Some say we should never look back, only forwards, and I understand this sentiment. But with it being such an eventful year, how can I not do a quick blog on my memories of 2021?
Covid continued to dominate, of course, and our government started to fall apart as the year progressed. Corruption, inefficiency, lies, and one of the worst by-election results in history will likely see the end of Boris immediately after the May local elections.
'Horray' shout most trans folk, but if the Tories then replace Boris with Truss, things may well get worse before they get better.
At Steph's Place, we have grown immeasurably - with Claire, Julie, Nicola and Paul joining me as co-ed's producing true quality website content
We all have our own little specialities, and our articles and investigations have led to some startling results. We have shown that Karen White was not trans (leading to a 400+ pile on from terfs) who did not like what we said. And more recently, I have suffered a 300+ and over Christmas 200+ dogpile from which, fortunately, I get strength from.
Claire has led most of our investigations, proving that NHS England has never recorded trans patient numbers. She has also proven trans folk are not 'transing the gay away' and that the Care Quality Commission dont "care" about trans adults. Early in the new year, the results of three significant investigations will be published.
Claire took time out to do a phenomenal TEDx talk in Bath, which brought many, including me, to tears. Julie tends to work in the community, often helping out in hospital training sessions, Paul debunks (and keeps me in check), and who can forget the series of blogs that Nicola put together regarding the Helen Webberely tribunal, which as time progressed looked more and more like a kangaroo court.
Let's not forget the many guest contributors on Steph's Place - Freda, Nikki, Maddy, Reina, Murderine, Sophie, Andrea, Michele and Natacha to name just a few.
Could I have imagined so many trans folks and allies making these efforts back in December 2020 - no, certainly not.
Just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of reading the beautiful "Juliette's Poem" which achieved around 2000 video views in a week.
We have seen court victories in the Bell case, concerns over the Cass Review impartiality and more recently, the Women & Equalities Select Committee call out the government regarding GRA reform.
In July Sally Hines founded the Feminist Gender Equality Network (formerly GIN) and within months 1500 members had joined. In early April we see an inaugural conference with the lead speaker being my heroine Julia Serano
For me personally, 2021 will be a year that I will never forget.
In October, I held a celebratory event in Portsmouth Guildhall Square called "Fly the Flag", giving out well over a thousand leaflets supporting GRA reform; my event coincided with a FiLiA (who many see as trans hostile) conference.
On the first day, one lesbian walked out at lunchtime saying she disagreed with their trans views - we have now become good friends.
Better still, I got many messages of support from FiLiA conference attendees - many have followed me on Twitter and often send me email/text or DM messages.
The FiLiA officers may not be so trans-friendly but most certainly a number of those attending the conference were.
Like many trans women, I felt that my gender did not align with my birth sex from a very early age. Girlhood passed me by - as indeed has the vast majority of womanhood. No becoming a bride or being a mum - just pretence of being a man.
My transition has been life-changing, and in the summer, I did something that most trans women can only dream of.
I was included in the bridal party at a pretty big wedding. Walking down the aisle behind a beautiful flower girl, four wonderful, accepting bridesmaids and in front of a stunning bride with her mum.
The sun shone and everyone laughed and smiled.
Does it get better than that?
Nah, not for me, it dont.
And then my speech to around 120 guests that included folks like Glamrou, Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones.
No pressure Steph!
To be honest, I dont remember it - I just 'zoned out', but I know from the comments it went pretty damn well.
Who cared I was trans?
We danced to the early hours, my feet and toes a blistered bloody mess thanks to those strappy sandals, which like most, I kicked off far too late.
Can we do that again in 2022?
Memories ...to live with me forever.
Happy New Year!