Blogs have always meant different things for different people with many people initially setting up blogs as the confessional public diary in the early boom years of blogging. Since then, they’ve evolved into being about information, debate, hobbies and interests but there remains a role for the confessional. As readers, we become voyeurs, gaining an insight into the intimate moments and thoughts of an individual that we might not otherwise see. I think Belle de Jour’s blog, and subsequent books were successful not because they were about sex (although that helped) but because they gave insights into a type of sex – sex work – that those outside that environment rarely see and understand. Transgender is another phenomenon that those ‘outside’ can not fully appreciate. I include myself in that category of the outsider, not fully appreciating the complexities of issues and realities of day-to-day existence. As time has progressed and I’ve developed friendships with those who would describe themselves as trans, I’ve learnt that broad assumptions and conclusions are pointless. Each is (why are we surprised?) a different individual with different experiences and perspectives.
I’ve met a guy who I thought was stunningly attractive but had a vagina rather than a penis, presenting me with questions about my own sexuality. I’ve met women who continue to live their lives, mapping routes to venues so as to avoid ‘dangerous’ spaces where they might receive abuse or violence because of their more ‘masculine’ appearance. It’s in that context, that the confessional blog can provide us with much needed perspectives and understandings.
I was recently alerted to this blog about Jane, transitioning from male to female. Of course there are a few blogs that explore this experience but this blog is different, firstly for being at the early stages of that process and secondly for there being a blog by Jane’s partner giving another perspective on the same events, developments, hopes, triumphs and set-backs.
Jane’s first post in which she describes buying nail varnish is both funny and moving whilst the discussion of the same events by Jane’s partner were both powerful and moving. When we read Jane’s partners comment: ‘The negative times will come. I’m not ready yet’; the raw realities of life are brought home and we are once again reminded that many of us, are simply those voyeurs looking in, seeking understanding of something we can barely grasp.