I live in Sheffield, in the county of Yorkshire. Sheffield is on the edge of the Peak District, in my opinion one of the most beautiful places in the world. Although the city was made famous by the stripping ex-steelworkers in The Full Monty, it is, contrary to perception in the South of England, a green and pleasant city and the locals are warm, friendly, down-to-earth people. I love living here. I regularly take the bus into town, peruse the shops, have coffee or lunch. I realised I have very few photos of myself in Sheffield, but I need to include a few or my photo album will not be properly representative!
The pictures above and right show me in the Winter Garden, a distinctive local feature. The plants inside are tropical, but the weather outside invariably isn’t, as you can see from the conjunction of palm tree and warm winter coat above. There’s a nice little art gallery adjacent to the Wintergarden, showcasing the metalwork and knife-making that made Sheffield famous (we still have a Master Cutler in the city, who attends graduation ceremonies at the University as a civic dignitary).
Next to the University is Weston Park where the photo below was taken. Sheffield is a city of many parks, and wherever you are in the city, there is likely to be green space nearby.
For many t-girls being out and about means being in a smart frock and out for the evening. Most of my adventures have been in daytime, however, and most of my clothes are quite casual. I guess they’re the sort of clothes I might wear everyday if I was a woman in my line of work.
I love blending in, and just doing everyday things. Each time I board the bus to travel into the city centre there is this wonderful sense that today its OK to be me. Nothing very exciting needs to happen – I might just have a cup of coffee and buy a few groceries (just out of shot in this photo taken in front of the City Hall). Just being able to be myself is such a relief after decades of shame and attempts at self-correction. People are incredibly accepting. Ladies chat to me at the bus stop and in shops, and I feel as though I’m just being treated as one of the girls. They know I’m different, and yet all I feel is that sense of warmth and friendliness that is so characteristic of the people of Sheffield. Its very humbling.