Gender Recognition Act (GRA) Reform

September the 22nd was a busy day for the Government with a lot of noise being made about Covid19.  So you would have been forgiven if you missed the Minister for Women and Equalities (Liz Truss) announcement in the House of Commons give the Governments response to the 2017 GRA consultation.  No surprises in the announcement, given the recent Tory press ‘leaks’, that a proper and full reform of the GRA has been effectively kicked into the long grass.  There were however some positives to come out of the announcement and indeed relief that the Government was still generally supportive of the transgender population.

What were the positives?

There was recognition that the overall GRA process was overly bureaucratic and that it needed to be kinder and more straightforward, the Government is also committing to placing the whole process on-line.

There was a recognition that the process was overly expensive and the Government is committing to reduce the current fee of £140.00 to a nominal amount.  However this fails to recognise the costs associated with the gathering of acceptable evidence.

There is a commitment by the Government to continue the support of the transgender population through the Equality Act 2010.

Finally the Government has committed to opening at least three new Gender Clinics (GIC’s) in this current year.  It does remain to be seen if Covid19 and the impending 2nd wave of infections will have a negative impact on this commitment. Of course it’s also not clear which year we are talking about, calendar or Government/NHS/Financial.

While the Government has not caved into the anti-trans rhetoric from the media and other anti-trans forces, it hasn’t reformed the GRA in the way many in the transgender population wanted i.e. by de-medicalising the process and the introduction of a legal self-declaration (cf: Deed Poll). Regarding the reforms identified such as the introduction of a simpler online based process, the devil will be in the detail, and we don’t as yet have sight of the detail.

For those interested in reading the actual statement made in the House of Commons by Liz Truss, here is the Internet link:

Here is a link that will take you to the Government publications website where you can download the full analysis of the 2017 GRA consultation.  It does make for interesting reading though, like me, you will probably dip and delve rather than read it cover to cover (nearly 8 MB of PDF):

Petra Wenham

October Zoom Meeting


I have just had a wonderful three days and it would be easy to forget we are all still in a precarious position (apart from the need to wear a mask from time to time!). On Friday, I along with Beccie, Theresa and Lorraine, enjoyed a truly great day out at Bressingham Gardens in beautiful October sunshine. Post to follow from Theresa. Over the weekend, Venetia and I travelled first to Stretham and then to Sussex to catch up with our family before we are all put into complete lock down again. I wonder what Christmas will look like this year? Probably rectangular on a computer screen as we communicate through cyberspace with our loved ones!

The Zoom Crowd

Talking of zooming, Beccie was really looking forward to the Hallowe’en Spooky night on Saturday 17th October. It was her chance to be a Dracula bride and go to town on the makeup.  There would have been a prize for the best and most gory outfit. I look forward to seeing some of you on Saturday. I must apologise for appearing to be asleep in the picture Beccie posted of our last zoom meeting. It has nothing to do with the fact that Beccie was speaking – just a blink caught on camera! Lets try and make the meeting interesting by presenting yourself in sometime Hallowe’en.  A pointed hat, some gruesome fangs, spider makeup or all 3!

Each time I write a post I try to be upbeat and positive but our return to St George’s Hall sees to move further and further away. However, I shall be booking the hall for the third Saturday of every month in 2021 in the hope that, as soon as we are able to return, we have a venue to go to. I have decided not to think about the themes for 2021 until such time as we know firm dates. But rest assured, our first meeting after lockdown will be special. We’ll glam up, splash the cash and have a ball.

We are now heading into winter and I am mindful that this can be a difficult time for some people at the best of times, but even more so now. If you need a phone chat or to meet up (abiding by the covid rules in place at the time) remember we already have volunteers in place. Contact us through the website and we will put you in touch.

Love and best wishes to you all,


Escape from the Country – Part 3

Oasis winner 2020

I wake up with a start, ‘what’s happened’ I say, ‘don’t be alarmed sweetie, we are taking good care of you; you’ve had a very long sleep, that’s all. It’s such a shame you missed the summer’. ‘What!’ I exclaim. ‘Yes, it’s October and you’ve been asleep since the March, you fainted at the Oasis meeting. Don’t you remember? Just after you won the parade’. Now that makes sense, I always win the parade, this time wearing my little green dress, with white polka dots and an orange petticoat. The nurse went on, ‘it was such a fab summer, beautifully hot, England won the football, we won so many golds in the Olympics, Trump was impeached and is now in St Quentin, Putin has come out as gay, JK Rawlings has admitted that she is a silly sausage, GRA reform was passed by Parliament, and of course there was the military coup, that replaced silly old Bozza, with Major Captain Sir Tom Moore. Everyone is so much happier now’. ‘What! ` is all I could blither, ‘where am I?’. ‘In the Suffolk Hospital, for respectable ladies of a certain age’. I just can’t take it all in; protesting I say ‘But but I’m in the wrong place’. ‘No you’re not Lilly, you are respectable! Oh by the way, whilst you were asleep, we fixed you down there’. My head was spinning, ‘what about the virus? ‘I ask, `What virus? ` came the reply……..

