Prism & Pen
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Prism & Pen

My Trans/Irish Pride (In the name of Self-Love)

Where I am at, this week of Pride

Last year’s Pride Parade in Cork city, Ireland

Trans woman’s photo used online to spread baseless theory about Texas shooter. Latina Trans woman, one of 22 people this year to be fatally shot in America because of who she was. State lawmakers proposing a record 238 bills that would limit the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans this year alone.

If ever the Pride movement was needed in America, it is surely now.

Opening my trusty Fuchsia colored laptop to check the news is like opening a wound. Updates of a war so far away and inconceivable to me, rattling around in my apartment cum orchidarium, tending to my rather specialist needs the best way I can.

In Ireland, Pride has distanced itself from the National Broadcaster, RTE, over scurrilous transphobic comments made over the radio last week. That’s a significant schism. Apparently all hell boiled over when Liveline, a phone-in radio show, held a week long discussion on Pride. The bilious attitudes of some of the callers, much less those of the presenter, a man whose stock in trade is that of the ultimate ultracrepidarian, made us collectively, suck a lemon.

Mary Pickford, national treasure AND mouthpiece.

So the world is going to shit, is it?

In my everyday life I don’t see it, thanks be to Goddess. I often wonder if this is a good thing. Am I just existing in a void without any social context or is Ireland actually not a bad place to live after all that?

I think it’s the latter. I hope it is.

Therefore, I must tend to my own garden and try to cultivate my own sense of Pride. Something I’ve never possessed in fact. Work on it when the times are tidy so you have something to fall back on if or when the shit hits the fan.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted the public to love me. Funny as, well, whether male or female, I’m something of an acquired taste. It’s like an oyster wanting to be viewed on the same level as a Big Mac. Out I’d go, my inner eye, gaping and hungry as a proffered begging bowl, frantic for the carelessly thrown small change of recognition. Of my basic existence, much less the arbitrary shots of euphoria you can sometimes happen upon. It’s an addiction, pure and simple. And a problem. I’ve been trying to tackle it lately and be my own guidance counsellor. Understanding the root of the problem is the trick, easier said than done. The amount of spiritual and mental arithmetic I’ve had to do over the last three years could fill a few shelves worth of legal ledgers.

Photo credit author

The understanding and introduction of basic, deceptively flimsy, concepts such as “up the ante” and “own it” has done wonders for my flagging spirit. My need for the fleeting validation of complete strangers for my value as a woman and a human being had run amok, made me sloppy. Feminine wiles are not getting your tits out in public. During the week, out for a disquisitive coffee n pastry combo at a local café, me all important in my ripped up Babes in Toyland tee, Lana told me she could see my fresh bust jiggling about beneath my tee like kittens in a sack, sensing they are about to be drowned. She gifted me with a bra on Saturday, my first one. I wanted to provide the world evidence of my transition. Or more trenchantly, myself. Goading the world whilst having a coffee. That is so me. But the one person I need to impress is, of course, myself.

I had a lot of cultural baggage to work through, the hidden seething distastes of my own transphobia. It’s only recently I can wear nail polish, purple as creativity itself, without being self-conscious. When you can enter a restaurant, brimming with that huge sector of Irish society who wolf down carvery dinners, believe in God, and find a pantheon of deities in the local Gaelic Athletic Association, in full make up, nail polish and a figure-hugging pink tee and no-one bats an eye or bucks in revulsion like you thought they would, well it’s easy to see the initial problem was my own.

All along.


I’d been told that people on the fruity side of the spectrum were disgusting and I’d put it in my heart for safekeeping. Such are the vagaries of bad faith. What did I want that Saturday? A skirmish to prove that I was different? For a chair or a comment to be flung at me, as little girls in white dresses gambolled around in ecstasy at their beauty, high from receiving their First Holy Communion? Am I not attractive? Self-harming swipes at myself, the old, enshrined terror of not measuring up. My begging bowl was empty. My ego warped and I felt maladjusted. I’m not as controversial as I think I am. And what does one feel about that?

There are many ways of looking at this.

Perhaps you pass muster as a woman. That you don’t walk around like an egregious error? “Would you like to settle the bill, Madam?”. Christ and his blood and ouns, would I? With bells on, love.

You see? How I crucified myself with assumptions. Just grist for the psychotherapist’s mill.

So, I’m knitting myself a Pride flag on the q.t. this year. I’m not on this journey to blend into the background nor stick out like a chorine’s leg in an afternoon cattle call. I want to be me. I want to accept myself warts and all. I want to be fine whether I’m looked at or not. To ease up on the narcissistic sitcom I’ve written and star in.

I am a Trans woman, hear me speak.

This story is a response to the Prism & Pen writing prompt, My PRIDE Feels Like THIS.



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Fiona Evangeline Leigh

Fiona Evangeline Leigh


An Irish writer, transgender woman and singer currently living in the Republic. Has just completed a memoir A Changeling in Beijing.