Trainspotting

Trains1This page will confirm to any cynic that really, under my frock, I’m just a geeky guy. It consists entirely of photographs of me with forms of public transportation. I wanted to get that warning in now.

The first photo is a selfie taken on the bus. Nothing very special about that…Unless you’re trans. The first time I set out from home to walk to the bus stop was really quite momentous. I was extremely nervous. The neighbours might see me, and worse, I might find them waiting at the bus-stop too. The first time I arrived at the bus-stop nobody was there. I remember paying the driver and climbing the stairs to the top deck. One of my youngest son’s friends was sat opposite the top of the steps and my heart missed a beat. But I think my disguise was good enough! I sat a few rows back. This was the bus I’d usually catch to work. Catching the bus is of course incredibly mundane. But catching the same bus en femme was a huge step for me – a step towards the integration of the separate parts of my fractured self.

Trains2In due course I found the neighbours were occasionally at the bus-stop. Several ladies slightly older than me are regulars. At first I was wary of making them uncomfortable, and kept my distance. But these are good Yorkshire folk, and conversation was unavoidable for long. “The bus is late again…What a lovely day it is today…Doing anything exciting today?…” I’ve been bowled over by how friendly and utterly unperturbed these ladies are despite the fact that they come from a generation that never expected to find men walking the streets dressed as women. One of the many unexpected pleasures of getting out and about!

London is a wonderful city to visit. I’m always glad to come home to the green hills of Yorkshire, but the capital offers plenty to amuse and entertain a visitor. I remember several years ago walking onto the escalators at St Pancras to descend to the Victoria line and feeling a blast of air lifting my skirt. Its weird how such familiar places and actions can be experienced in surprisingly new ways.

Trains3Our European neighbours have wonderful public transport networks. While attending a conference in Italy, I managed to take a train to Milan for a day. There are dangers in Milan, of course: there are shops laden with beautiful things. By virtue of an enormous effort of will, I managed to come away with nothing more than a reasonably inexpensive but extremely well-made sandals, which have worn extremely well.  Milan is a truly stunning city, with stunning architecture. I’d love to return sometime.

Trains5Trains4Downtown San Francisco offers the remarkable cable car system. I managed to get this photo on Powell St, one terminus of a line that runs all the way out to Fishermen’s Wharf. Contrary to many people’s expectations, some cities in the United States have excellent public transport systems. The bus network in Seattle could rival that of many European cities. The Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) provides an extremely effective means of getting about the San Francisco area. Here you can see a photograph taken after disembarking a BART service in Downtown San Francisco after an evening out.

Although rail travel is less widely used in the US than in Europe, the country nevertheless has an extensive network of trains many of which travel significant distances. The picture below shows an Amtrak train that has stopped in Downtown San Diego.

Trains7