"Close to the Wind"

An autobiography of Dr. Mike Haslam

Book review by Alice Purnell.


Issue 36
Winter 2006

Dr Haslam worked for 35 years in the NHS, treating a wide range of patients, as a psychiatrist, including those with TV, TG and TS issues. He has published several learned works, but like Oscar Wilde was sent to prison for 18 months for sexual impropriety, which he denies. He is retired now, and his time banged up has afforded him the chance to write this memoir. He is candid about his alter ego Victoria and in Chapter 15 and his involvement with study on the topic and as a person who also "led a double life" with a second identity as Victoria.

I always liked Michael, but interestingly found Victoria to seem more relaxed and amusing.

As you may imagine being trans or gay in the professions was not easy, it still gets into the papers, though the gynaecologist whom transitioned in 2002 had not one concern raised by her patients. Her colleagues were in a real state about it, so it seems society has moved on faster than the profession of Medicine. The Professions are filled with people who are very uptight about professionalism, so if being trans or gay could be seen in the light of being unprofessional that practitioner was debarred or ridiculed or hounded. I still believe there is a lot of transphobia and homophobia in the professions, but I digress.

Mike's book is a personal statement, a vindication, an overview of psychiatry through the years. It says a lot about survival, against the odds and him and for his partner Shirley over their 50 plus years together. Mike remains intact, a Christian, a keen croquet player. He survived the time in prison and the dishonour of being an ex-con. He includes some poems by fellow inmates.

His book is a retrospective view of a life, but it is not over and clearly he still has those who are his friends.

For those who know him or who are interested in psychology or psychiatry, this book makes a good read.

Close to the Wind (Paperback)
by Michael Trevor Haslam
200 pages
Publisher: Memoir Club; 1st Edition edition (17 Jul 2006)
ISBN-10: 1841041432
ISBN-13: 978-1841041438

Web page copyright GENDYS Network. Text copyright of the author. Last amended 14.07.09