What Does Trans Even Mean?

Liz - TransphobiaYour sex is what you are defined as in terms of your genetics and your biological makeup, for example if you have two X chromosomes, you are of the female sex. Gender, however, is how you identify. For example, you can have an XY chomosome pair (which is the marker for the male sex) but identify as a woman. This is an example of being transgender, trans- simply meaning different. If you are transgender, you identify as a gender different to the sex you were born as. If you identify as the same gender as the sex you were born as, you’re technically cisgender (cis- meaning the same).

Someone who is transgender identifies as a different gender to their birth sex, this is often found in ‘drag’ culture. Whereas someone who is a transexual has had a ‘gender reassignment’ so that they outwardly appear to be of the opposite sex in a biological way. For example, someone who is a transexual* may have had surgery and hormone therapy so that they feel they can live as the opposite sex, the sex they felt they should’ve been born as. The term ‘transvestite’ is pretty much transgender and is fairly outdated by ever-changing, modern-day standards.

Transgender is to do with gender identity, transexual is to do with biological sex: trans 101.


LGBT (or LGBTQ) standards for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (Q = community). Although being transgender or transexual is not sexuality, it is to do with gender identity. Many people received prejudice and discrimination over the expression of their gender and sexual preferences; the first step to fighting this is through awareness. Being transgender is the feeling that your mind is of the opposite sex to your body (in gender-binary terms**), simple as.


*’Transexual’ is the word often used but the technical term using rules of the English language is transsexual with two Ss, but this is actually quite trivial.

**’Gender binary’ refers to the idea of the existence of only two unique genders; female (XX sex chromosome pair) and male (XY sex chromosome pair). Some people prefer an identity that does not neatly fall into one category or the other, even if they may have the reproductive organs of only one biological sex. Some people are born with abnormalities on the chromosome pair that determines sex, resulting in combinations such as X (Turner’s Syndrome), XXX (Triple-X Syndrome)and XXY (Klinefelter Syndrome); these genetic conditions are largely irrelevant to transsexualism.   tdor1

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New Missive New Identity

Well hi there!
As you may have noticed, I’m taking my sweet little blog through some subtle rebranding (if you can call it that). Progressive Exchange has been dropped, and New Missive has been adopted. For you word fans, you might appreciate the introduction of ‘Missive’; an underused word that means a written message or letter. New? Well, it is! It doesn’t matter all that much… have you heard of The Onion*? They just throw all the rules out the window like the crazy cats they are!
Let’s hope something unique like New Missive gives this modest little blog a better identity!


PS, find New Missive on Facebook here.

New Missive IPA

*The Onion is an American satirical ‘new source’, check it out!

Feminism 101: Y Chromosomes Permitted

obama-feministWho truly knows what feminism is? Is feminism the extremist behaviour of women seeking superiority over men? Is feminism the act of drawing attention to the inequality that women face? Is feminism simply a myth? So many questions, so few answers!

But, wait, there is an answer. Feminism is women seeking equality. So does this mean feminism is just the concept of being against sexism? If so, why is it called feminism? Why is it fem- if it’s equality for all?

Women have their own movement for equality because that’s how bad we’ve had it. Before you call me a ball-breaker, or a feminazi, or some other pointless and actually quite irrelevant name, just think about it.

Have you heard of anti-Semitism? Anti Semitism is prejudice and discrimination again people of the Jewish faith; racism against Jews. How come Jewish people get their own special word? Let me answer that for you; have you heard of the holocaust? Where one of the oldest religions in the world was penalised because… well, because they were different.

Feminism is kind of like that; it has it’s own name because the female people have been discriminated against for so long, with little relevant reasoning as to why. Each wave of feminism has brought about action for something different. In the early 20th century in Britain, it was the fight for suffrage – the right to vote – and we won! Looking back now, there was no true reason as to why women were any less able to vote in a well-informed manner like their male counterpart. I’m not saying all women are highly intelligent, some are pretty idiotic, but so are some men. So surely we can conclude that some of all sexes (and some of those who don’t adhere to gender-binary standards) are foolish. Everyone is stupid, regardless of what’s in your pants.

Yet, the female comedian, Jenny Collier, was recently pushed out of a line up because there were already “too many women on the bill”. Now, I have the sneaking suspicion that her email didn’t come from a concerned individual worried about men’s rights, but rather from an unfortunate soul who clearly didn’t think through what he was doing when he sent an email likely to cause uproar from all right-minded people. How can someone get away with something so obviously sexist? Some people say that female comedians just “aren’t as funny as men”; but that isn’t even what’s being questioned here. It’s agreed that Jenny Collier is funny, so why is she being brushed off? If she wasn’t funny enough, not a good enough comedian, then that might be fair reasoning; cancelled an act because they aren’t what you want in terms or their skills – fair enough. However, cancelling an act because their 23rd chromosomal pair is ‘all wrong’.