What is the nature of time? Is it a linear entity ticking away with a regular beat or does it stretch out and squeeze up as events dictate?

Well apparently E=MC2, so that clears up that mystery, thanks Albert. Regardless of the conundrum of time, it does seem amazing that I’m still in France and despite my nice dream, the virus lives on, it’s not so much lockdown but locked in! Life is in stasis yet still the days of week just tick on by, Monday housework, Wednesday shopping and that tradition French favourite, les fish and les chips (yes they really are gender neutral) on Friday. Pickled onions, comment ça s’appelle en français?

So the question most people ask is how are Mum and Lilly getting along? Mum has been brilliant and really likes what I’m wearing and the way I dress. Fortunately, there has been no ‘you’re not going out dressed like that young lady! But similar to most people who have never questioned their gender, or gender identity full stop, Mum doesn’t really get it. Thus far she tolerates this’ whim’ of mine.

Mum told me that she hasn’t ever yearned for a daughter, but in her hour of need, she doesn’t mind me doing the girly things, you know, popping on the rubber gloves (sometimes pink, sometimes blue, occasionally one of each, I like to subvert the gender rules) and sticking my hands down on loo. Like a little Cinders, I’ve done the cooking, washing and cleaning since I’ve been here, like a good daughter would, which I’ve done with love. But, will I ever make it to the ‘Covid Is Over Ball?

As I realised some time ago; Mum now has discovered that Lilly is an unstoppable force. I guess you could call it fait accompli.

How about you Lilly, how are you? Well merci beaucoups thanks for asking. I’m bona darlings. Naturally I miss home terribly, especially as home contains my Lesley, my most amazing wife and life partner.

The hot summer has been brilliant, allowing me to pad around barefoot, wearing the shortest of shorts and a vest top, with my toe nails a pretty peach colour and showing off my gold brown legs. It been fun to experience ‘everyday Lilly’, I could really get use to this.

We remain very serious ‘lockdowners’, only really going out to do the weekly shop and making hospital visits. ‘It’ is still lurking out there and we are still not keen to meet ‘it’. Naturally we are armed to the teeth with masks and sanitiser. Though on several occasions, ‘locked in’ has got to me, and I have broken all my rules and escaped to make a full frontal attack on French clothes shops!

I have found Gemo, the French Primark full of beautiful schmutter, oh what joy. Shares in Primark plummeted at the news of my defection.

At the beginning of the summer, I bought my bijou cream and gold bikini from Gemo, and have been able to wear it frequently in the pool. Some very tasteful bikini shots are available in return for a 50 Franc postal order made out to Mme Newton. Whilst trolling around the shops, I received lots of Madames, which of course would have been Mademoiselle if I’d not been wearing my wedding and engagement rings. I was also very happy with my voice, so don’t be surprised to find me speaking French or affecting a French accent. A poser? Moi! As I’m sure you know by now, wearing a mask plays havoc with your makeup! But oh what fun! A small price to pay.

So what’s the future? Well the next three months I shall remain in France, caring for Mum and then at the beginning of December, we shall drive up to Suffolk and get ready for a lockdown Christmas and New Year, now that is something to really look forward to! Hopefully I will see you all very soon. Blessed are the vaccine makers.




Oasis Enchanted Journey

December calendar looking a bit empty this year! Every fancied an enchanted journey of light?

Your journey will begin in the main auditorium, an all new indoor Wonderland Trail: a maze of engines, fairy-tale characters and an immersive experience of light and sound including one of the UK’s biggest kinetic light displays. Wander through an enchanted trail partitioned by magical steam engines and marvel at the vast decorations covering each corner of the building!

Interested? Your journey continues as you venture outside to a 4 acre Lantern Light Extravaganzaa beautifulbreath-taking festival of luminous sculptures, from a fantasy forest of jungle animals to the wilds of the North Pole. Let it snow!

No it’s not Theresa’s back garden!  Thursford are holding the Enchanted Journey of Light as a one-off event for 2020, after sadly having to postpone the Christmas Spectacular until 2021 due to Covid-19.

