Analysis (Services and Self)

Koan Bremner's view on life as a database and data warehouse professional / addict and non-genetic woman

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Five numbers, an array of statistics, two tests and a landmark day

In a previous post, I spoke about the relief I felt on receiving my new passport; simply getting the "Sex" designator changed from M to F represented a significant emotional breakthrough for me. Yesterday, I felt the enormous pleasure of a similar breakthrough, when I arrived home to find my new driving license. Having set the precedent with my passport, getting my driving license changed should have been straightforward enough; but the combination of things I needed to change (including name, photograph and driver number, which incorporates the gender designation) meant that the only way I could do this in one go (according to the published procedures) would be to send my passport to the appropriate agency (the DVLA) and be without it for up to fourteen working days. For me, this was unacceptable; I'd invested so much emotional energy in getting that passport, I was not entrusting it to the internal mail handling of an enormous Government department. So, many phone calls later, I found an official with a beating heart at the DVLA who agreed that my application was in order, and suggested a route by which the change could be effected without my passport having to be sent. Application posted last Wednesday; new driving license arrived Monday! I, for one, am impressed, grateful... and pleased as punch! :-) On UK driving licenses, the driver number is three groups of characters; the second figure in the second group is the gender designator. 0 or 1 represents male; 5 or 6 represents female. From 0 to 5... boing!

Some days are good; yesterday just got progressively better as the day went on. First, I had an exemplary hour of facial electrolysis, in which my therapist was able to just work flat out for the full hour (I didn't even cough once, and that hasn't happened before), followed by fifteen minutes of genital electrolysis, which I didn't need to pause or cut short (and that's happened just once before). Then, I had a session of speech and language therapy, with extensive laryngograph tests. This statistical analysis showed that my pitch has lifted and my vocal consistency remains very good (i.e. my voice quality is stable across the range); and when I use my "best voice", I am now well inside female parameters (i.e. pitch range, mean, medium and mode fundamental frequencies) on *all* counts! :-) So, now I need to extend the length of time and range of circumstances in which I use that voice. Qualitatively, I knew there had been progress; I listened to some recordings I made some time ago (including the recording I made of the day I told my work colleagues about the changes they would be witnesses to); I can't reproduce that voice now even if I try (not that I would *want* to reproduce it!) I can't even really reproduce the speaking voice I had in December, before beginning speech and language therapy. I knew before yesterday that the tones and inflection patterns I use were already much more characteristically female; this statistical analysis just adds to that confirmation! Boing!

I mentioned in another previous post the whimsical notion of tracking my progress by means of unit tests; well, yesterday I passed two of them in one day. Frankly, that makes me feel... just great!

Yesterday was also of huge significance for all in the UK transgender community. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (which basically enshrines our legal right to live in our "acquired gender") became law on 1 July 2004, but the mechanics of implementing the procedures and forming the bodies required to administer it needed to take place. Initially, "fast track" applicants only can apply (i.e. those who transitioned more than six years previously); although application packs were available from the beginning of this year, yesterday marked the first day that the newly-constituted Gender Recognition Panel sat to consider those applications. Personally, I won't be eligible to submit an application until October (and I'll probably wait to do so until after I've had gender reassignment surgery, which I hope will be early in 2006); but for all of us who have the dubious pleasure of living with gender dysphoria, this is yet another huge step forward towards something to which I believe we all aspire; i.e. fair and equal treatment under the law; no more, but certainly no less.

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