Brynn Craffey

Hello again....

Filed By Brynn Craffey | June 13, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: California, gender discrimination, Ireland, Irish Equality Authority, transgender, travel

I haven't had a chance to post here in what seems like ages! The kind editors, however, (thank you!!) have kept my name "on the masthead" in the hope I'd once again surface and be able to contribute.

A number of factors have kept me uncharacteristically silent. Sporadic and unpredictable internet access, for one, as I search for work and set myself up in Southern California after living in Dublin, Ireland, for three-and-a-half years. At the moment, my home internet access consists of my cell-phone serving as modem for my Powerbook, which means I get a no-frills equivalent of fast dial-up access.

Then there's been the challenges associated with the move itself. In the past six years, I've relocated three times cross-country, two times inter-continentally, and half a dozen times from apartment-to-apartment within those far-flung venues. You'd think I'd have the process of moving down pat by now! And I kinda do, but this last move, I forgot--or, more likely, went into denial!--on just how many tiny details you have to keep track of when you move from one country to another.

First, there's the great unloading of possessions: books, magazines, clothes, bedding, a bike, sports equipment, dishes, pots, pans, plants, knick-knacks, posters--all must go! As they are simply too expensive to ship or fly across multiple time-zones. Then you have to cancel utilities, shut down your phone, change your address for all important entities, give notice to your landlord, maybe even find a tenant to take over your apartment. Pack. Clean said apartment. Arrange for transportation for yourself and everything you own to the airport where you've already--months ago, if you're penny-wise!--booked your flight. Oh, and don't forget, transportation from the airport on the other side.

When I first arrived in California in mid-January, I was fighting a very bad bout of bronchitis and healing from surgery I'd had less than a week before I left Ireland. (Trying to take advantage of health coverage I was soon to lose!) Transportation to and from airports with heavy luggage in tow was something I couldn't leave to chance.

When you land in a new country planning to stay, first thing you need to do is set up a temporary, low-cost base from which to search for permanent digs; once you find your permanent home, you have to furnish it (as furnished rentals seem to grow scarcer), set up phone service, buy a car (if it's Southern California), register it, shop for car and health insurance, figure out how to refill medical prescriptions without mortgaging said car if you lack drug coverage, open a bank account, order checks, transfer Euros, close European bank account--all the while, if you're on a limited budget, you also search for a job.

Remember, too, that not all these activities proceed smoothly. My first internet-and-cell-phone-provider in California, for example--the company name begins with an "A" and ends with a "T"--messed up both my cell phone and internet orders so badly and consistently that after spending literally days (overall) on the phone over the space of weeks talking to various customer-service types, I finally cancelled both despite being slapped with a contract cancellation fee of several hundred dollars. That's how much I want to wash my hands of the mega-corporation that had so infuriatingly screwed up my service.

As for work, I've been temping while I look for a permanent job. Temping has its advantages--it allows a person with in-demand skills to travel and readily find work--but pay and stability are rarely among those advantages. Which creates additional stress.

If all this were not enough to exhaust any energy I might devote to keeping up with LGBT news and blogging, there's also been "The Legal Case." I wish I could go into detail, but for now all I can say is that I am taking the preliminary steps to sue my former Irish employer for constructive dismissal on the grounds of gender. After I came out to my supervisor as FtM a year ago, I was subjected to a gradually worsening campaign of bullying and harassment that culminated in me resigning in November 2007. The experience was a nightmare, and something I never want to relive, but relive it I must to the point of documenting what happened for the Irish Equality Authority. So I've been taking care of that business, too, in my "free-time."

So, yeah, I haven't been absent from the pages of Bilerico due to lack of interest. I've just been overwhelmed. But I'm hoping, now that I've gotten my feet more securely on the ground here in Cali--and especially with the exciting prospect of same-sex marriages commencing in a matter of mere days!!--to once again contribute here on a more regular basis.

I've missed you guys!!!

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I suppose this answers, for the record, how Ireland is for transpeople? I've always enjoyed Ireland, knew there was a fairly active T community there, but was never sure how well the country dealt with the T issue.

It is good to see you back.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | June 13, 2008 4:28 PM

Hey, Polar, I wouldn't necessarily use what happened to me as an example of how all Irish people deal with trans folks. True, my company didn't deal well. On the other hand, I was able to call upon the Irish Equality Authority who was very supportive and interested in enforcing Ireland's strong legislation that outlaws discrimination in employment or the delivery of goods and services on the basis of being trans--legislation most of the US doesn't yet have.

Like everywhere, Irish society is a mixed bag. One great thing: as the Catholic church loses its grip there, the country seems to be moving in a direction of greater equality for LGBT people.

(Oh, and thanks for the "welcome back"!)

Brynn, it is so good to have you back in action! We missed you!

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | June 13, 2008 6:54 PM

Thanks, Waymon! Me, too.

Thanks for the head-up, Bryan. My wife and I have considered retiring to Ireland - about 17 years away. (She was born there; I just love the place). But, since I'm T, if it isn't T friendly, that wouldn't work. I'd noted the progress they were making; maybe by that time, it'll be a good place to be.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 13, 2008 11:10 PM

Brynn, I know what it is like to uproot and downsize twice in a five year span so what you have been going through (plus FtM) is substantial. Make sure you take good care of your health and I'll look forward to what you have to say.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 14, 2008 2:26 AM

Olla, Brynn

We've missed you, too, Brynn. Good luck with the search for a permanent job. And good luck with the lawsuit.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | June 14, 2008 6:04 PM

Thanks, all! It's great to be back.

Glad to see you back on the blog, Brynn! We were getting worried about you. You're an important part of the Project.