would love to go back to rambling about games somewhat. I did do a series in the past called Subtly Subjective where I talked about games from an autistic perspective, and while I did enjoy it, it felt out of place on here. But in hindsight, maybe not? I also have a considerable backlog of LGBT books I need to read through (as well as some neurodiversity ones). 

I also plan to write blog posts about my experiences accessing private HRT and private gamete storage to help others who are interested. The more resources people have, the better. I also may do the same regarding relocating abroad to Ireland as a disabled trans person if people are interested in it.

So in a nutshell, I’m safe and well. I’ve been through a lot over the past few years, and it’s only now things are starting to stabilise and go my way. The worst is over, but there’s still some way to go before I get to where I want to be – and I will get there. Thank you to those that have helped me get to this point, including my online friends. I also thank again those who donated to the crowdfunder before I ended it early, being able to start the steps to book appointments helped a lot.

Either way, that’s all for today, and hopefully, I’ll have something else to publish in the next few weeks. 

Milla xx 

I’m 23 and Finally Free

Hi all,  

Today’s post is going to be a ramble because as of today, I have now turned 23. Subsequently, what was one of the hardest years of my life has come to a close. Now I can actually look towards my future.  

I am finally making progress in solving my homelessness situation – and at the time of writing, in more suitable temporary accommodation. I am also able to start thinking about employment and reaching out to the community properly.  

That said, one other thought that comes to mind is this realisation. I should have been in this position last year. Let me contextualise it with an anecdote I haven’t discussed before – my 22nd birthday day the previous year.  

That day, I got up really early for a job interview that I attended via a long train commute. I didn’t get the job, but it was a good experience nonetheless. At the time, I was still stuck at my abusers’ home and believed that getting a job was my only viable way out.  

My situation was deteriorating, and it was only a matter of time before I was kicked out. Hence, I had to get a job as soon as possible because nobody would house me. I also had no presents nor cards from my abusers as they refused to get me anything – as did the family members that they manipulated against me. So not much of a birthday.  

Some reasons why this is significant to me is that last year:  

  • I wasn’t able to think properly about my future in any way, nor access the right support to do this, such as mentoring.
  • My focus was forcibly narrowed to getting a new place to live in any way possible.
  • Nor was I able to work out precisely what my support needs were. This is due to the toxic negativity I had, that assumed I could never work or live on my own. 
  • I also wasn’t able to work out what would be best for me regarding careers. All I knew is that I would need to move to a more accessible area for the best jobs and support. 
  • I wasn’t able to access mental health support for what I was going through, nor access any form of peer support.  

I wasn’t able to have a life, basically. I was trapped and disabled by the toxic environment around me.  

The difference between then and now is that I can now adequately address all of the above.  

This is because I’m free. I can finally get all of this addressed and more, such as: 

  • Medically transitioning
  • Reaching out to other people in the local community
  • Rebuilding my career
  • Working towards my long-term ambitions to migrate out of the U.K. permanently 

I am also accessing support and have developed a thick skin and matured as a result of my experiences. 

So today, I’ll be spending the day to myself and probably play games, do some writing and catch up with some friends online. And honestly, I’m OK with that. Compared to last year, this is far better. It’s better to be alone and happy than surrounded by people who don’t care about your wellbeing.  

My life is so much better now.  

I’m 23 and finally free. Here’s to a year of freedom and finally finding my feet as an adult.  

Milla xx  

P.S. I recently set up a crowdfunder so I can start my medical transition privately. Please consider donating to it if you have something to spare. You can view it here.

A World of Possibilities

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Hi all,

Today’s post will be more of a life update post and if you follow me on Twitter you’ll likely be able to work out what this is about. This blogpost will discuss some of my thoughts regarding my life after I graduate as well as discuss some of the research I have done already. Maybe you will learn something as well.

I have been worrying about what I am going to do after I graduate for a lot for the past year. This worry is something that I am struggling to deal with because I feel like I am running out of time. I am due to start my final year of university soon and there is of pressure on final year students to decide their next path in life. There is a world of possibilities out there for young people hence there is the expectation that university graduates will continue their path in life into the workplace or further study.

For me, making this choice has been very hard due to there being too many possible routes I could pursue hence it has been very overwhelming for me. Furthermore, the lack of detailed guidance for people in my situation has made it very hard for me to decide the best course of action.

My research and self-analysis so far have led me to the following conclusions:

  • I will require accommodations due to my disabilities – which includes working from home.
  • I don’t know what career I want to pursue that could feasibly earn me a living.
  • My disabilities limit what careers I can pursue.
  • I do not wish to continue education just yet as I need a break from the education system and would like new challenges.
  • I will have to relocate but will also need some level of support.
  • I also realised I am a woman while I was in Japan and would like to start transitioning in my final year (I am still mostly closeted at the time of writing hence did not want to talk about this on my blog prior).

As you can tell, I am in a pretty complicated situation. I am trying my best to get answers but it has been exhausting. I managed to get a careers appointment for instance but the advice I got left me with more questions than answers. This includes the confusing idea that I may be restricting myself too much. I am trying to pace finding these answers so I do not overdo it to the detriment of my health and education. I only have so much free time and the answers are not going to come to me as soon as I would like.

Due to being autistic, I struggle to focus on other things (including relaxation) until I have the answer that I am looking for. This especially applies when a dramatic life change is the subject at hand. Self-discipline and getting a work-life balance are important skills to learn as they are required in order to work from home. I am getting the hang of this slowly but it isn’t easy.

Some things I have learned during my search have been interesting though. For instance, I have been reading up on UK law thanks to some of the research that has been done and there is legal protection for all my marginalised characteristics. There are also various sources of support out there for me whom I can go to advice across the country including services I was not aware of before. Furthermore, there are also job sites that are specially geared towards disabled people in the UK such as Evenbreak.

Additionally, there are a lot more UK regulations surrounding working from home than I first thought (as outlined here). For instance, an employer would need to conduct a health and safety check on the proposed working from home space before any home working is allowed. Furthermore, planning permission and tenancy agreements may need to be made or altered depending on what the circumstances are. The employer’s needs also need to be factored in just as much as the employees which means the employer needs to see benefits of me working from home too. This genuinely surprised me and will only serve to complicate my situation as many employers will decide to retract job offers when I ask for this accommodation.

I do plan to seek further, more detailed advice in the future due to my very specific situation from a variety of sources. Until then, I will try to enjoy my free time before I head back for my final year of being a student which will be my toughest year yet. I am hopeful that I can find my way in life.

That’s all for today.

Best wishes,
Subtle

(@subtlykawaii)

PS. If anybody has any links/stories/advice to share written by people like me that were in my situation (preferably people who are trans + autistic + disabled), please share them in the replies! Thanks 🙂

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