The plan is to visit this event on Friday 4th December for a booked slot of 4.45pm. The tickets cost £15. Beware tickets are selling fast. If your interested in joining her you will need to book a slot on that evening(click on this link).  slots can be booked every 5 minutes.  Please observe the ‘rule of six‘.  I’m sure there may be other groups of Oasis ladies who might happen to meet (socially distanced) during the evening at the Garden Pavilion café!

If you are considering joining her on this evening please complete the on-line interest form and get booking.

October Book Worm

The Book Worm has new spectacles!

Now the nights are drawing in it’s an even better time to put your feet up and start reading.  Do make sure that you have adequate lighting though.  I’ve just got new spectacles which are helping.  There is Macular Degeneration in my family so I am keen to have my eyes checked out at regular intervals.

The Book Worm has as always been busy through the summer. At the Library’s recommendation I read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. It is her autobiographical story of walking the South West Coast Path after she has some catastrophic life changes. (Her husband has been diagnosed with a degenerative disease and they have lost their home of 30 years.)  Raynor and husband Moth  have only the barest funds to live on so where possible they `wild camp’ and walk almost the whole distance. Those who know the area will the story particularly interesting as well as admiring the grit of human endurance.

I also read Believe Me, Eddie Izzard’s autobiography. He is an amazing talented person but like many comedians likes using a lot of words. I felt a little let down: “All sound and fury signifying nothing” as the Bard once wrote (I think!). Sorry Eddie.

I’ve discovered Lisa Jewel, her book The House We Grew Up In had many a twist and turn. Family life but, thank goodness, not as I knew it! Suicide, hoarding and dark secrets fortunately almost all resolved . I’ll be borrowing Lisa again.

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali was a fascinating  read spanning the life of a young women born in Iran (formally Persia of course) before the Shah was deposed, through  the advent of Ayatollah Homeni,  lost love, her flight to university in the USA and subsequent  life. A tale of a different culture, misunderstandings, food and love in many forms!

I’ve just finished a book called The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek  by Kim Michele Richardson. Did you know there is a recessive gene which makes people blue? Yes really, it’s called Methemoglobinemia.  Although the book is fiction isolated Troublesome Creek is a real place in Kentucky. Think Coal Miners Daughter! Cussy (nickname Bluet)  and her family have the blue gene which as far as the locals think, makes her `coloured’ and this in the 1930s before discrimination laws came into force. There is a drug that `cures’ the blue but it has many adverse affects.

Bluet has managed to secure the job of Book Woman taking  books (all donated by more affluent areas) and old magazines by mule to dirt poor  folk living up in the mountains (I suppose we would call them Hillbillies but they were/are extremely proud).  Her father knows he is dying and forces her to (disastrously) marry as he thinks she will be protected when he passes but it’s simply awful. Husband dies during giving her an awful beating.

Slowly Bluet builds a new life and we meet more of the mountain folk, learn of their love of and delight in the written word.

The real Book Women were astonishingly brave trekking solo in all weather to take reading matter to their `patrons’ and small schools. How folks loved those books tattered and second hand though they were.

The book worm family never went into Kentucky but did visit the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and parts of Georgia so the description of the trails really resonated with me.

A most amazing read!


September Oasis Blog

A month of Thanks

The beautiful Beccie

I remember writing in July about my concerns with infection rates running at 600 a day and never giving any new change from lockdown a chance to work.  Well here we are in August with an infection rate of 6000 a day and the possibility of further local/national lockdowns if the “r” rate can not be reduced!  So my first thanks go to the Boris and his decisions and U turns.  Is it a pandemic or dam panic!

We mustn’t be complacent, and should always be on guard, but we are very lucky that the infection rate in Norfolk is one of the lowest in the country. In fact I’ve heard from a reliable source that most of the Covid positive cases in the NNUH are holiday makers.

Lorraine and Theresa

My next thanks go to Theresa.  She only been with Oasis for less than a year, but she has blossomed during this lockdown and is instrumental  in organising (or scheduling as she puts it) all the garden visit this summer.  Will we see you at the October garden visit?

Petra and Loraine are next to be thanked, who have purchased the full licence for Zoom, which has allowed us to run the Zoom meeting we have held each month instead our our normal meetings.  Our last meeting in September was again well attended and it was good to see the return of our illustrious leader, Serena.  Lorrain tell us that she has got to know more of us at these Zoom meeting that at the regular meetings.

Serena is next to be thanked, who has arranged to meet new people who contact the website asking for support or help.  She is always non judgemental in her approach and she has steered Lucy, Julie, Roxy and many other from isolation towards acceptance and the start of their gender journeys.

