The Making of Me on Channel 4

If you’ve seen The Making of Me it needs no introduction. If you haven’t, here’s a precis. The 3 episodes follow 9 transgender individuals in their journey from man to woman, woman to man, or in one case woman to non-binary.

There’s no way I can think of to phrase this without it sounding condescending, so I’m just going to come right out with it and hope anyone reading doesn’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I find the whole concept of transgender fascinating. I find transgender people fascinating. And that’s not in a rude way, at all. I can’t emphasise that enough. I don’t look at people with gender issues as freaks, or weird, or anything negative at all. I just find it incredible that a person can be born into a gender and realise that it’s completely wrong.

Maybe that’s why transgender people get such a bad rap. The average person on the street can’t comprehend not being who they are. Most men have never thought about wearing a dress, much less hating their penis to the point of feeling like an alien in their own body. Most women can’t imagine wishing they didn’t have breasts to the point of wanting them surgically removed.

It’s an alien feeling to most people

That doesn’t make it an unreal feeling though.

I’m a great believer that if science says something is real, then it’s real. I’m an atheist who doesn’t believe in god. I trust that the moon landings happened, and I know that the Earth isn’t flat (if you think that, then stop reading now).

So the fact that science says people can be born in the wrong body, is fact for me.

What harm is it doing anyone else?

Back to the TV program. It’s wonderfully done. Sensitively filmed. There are no gratuitous surgery or genital shots. The focus is very much on real people with real feelings. How they feel at the beginning of the process, and how they feel at the end.

Cairo – female to male transgender; previously a very attractive female model – proof that “being pretty” doesn’t make you a woman.

Andrew – female to male transgender who couldn’t wait to get a mastectomy to remove his breasts.

Karen – male to female transgender who felt so strongly about being born in the wrong body that they were willing to put their professional career on the line.

And that, for me, is the crux of all this. Being transgender isn’t easy. It’s probably the most difficult thing any of these individuals have ever done. They risk being ostracised by their family, friends and work colleagues. And yet it’s still worth it. If that doesn’t tell you that trans is real, then I don’t know what will.

Imagine everything you hold dear in life

Your career. Your partner. Your children. Then imagine telling them something that might make them turn against you. Would you risk it? Could you risk it?

In episode 2, Pete comes out to his wife as trans. She’s filmed as saying that “transitioning is very selfish”. Is it though? Isn’t it more selfish to insist that someone live a lie to satisfy the image you have of your life and future?

I don’t know. You could argue that they should never have entered into a marriage if they weren’t the person they purported to be. But, for people transitioning later in life, today’s more open, more accepting society is their chance to be who they are. And don’t we all deserve that?

For anyone who doesn’t believe in, or doesn’t agree with, people transitioning into the gender they should have been born in, I leave you with this. Jackie, previously Simon, who signs off episode one with “I can just be me all the time. I can be happy.”

And the smile of every one of the 9 brave people who took part in this filming. Compare their before and after smiles. Compare their stance and their eyes. Look at how they hold themselves.

Then tell me that transgenderism is wrong.

Go on…I dare you.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Channel 4’s Naked Attraction

Last night I watched an episode of Naked Attraction; the new dating show on Channel 4 where people choose a date purely on physical attributes.

For anyone outside of the UK, or if you haven’t seen it, a chooser stands in the studio faced with 6 coloured boxes, each containing a completely naked person. The shutter on the box lifts up in stages, revealing first the person’s bottom half, then mid section, then head. At each stage, the chooser must eliminate one naked person and give their reasons.

Naked Attraction Channel 4

Let me start by saying I’m not a prude in anyway. I don’t find nakedness offensive or embarrassing, I don’t turn over the TV when a sex scene is on and I’ve sunbathed on a nudist beach (tip, it’s not fun when things start to burn). But I just find this programme completely unnecessary and gratuitous.

Sure, it’s delivered in a “this is a social experiment and aren’t we all great for pushing the boundaries and being cool with nakedness” manner. They throw in scientific facts, like what it might mean if someone has a toe fetish (bleugh). But, in truth, it’s just a headline grabbing cheap titivation show. And I can’t imagine for one minute why anyone would choose to go on it!

As I said, nakedness is fine. It’s how we all come into the world. But in the days of catch up TV, and the internet, why would the average Joe want their bits immortalised forever more? Think it’s bad when prospective employers search Facebook profiles and Google? Imagine knowing your new boss has probably seen your short and curlies before they’ve even interviewed you?

I just don’t like how purely appearance based this show is. I mean, we’re all guilty of judging people on looks. You fancy someone or you don’t. But this is going one step further. This is looking at men and rejecting them because of a hint of ginger pubic hair. This is eliminating women because their boobs aren’t quite big enough.

A guy on yesterday’s programme was looking at the women’s bits closely and making comments about their neatness. “That one’s all very tightly packed” was one observation. I had a pang of “mine doesn’t look like that!” And if I’m thinking that, then how many other (younger and more impressionable) people are doubting themselves too?

The female chooser, an attractive women with two children (whhhhhyyyy do that to your kids?) stated “it’s like Christmas – all these men in boxes. I’ve never been faced with 6 penises before”. I’m sorry but peens just aren’t attractive. They’re not pretty. It’s what they stand for (oo-er) that’s the good bit. But when they’re just there, well, they’re just there!

Most of the contestants, both men and women had no pubic hair. I know that’s a preference of many people, but I don’t think the percentage on the show is representative of real life. One woman with a Brazilian was judged as trying to show her maturity by still having some hair. Realllly? Who knew?! (heavy doses of sarcasm). My point there, is this bringing unrealistic expectations to young people growing up? After all, this show is the kind of voyeuristic crap kids will be watching and then switching over the minute their parents walk in. Is it teaching people that what’s underneath your clothes is more important than what’s in your head or heart?

Negative comments on floppy foreskins, big nipples and hairy chests – all of which are completely natural – don’t exactly promote body confidence in someone who might have one (or all!) of these attributes!

Maybe I’m being too deep (ahem). Maybe it’s good that nudity is being normalised? I just think there are better ways of doing it than inviting strangers to ogle each other.

The one redeeming feature is presenter Anna Richardson, who I’ve always loved on TV. She’s smart, she’s spunky, she’s attractive and funny. And, as she rightly pointed out, as someone who’s swung both ways who better to stand in a room full of naked johnsons (a willy word I hadn’t heard before!) and vaginas!

You can’t really argue with that!

Have you seen it? What do you think? Am I being a boring old maid??!!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x