From trains to trans issues

train shed door
The burglars couldn’t break the lock, so they destroyed the door in their desperation to steal something.

Over the last two weeks, I have been the victim of two burglaries and have also seen first-hand the levels to which some people are prepared to sink in order to steal from decent members of society. I have also been witness to some people going above and beyond the levels of basic decency in order to make things right for those who have been wronged.

I want to say thank you to that latter group; their generosity has been amazing.

Jennifer‘s model railway, which she spent over a year building by hand, was destroyed by vandals. She is in the process of rebuilding it but it is going to take a long time to get back to full working order. I’ve seen her run a train around it and it barely works on some parts of the track, because the vandals damaged the track alignment in their desperation to steal something, anything, from the layout (they ripped out what was basically a hand-built Airfix model in the end, even though it has no resale value).

Jennifer lost over 140 models, both locomotives and wagons, during the two burglaries. We have since recovered a substantial portion of the lost stock because someone bought them, then found out they were stolen via an Internet search and decided to hand them in to the Police. Almost all of the recovered models are damaged (some immensely, others managing to come away with only a little scratch here and there)  but at least they are back with their rightful owner.

The model railway community has been amazing throughout this trying time (and it has been incredibly trying). Not only have community members offered to help rebuild the model railway but they have also offered replacement locomotives and wagons; and even tried to organise a “whip-round” to replace the stolen items (Jennifer asked them not to do that. It just didn’t feel right even before we learned that most of the models had been handed in to the Police).

So I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and so amazing. It really does warm the heart to know that there are so many decent people out there.

As for the burglars, they will get what’s coming to them in due course; I have no doubt about that.

Today I have spent a lot of my time researching the many and varied problems faced by transsexual people in the UK. It’s a horrible task but it’s also a necessary one because I’m in the process of writing a policy proposal on ways to improve the lives of trans people in the UK. I want to be able to put everything down in one document, and that means going through a lot of horrible first-person accounts of wrongdoing.

We have come a long way in the last ten years but there is a lot more still to be done. The legislation we have to protect transgendered people has a lot of holes in it; some which were there from the start and others that were added later on in what I can only describe as a cruel display of vindictiveness and spite.

I am under no delusions about how effective this policy document will be. I don’t expect it to change the world overnight. I do hope it will lead to better understanding of the problems at hand, however. There are lots of people out there who want to be trans allies but who don’t understand the problems enough to not make them worse even when they are trying to help. I hope that at the very least this document will address the problem of the ill-educated ally. That will be a victory worth celebrating.

Further to that, I’m hoping that highlighting the various issues we face on a daily basis (and providing a list of ways those issues can be solved) will lead to genuine change. This will take time, and a lot of effort from a lot of people, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be worth it. For now though, I’ll work on getting the document finished. It’s going to be a long one.

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