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TRANS-ACADEMIC  1999

TRANS-ACADEMIC 1999

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Subject:

Britain's Transsexual Action Organisation

From:

"Stephen Whittle" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Stephen Whittle

Date:

Tue, 1 Jun 1999 12:21:10 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (126 lines)

{please note - I'm having to work very hard at remembering the 
following - it all blurs a little, and please excuse the shorthand 
ts/tv descriptors}

I was involved with TAO in the UK, for a short time in around 
1974/75.

TAO/GB [I'll distinguish it by calling it TAO/GB]  at that time was a 
very small and shortlived organisation - though organisation seems a 
somewhat over-blown description.

I can't remember how, but I discovered Brooklyn (ftm) and Leila (mtf) 
who appeared to be running TAO. They lived together [they were 
haveing a relationship at that time] in a bedsit in Birmingham and I 
went to stay a couple of times. They greatly influenced my 'trans' 
politics (and have done so to this day). I eventually lost touch with 
them around 1976, but discovered shortly after that Brooklyn had 
changed his name to Lou.

{as a sideline I met Leyla again in 1990, when I started my part time 
Master's Course at Edgehill College, Ormskirk, when a person called 
Trevor introduced themselves as 'having been Leyla'. Trevor didn't 
stay on the course for very long, however he did say he was running a 
small antigues shop on Bond Street in Liverpool. He met a woman 
(originally from Goa) on the course, and I heard that they had got 
married.}

When I originally met Brooklyn and Leyla, TAO/GB consisted of some 
headed paper designed by Brooklyn and a clear anarcho-transformative, 
transsexual-seperatist agenda - for example we (the three of us) went 
to protest at the National Front March that was taking place one 
weekend through Birmingham. 

At around the same time as all this was happening, I was leaving the 
radical-seperatist lesbian collective I had been involved with in 
Manchester, and was involved with setting up the Manchester TV/TS 
group which met in Stan's bedsit in Camp Street in Salford. It was 
mixed tv/ts. 
Also at around the same time 'Pat' set up the London tv/ts group that 
met in her bedsit (note we were all broke and we all lived in grotty 
1970's bedsits - of the sort immortalised in the film 'Room at the 
Top') which was just off the Archway in London.

Sometime in late 1975 (and I'm not sure how this came about, at all) 
there was a meeting/party held in Leeds in Carol's bedsit. Carol had 
become involved with the Leeds TV/TS group which was run by John/June 
Willmot - a tv who died in the late 1980s, who lived with his partner 
Audrey - a ts. 

Carol (and company), who had already produced a couple of magazines 
(which I just wish I could get hold of copies of) -wanted to do 
something more radical than was happening in the tv/ts groups - and 
so TAO became the obvious vehicle. 

It didn't however really last - Brooklyn and Leyla went back to 
Birmingham and disappeared. Carol met Paul at the party and they 
became lovers and escaped to the sunshine of the south coast for a 
while. Then it appears they separated, I've heard nothing of Carol, 
but had a weird phone call from Paul in 1990 when someone had sent 
him some stuff from the FTM network (that was just after we set it 
up) - and he demanded that no-one ever contact him again.

At the Leeds party I met Pat who ran the London group and we had a 
relationship for about 18 months - she moved up to Manchester with 
me, the London TV/TS group went off and became a little more 
organised with their centre at French Place. In the meantime the 
Manchester tv/ts group moved into St Peter's chaplaincy at the 
university and we were quite together for some time. During 1976/77 
we worked with other groups to set up the Manchester Gay Switchboard 
(on which there still is a tv/ts night).

Also at the party was Nick (ftm), from Manchester, - and we joined 
the Beaumont Society - which was for straight tv's. In late 76 we 
went to the Beaumont Society dinner in London - where we met June 
Willmott and Audrey (see above) from the Leeds tv/ts group. At the 
dinner - I 'copped' off with Alice - a ts who went on to become the 
Beaumont Societies president and I went on to move to Sussex to be 
near her, and got very involved in putting together the Beaumont 
Society magazine. As for Nick - well thats another story which I 
won't bring up unless the other person on this list who was involved 
chooses to do so.

>From this involvement with the Beaumont Society we were to become 
involved, in 1979, with the Judy Couzins and the creation of SHAFT 
(the self-help association for transsexuals) which was the primary 
'transsexual' group - from which all else such as the Gender Trust, 
Gems, the FTM network and Press For Change have grown. 

However it is worth noting that transsexual seperatism started with 
TAO/GB - really to distinguish our issues and our needs - and through 
the 1970s those were about getting access to hormones and surgery, 
and avoiding aversion therapy and the locked ward. It was NOT about 
condemining tv's at all - in fact there was real close co-operation 
for some time. but it was about seperate issues.

As for TAO/GB - well we had one night of glorious partying and 
radical sexual relationships in Leeds in autumn 1975. And well - that 
was probably it!







Stephen 

*********************************************************************
Stephen Whittle                         Tel: 0161 247 6444 (work)
Senior Lecturer in Law                  Tel: 0161 432 1915 (home)
The School of Law                       Fax: 0161 247 6309 (work)
Manchester Metro University             Fax: 0161 432 8454 (home)
Hathersage Rd                           
Manchester M13 0JA
United Kingdom

work email: [log in to unmask]
home email: [log in to unmask]
**********************************************************************
Celebrating and affirming insurgent intellectual cultural practice 
.... an invitation to enter a space of changing thought, the open 
mind that is the heartbeat of cultural revolution (b.hooks, 1994)
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