Experiences of a Working Girl
(of the very best type)



Issue 2
May 1998

When Alice Purnell asked me to write something for the new journal I was both flattered and immediately at a loss what to write. However, I think I would like to start by congratulating Alice on having the courage to start all over again following such a terrible experience with the trustees of the Gender Trust. We are supposed to be a caring group of people with a common interest in helping one another rather then trying to score points and stabbing each other in the back. We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable and tireless person to be our leader and I would like to wish her every success and offer my support in whatever small way I am able.

And now to a short article which I will entitle 'Experiences of a Working Girl' (of the very best type)

My idea behind thts article is to try to give some guidance and confidence to the many TS people who I know have problems with getting and keeping jobs. I have just passed my sixtieth birthday in October - 60 years young, that is. I continue to keep extremely busy; certainly no less so than prior to my gender harmonisation with surgery now two years distant. I am still extremely happily married and I continue to operate in the same line of business that I did previous to my "cut-off date" (apologies to Napewastewin for using her superb terminology. I have many ideas and plans for future business. Now I can hear you saying 'What is this business that keeps Selina so occupied?' Well, it is, I admit unusual and hardly something that just anyone could do. Having originally been a time-served engineer/student apprentice, I worked in the tooling side of heavy industry on Tyneside until I was approximately 39 years old. Alongside this I had a thriving spare time business buying and selling vintage Rolls Royce and Bentley cars.

I became fascinated with mechanical music in the early 1960's when a good friend of mine acquired a Pianola piano to replace the old family piano destroyed in a flood. When, in 1974, I tired of industry I turned my hobbies into a business and for some years bought, sold and restored both vintage cars and mechanical music. By degrees mechanical music became my prime business dealing mainly in reproducing pianos and orchestrions but also in continental dance organs, barrel pianos etc., both in UK and overseas. At this time I am busy in Switzerland for a dealer whom I have known for over twenty years.

So much for a potted history of Selina's business. Now, how is this relevant to other TS people? Well, only to show that it is quite possible to continue with the same line of business following "The Change" and to retain business friends and contacts. I really have not experienced a single problem and, when I tell people, they are almost invariably extremely nice and understanding. If anything, business has improved. However, really I am so busy that I hardly give a thought to my gender.

I am convinced that for TS people it is best if they can arrange to be self-employed and therefore not subject to the whims of employers. There is an infinite range of small business ventures that can be operated by anyone with reasonable intelligence and skill provided that they are not afraid of hard work. Do not be afraid to 'Have a Go'. Work so hard that your gender is no longer your preoccupation in life. Above all be confident. You are very special people with the advantage of seeing life from both sides. Good Luck!

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