It’s true that in some professions, men suffer discrimination. In jobs like teaching or nursing, any man who enters the career “isn’t a real man”. It’s a problem, but that is a whole separate issue that would require and whole separate post. Men can suffer discrimination due to their sex, but how often does it happen? More often than not, women are judged purely based on the fact that they are women. Even women who were born women and underwent gender reassignment will suffer the same oppressive behaviour towards them.

It is time that people realised that women are subjects, not objects; active, not passive. Even women can be sexist towards women without realising. A woman and a man are just people. Once we learn to view people as people, we can progress. Men may love women, but so can women, and men can love men! More than ever, gender and sexuality has become fluid and broad, so how come something as archaic as sexism is still lingering like a bad smell?feminist

Feminism means equality for women. I personally think that we should use a different word, a word for equality for all genders, an inclusive word that is neither feminine nor masculine. I can only hope that if there were a non-specific word, then people would stop judging this book by its cover and start understanding the cause of the friction. Feminists are not crazed women, controlled by their wombs. Feminists are fighters for equality, womb or not.

The Drudgery Of Revision (AKA The concept of study versus the appeal of procrastination)

In case the title didn’t give it away, I’m currently suffering from a serious case of procrastination (if you don’t understand this reference, please look it up right now; it all makes better sense now, right?).

Studying, for those who have entertained the idea (or pretended to), is pretty much a synonym for being bored. I’ll admit that after finishing a long and in-depth essay, I do feel pretty accomplished and proud of myself! However, I have to get there first. A flaw with the wonders of technology are that it is just so hard to take my eyes off that funny cat video.

Actually, weirdly enough, I have a ranty rambly piece in the nerd bank. That is to say, I blurted up some words on a page one time, and it actually relates to what I’m blabbering on about now. So, for your amusement… for one night only (and every other night and day for eternity, this is the internet)… I present, myself!

Warning: This is a longer one, feel free to pause here to make a cup of tea.

We all know, we’d much rather be watching cat videos on YouTube, than analysing poetry or doing quadratic equations. However, we should be so lucky! The youth of today have more distractions than ever before, thank to the wonder that is the internet. Globalisation (essentially, the idea that the world is smaller because it’s better connected) has vastly altered the dynamics between work and fun. Work hard, play hard is an alien concept to many; as much as we say it, it’s just not true. I do not know a single person who works as hard as they play, and so it should be. As Mark Twain famously said – “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”. We learn in a vast number of ways and schooling is just one of those means. Yes, it’s true that our education career – our GCSEs, A levels, BTECs and apprenticeships – are valuable. They are the piece of paper that says “yes, I am capable of working hard”, but spare a thought for people whose pieces of paper don’t say that. They say “I didn’t put in enough effort” or “I’m not good enough to work for you”, but why? Is it effort, is it ineptitude? I doubt it.

It’s progress. It’s the miracle of the space era (as some have called it); of technological and medical advances that now require the younger generation to work until we are AT LEAST 70. A few decades ago, that wasn’t even a life expectancy in this country, its still isn’t in some parts of the world. We now have to accept the fact that we could be spending over half a century in a single profession. How scary is that? Think about how long your schooling qualifications took, times twenty, and the rest. The rest of your ‘short’ life (that really isn’t so short), spent working. So we rush to study when the opportunity is thrown at us, only to fail and end up in the wrong place. Or maybe we do really well, get into university and get an honours degree… only to end up in job we hate with people we loathe.

Everyone of this generation, of this day and age, rushes. Our minds race as we fall asleep in front of screens and wake up to sirens. We rush and rush, always needing to be somewhere else, doing something else… but why? Fifty years of work, and we still rush. I say, don’t. Don’t rush and race, slow it down. If you want a gap year, take it. Don’t weigh up the costs versus what you might gain for your CV; if a gap year looks enjoyable then do it. If you want to study abroad during your degree, embrace it, do it. People take multiple undergraduate degrees, and we worry about whether it’s worth doing one. It’s expensive, it’s £9,000 a year, but it isn’t upfront. It’s new friends and new experiences and a subject that you get to choose, that you get to study with like-minded individuals. Although, it’s true that it can be hard to get there.

