Itâ€™s my birthday today.
I know I had a birthday last month, but like all good queens Iâ€™ve got two: my birthday and the day I became Carrie. Legally speaking, that change happened on this day last year.
I usually post a round-up just before Christmas, and last yearâ€™s one just happened to be the day my name changed â€“ although I didnâ€™t know that at the time, because the documents are sent to you by snail mail. As I said last year, it was going to be a big Christmas for me:
Itâ€™s the first Christmas as a separated parent; the first Christmas in many years where Iâ€™ll wake up alone; the first Christmas where I wonâ€™t be doing bedtime stories for overexcited and highly sugared kids.
The first Christmas for Carrie.
This Christmas is much the same, although Iâ€™m a divorced parent rather than a separated one now. Where last year was quite sad for me, Iâ€™m feeling quite festive this time around. Not least because I fully intend to celebrate my second birthday this year, so by the time you read this Iâ€™ll probably be in the pub.
I keep a diary, and looking back on 2018 itâ€™s hard to believe itâ€™s just been a year. This is the year I began living full time as me, so itâ€™s been a year of firsts, good and bad: first gig as me, first day out as me, first time travelling as me, first time attending college as me, first of many times being misgendered on air, first time experiencing the dubious joys of electrolysis, first time being filmed as me, first time being a wedding guest as me, first time being abused in the street for being me, and so on.
What jumps out at me isnâ€™t the trans thing or the ongoing drudgery of dealing with a desperately underfunded NHS. Itâ€™s that again and again Iâ€™ve been writing about having joyful experiences with good people.
Itâ€™s interesting to compare my real-life experiences of living as a trans woman with the way people like me are written about in newspapers and online. In the real world Iâ€™ve made stacks of women friends and been treated with kindness and inclusivity. In the media Iâ€™ve been the subject of a moral panic just as toxic and malicious as the one over gay people in the 1980s. Iâ€™ve stopped buying all kinds of publications because of it, choosing to spend my money on more deserving causes instead, but itâ€™s hard to ignore: every day my news app gives me yet another white, middle-class, cisgender English journalist telling me Iâ€™m a monster, a predator. By far the hardest thing about being trans in 2018 has been having to endure this bullshit.
It will pass, eventually. But itâ€™s done incredible damage to one of the most vulnerable groups of people.
Enough of that. Letâ€™s stick to the good bits. This has been a year of big laughs and big ideas, of drag queens and dancefloors, of big wheels and big emotions and of stupid jokes and pointy guitars. Itâ€™s been a year of adventures and experiences, of pride and of positivity, a year of gigs and of giggles and of comfort zones being dynamited. More than anything, itâ€™s been a year of fears faced up to and good friends found.
This time last year I was very sad. This year, Iâ€™m excited. 2019 is going to be great.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a joyful, prosperous and healthy New Year.