The English Trans-ethnic Council (ETEC) has protested vociferously to the Observer over the apology printed in today's Observer against supposed insults to the Trans-sexual community. We make no apology for reprinting here Tracy Dugg's moving account of the difficulties faced by the Trans-ethnic community.
"As a kid when the Black and White minstrels came on TV I used to cry. And whenever Bob Marley came on the wireless, my hips started swaying all by themselves. It was only when I was twelve that I realised that I was a black girl trapped in a white girl's body. At school I would hang around with black girls and after school go home with them and assist as they applied hair-straightener to their beautiful woolly heads, looking in disgust at my own straight shiny blond locks. When I was fifteen I got a recipe for using walnut juice to turn my skin dark, and stole money from my mum's purse to buy 2kg of walnut pieces from the market, but after boiling it all up and swabbing it all over I read the recipe again and it said 'walnut shells'. later, I started using proper make-up and wigs, wore the right street-clothes and even had my ear-lobes strengthened to take the ear-rings, but none of this hid the fact that when I got home at night and took it all off, I was still a white woman.
The NHS won't pay for white-to-black ethnic changing; the alternative is a Swiss clinic, where the treatment costs £30,000, or £40,000 if you want an authentic 'booty' sculpted as well. I was then jobless, having been dismissed from Newham Council for putting my ethnic origin as Black-Caribbean on my application form. A helpful Bengali grandmother who looked a bit like Frank Bough slipped a card into my hand one day with an address on. Until then I thought I was alone - but when I gathered the courage to go there, I was swamped in love from other Trans-ethnics, brothers and sisters I never knew existed. I quickly learned the code - I was a W2BW; and we hung in a group with B2WW and W2BM . Strangely, we never met any B2WM, though there are lots of white guys wanting to be Asian. Generally they need breast reductions.
Then I met Andy. Andy was a strapping six-foot lad from Bermondsey with a good job on the highways with Conways but was desperately unhappy. He realised he was actually a small Asian woman trapped in a Guardsman's body - not only Trans-ethnic but Trans-sexual. Looking at his size 12 feet used to make him cry. His bedroom wall was covered in pictures of Thai girls, thin as candles, not one over five feet tall, and all with tiny delicate feet. It must have been a particular kind of hell to suffer those torments of identity. I found Andy (or Mia, as he likes to be called) on the verge of amputating his trouser-equipment with an Alligator site-saw in remorse at watching a porn DVD he had made. Many from the Trans-community rely on porn income to fund their operations. Well, out of comfort really we then got together and have been together ever since - on the surface a well-matched couple to the other families in our Rotherhithe street, but only with the front door locked when we get the make-up boxes and special clothes out can we really get close to being who we really are."