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Saturday, January 28, 2012

An embarrassing coming out and a call for writers

So finally a coming out post to the blogosphere.
Going back to my biographical stuff, about '94 after my closest friends suicide I became rather more geographically diffuse. A couple of years later I started the enterprise which has been my principal focus to the present. It didn't start particularly well : my long term partner went in to clinical depression, which really screwed up both of us. But, partly with the help of the business involvement, I got through the consequent breakup and slowly but surely managed to get myself back together for some years before the events described in this blog.
The place I'd set up has always been something of a strange partner in itself. From the initial few weeks, about 14 years ago now, it was clear that it was actually more of an institution than a business. It's never made much money, because I've never really pushed that until recently. It's a community thing, though the community is very international. It's a cultural thing, though when I hear the word generally I reach for my....It's an english language zone in a city where that's perhaps needed more than most. It's a meeting place for strangers, a travellers rest, a standard stop on the grand tour, and my own living room. And, less grandiloquently, it's a second hand shop of sorts,that does weekly meals, has different groups meeting in it and puts on music, readings etc etc
In itself, that's not so embarrassing. It's more that if you run something that's sometimes a sort of a salon, there really is only one place to do it if you're trans. A place where the LGBT population is about 1 in 5. The city where trans history centres itself. And to do it and suddenly turn trans, that's embarrassing.
There are a couple of links below. They're not entirely accurate,but close enough. There's also a short fiction competition being run by someone else, but that's linked to here, which any reasonably unpublished writers out there might be interested in.
We, meaning my expanded corporate self, are 'utterly strange and utterly charming', a place where 'you can relax, sit and share your life with Sophie'. For BBC / Lonely Planet we're the worlds sixth greatest bookshop and allegedly number 600 and something on the 1,000 places in the world you should visit. We're 'Another Country' in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
Here's my last interview and this is an NPR story that has absolutely no detail right but actually has a good perspective on the spirit of the place ( and we actually are the largest physical s/hand sf&f bookshop in europe, along with our general stock ).
And for relatively unpublished writers, here's the competition.
The website and blog are in process of change now that my family are all aware of my situation. If you're an avid viewer of 'before' photos there's plenty there. And if you'd like to see more of the place, this is a music video shot here a few weeks ago.
Hopefully people can see now that one of the most embarrassing things is that if I'd been a cross dresser, a gender performer, or a genderqueer artist, I'd have actually been rather more accepted and probably significantly better off than I am...

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