There are countless distractions – you could try to count them all but it truly is impossible. Websites with videos, and photos, and blogs; books, and music, and board games; baking, and exercise, and socialising… We have been presented with innumerable opportunities and resources, but it’s too much. This is a curse in disguise. Forget about appropriateness, security and privacy for just a moment, and consider just the amount of things you have viewed online. The internet is a drug, it draws us in but we cant help it. We need the internet, we need it to learn and to connect. We now use it for a DBS check (similar to the old CRB check), for banking, even to adopt. Times are changing and yet, our education is the same. Maybe the qualifications have different names, and different scales of marking; but we still studying a subject and hand in coursework or sit exams. We still study traditional subjects and find little room to utilise all the wondrous things we find online, and in our day to day life. It is hard to reach your fullest potential, when everyone else’s is thrust upon you. When all you see is nonsensical ramblings of a distracted mind, only to realise you’re looking at your own work. I would even go so far as to say that this is what you’ve just read; nonsensical ramblings of a distracted student, struggling with the concept of study versus the appeal of procrastination.

The Stress Of The Internet (Coming From A Blogger)

Although initially written this as an introductory piece to work on stress and stress management, it went a bit blog-style so I thought I’d share it with the world. Enjoy.

In the present day, there is little escape. The far-reaching grasps of the internet demand our attention at all times of the day; be it to shop, socialize, learn, watch, work, or listen. Although it houses valuable resources such as newspaper articles, and forward-thinking campaigns for justice, it is relentless. The glory of the Internet is a double edge sword. It gives us access to knowledge, in amounts never before available, but it also allows for abuse. ‘Catfishing’, cyber bullying, a new wave of paedophila and grooming, and outright abusive threats are common online- we only need to look to the news to see the negative effects of social networking platforms.Stress Management

Decades ago, even as recent as 20 years ago, stress was quite different. As times have changed, and people have become more ambitious, we are required to do more to achieve the same status and recognition in the career world, even compared to our own grandparents. We have to work harder, and pay £9,000 a year for university, when in the not to distant past it was free. We have to take countless courses, and sign off ever-rising numbers of hours – all in the name of what is PC or what is deemed ‘proper’, ‘appropriate’. New rules and guidelines protect us, but they also make us fearful and cynical, knowledgeable about the evils that people commit… and this is even before we’re two feet up the career ladder. Knowledge is precious, but ignorance is bliss. Our eyes have been opened to a multitude of stressors. Globalisation has forced others’ problems to become our own. The modern world has given us more opportunity, protection, accessibility… but it has burdened us with more stress than previous generations might truly understand.

Can you manage #100happydays?

I recently discovered a project called #100happydays. I’d seen someone post via FaceBook and within 10 minutes, I was signed up myself.
The project basically challenges you to find something that makes you smile, to snap a photo of it, and upload it to your preferred platform… for 100 days in a row.
‘Easy Peasy!’ I hear you say! Well, the website says that 71% of people don’t complete the full 100 days of the challenge. That’s a lot. People appear to be too busy, racing through modern life, to find the time to smile.
Are we really too busy to be happy? Some people would argue we are busy doing things that make us happy. As true as it is that we should not live our lives through a camera lens, how hard is it to snap a photo and email it?
The project boasts its versatility, with the ability to upload the photos to a platform of your choice (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Email) with the option to create a unique hashtag (#100hd, #mychallenge, #3ksn38, anything really). All you have to do is tell them a bit about yourself, choose a platform, enter your username, choose your hashtag, and start smiling!

I’m currently on day four and so far my pictures have been of an album cover, my UCAS homepage (five out of five offers!), a funny bottle of ketchup (house red) and a photo of my boyfriend who has finally returned from a trip to Switzerland. I’m sure I will be uploading photos of various food and animals multiple times throughout the weeks, and I look forward to it!
The reason I took on this challenge is because it raises a great point. Why should this be daunting? Increased Mental Health awareness tells us how much trouble people have being happy. Not just ‘feeling down’, but depression or bipolar disorder. Even if someone with depression uploads a photo each day that is a joke or a new top they bought, then it helps to find daily uplifts.
I strongly urge you, regardless of your mental health, to take part. 29% is not a high success rate for a challenge that doesn’t even take 4 months. You have no one to prove anything to apart from yourself; prove to yourself that you can find happiness 100 days in a row, and it will become habit.
Be happy for 100 days, then tell me how you’ve changed.

The project can be found at: http://100happydays.com/