A reader asked an unexpected question:

Is the first-person character in my stories fictional?

No, she is not. She is me, represented as authentically as is humanly possible.

The persons and events in my stories are real. Nothing has been changed, not even names where they are sufficiently generic (e.g., ‘Dave’, ‘Jim’, &c) and removed in time or place; where necessary to preserve anonymity, I resort to initials (e.g., ‘RJ’, ‘Dr. S’, ‘Em’).

The purpose of these stories is to tell my truth. I write them for myself, and in the hope that others find them interesting, illuminating, maybe helpful. For trans people, I feel it important that we share our stories. What we do is hard, and it is important for us to know that we are not alone.

For cis readers, yes I sincerely hope you will read these stories too. I think many of you have little concept of who we are, what we go through, and how the things you might not consider, or might consider unimportant, affect us — sometimes profoundly. Again, what we do is hard, and your inquiring gaze or casual comment can sometimes make our lives harder, in ways you probably don’t anticipate or realise. Perhaps we can get to know each other a little. Perhaps you’ll have the chance to make a trans person’s life a little easier.

I am always happy to correspond with readers, so long as you are respectful of me and other trans people, and so long as you respect reasonable boundaries. Inquiries that are prying, sexual, hateful, or otherwise inappropriate are not welcome.

So, yes, the stories and persons are real; the names are real. Allison is my real name.

If you are tempted to try to find out more about me than I offer here and in my writing, I would ask that you do not. Firstly, why would you seek to disrupt my life, to bring harm to me or those close to me? Secondly, I do not share traceable information, not even what continent I am on. If I’m on a continent. Maybe I’m on a boat.

You need to know this:

It is unsafe to be trans. We are very vulnerable. We get hurt. A thoughtless word from another can, quite literally, cost us our peace, our job, our home, our life. Please accept and appreciate this in your dealings with me and any other trans person you may encounter. We depend on your empathy and compassion for our safety. This is not as it should be; this is simply how it is.

So, on that delightful and cheery note — enjoy the stories! — they are not all so heavy, and some are even uplifting; one such is this (very) short story about how I got my name, another is this poem about my trans body — good places to start if you’re new to my words. Find out what it’s like to be a trans woman, learn about gender transition, find out why my mother raised me as a girl. For something grittier and more in-depth, read about my experience during the Trans Dark Ages. For something truly awful that happened to me, read What He Did to Her. I even write about my past sex life and my present love life.

Follow me on Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon. Leave me comments. Talk to me. I’m pretty open to most questions, and I look forward to hearing from you.

❤ Allison

I make a spare living doing this. You can support my work and get draft previews and my frequent ‘Letters Home’ for less than the cost of a coffee.

Journalist & essayist. Reporting from Cairo.