Next I want to thank all our story tellers, book reviewers and poem creators for their contributions to the posts over the last few months and the comments from those who read them.

Finally I been digging into the Oasis archives again this month.  September is always the month that Venetia and Serena do the food.  I do miss apple crumble and custard!  Well in September 2017 were were entertained by Jaya and Bridget, friends of Serena to a musical soiree.  Serena and Carol (an Oasis visitor from Sussex) also gave us a poetry rendition.

Well that it for October.  See you in September.

Beccie x



Like the good old days

Geri wondered if people might be interested in what the world was like before Covid-19 or maybe after!!


When I hear older folks reminisce

They often use a particular phrase.

No matter how good their current lot is,

It’s never “Like the good old days.”


Whilst it’s true many things have changed;

There’s been progress since my childhood.

But, I just cannot believe all that is claimed;

So, I ask “Were times really that good?”


There were no computers, no wi-fi nor mobile phones.

No fridge-freezers, no dishwashers nor washing machines.

In fact, there was no electricity in very many homes

And elbow grease was used to make everything gleam.


There was very limited birth control.

Hence, family numbers were outsized.

On national resources there was a heavy toll:

Later, a benefit system was devised.


No loo paper, no detergent, no penicillin.

The NHS wasn’t created until nineteen forty-eight.

Abortion or homosexual?  You were deemed a villain!

Nylon and man-made fabrics would have to wait.


In 1936 the law decreed “Holidays with Pay.”

But as wages were a shilling an hour on average

No need for jet aircraft to fly folks away.

And we’d only just won women’s suffrage.


These things are all on the downside.

So what did Mum wish would leave her?

Try diphtheria, measles and typhoid,

TB, whooping cough and scarlet fever.


People lived in an over-crowded state

With access to very poor sanitation.

Life expectancy for men?  Fifty eight!

And it was only sixty -three for women!


Unemployment was twenty five percent plus,

And rent was at least one day’s wages.

Most people smoked, drank and cussed,

Six Bank Holidays! It was like that for ages.


Whilst there were radios in most homes

An accumulator was used to power it.

Horse drawn carts, the streets did roam

We were up to our ankles in horse shit!


These are the two faces of the same coin,

And so it will be unto infinity.

But mark you well this phrase I enjoin,

“Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”

The Fairhaven Five

Friday 18th September in the year of our Lord 2020 a few Oasis ladies did meet at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham.

A socially distanced walk

Serena, Beccie, Joanna, Lorraine and myself Theresa, was a small enough group to fall within current social distancing rules and at the same time staying safe by meeting at an outdoor venue. The weather was kind to us, plenty of sunshine but the wind was a challenge especially while eating lunch trying not to mix long hair with food.

Meeting at 11:00 am gave us plenty of time to fill up on teas and coffees followed by a light  lunch. During lunch there was still no sign of Joanna but as we eventually found out she was already en-route around the wooded garden trail. Via text we did remind her of our plan to lunch before walking, anyway we eventually set off along one of the woodland trails and met up with Joanna.

A socially distanced sail.

The woodland consisted of mapped out walks of varying lengths, I think we chose the shortest route so as not to use up too much tea drink time ️.

The whole area is a privately owned part of the Norfolk Broads, we followed the map in search of water and was not disappointed to find a lovely part of the broads complete with a yacht making good use of the wind. Shame that Covid restrictions meant we could not take a boat trip ourselves.

A bridge too far from the tearoom!

Well all that walking was thirsty work so we headed back to the cafe area. Teas and coffees all round, followed by another because non of us wanted the day to end, at least until we looked around and could see the place was almost empty and near the 5:00pm closing time.

We said our goodbyes and agreed let’s keep these garden visits going for as long as possible this year, they’re fun and a rare opportunity to socialise in person.

Next outing will be Friday 9th October, venue TBA, many places close at end of September and others have Covid restrictions so choice is limited but it will happen.

These Oasis trips are all subject to Covid restriction in place at the time of the trip.

Theresa x

A poem by Tania

My Little Home

Welcome to my little home,
I live here all on my own,
and when I close the door at night,
there’s never fuss and never fights

I can be who I want to be,
and live my life of fantasy,
I never have to justify,
and never have to tell a lie

Suspension of reality,
as long as i want it to be,
to grow the one inside of me,
like buds upon a winter tree

Until the day that I believe,
when I can walk and I can breathe,
and take my place, no compromise,
to see the world through Tania’s eyes

Welcome to my humble house,
where I used to be a timid mouse,
but now my eyes are open wide,
I have released the one inside,
to flourish like the crocus flower,
day by day and hour by hour…


Do you have a poem?