The launch date of Painted Ladies – a Jasmine Frame story is now just three weeks away and it’s already on sale as an e-book. I’ve been delighted to see a number of reviews already – all supportive. I’ve got the posters, the postcards and the bookmarks so we’re all ready for the big event. Painted Ladies is really coming out.
Of course, “coming out” means something different to a transgendered person like Jasmine Frame. It’s the moment when you reveal all to family, friends and colleagues. At the start of Painted Ladies, Jasmine has already gone through that; she has, to use one of the technical terms of gender reassignment, “begun transition”. She is living as a woman. As with announcing you are gay, coming out as transgendered is a heart-wrending process. You never know how the other person will react. Many transgendered people never let it out. They bottle it up inside themselves for years, sometimes a whole lifetime. Some of the consequences of coming out play a part in the story told in Painted Ladies and the sequels.
But telling people you know is only one aspect of coming out as transgendered. For a gay person, that announcement is the peak. Once told it is over. There may be important consequences but yoiu can still walk down the street without passersby pointing at you (in most cases anyway). For a transgendered person there is another “coming out” which often happens before relatives and acquaintances find out. It is that first, tentative step beyond the front door; the going out in public as the person one feels one should be. Some never make that step, some pretend that they never want to. They remain as closet TVs never daring to test their alternative personae in public, although today it is possible to at least have a virtual existence outside one’s own four walls.
Many transgendered people do take that step, fearful perhaps of the responses they may engender. There is always apprehension that an observer may “read” the transgendered person and cause a fuss. It rarely happens of course. Out in public most people just want to go about their own business and are not concerned with what another person looks like. There are situations however where being read can have repercussions.
Jasmine faces this fear everyday and there are occasions in Painted Ladies where she has to stand up to it. She has to because it is her life – she solves crimes, hunts killers and seeks evidence for a living. As a transsexual detective preparing for gender reassignment she has to learn to cope with all situations or plan her life so she does not get into them.
Jasmine is at one end of the spectrum of transgenderism. She is convinced she is female and is planning to do all she can to achieve the goal of being as feminine as she can be. At the other end of the continuum is the person who is happy to pull on a skirt for a bit of a lark. Is it a continuous spectrum or is there a break between tranvestite and transsexual? I’m happy to argue both sides. I’m thinking principally of male-to-female trangendered people but the same arguments may apply to f-to-m transsexuals. Nevertheless wherever someone falls on the line their behaviour is governed by personality. Some transsexuals are uninterested in appearance and may adopt a unisex style of dress. Others may wish to flaunt their gender identity by adopting extremely feminine styles of dress and make-up. Where Jasmine stands in this will become apparent by reading Painted Ladies and the sequels.
To see reviews of Painted Ladies go to:
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