F O R T U N E   F A V O U R S   T H E   B R A V E
Chapter one, I see your beauty even when it’s through a Zoom screen
Digitally we journeyed, meeting each other via megabytes, downloading each other's company
Our connection dictated by our broadband speeds
It’s kind of magical, what was happening in front of me
Sometimes we lost our connectivity, frozen, dropped offline and half caught speech,
a testament to lacking internet capabilities
Back then deep in the suburbs, in still spring air, on any given afternoon my arm reached and flexed,
palms outstretched, lead by my index, my fingers motioning, as if to wave

And so the ripples formed, atom by atom, particle by particle, an affectation occurred
Incremental yet seismic shifts, invisible to the human eye they shimmered and shaked, from the tips of my digits, soothing heartache 

Over green suburban back gardens, children’s swings, sandpits, BBQs, and IKEA fairylight kits
Over A roads and B roads and see where this leads us roads
Over bridges and motorways, then onto the home straight 
North circular to Walthamstow, Leyton then Hackney
Riding the wave of that same spring breeze they landed with you, ever so gently
The ripples now giants, sitting on your shoulder like a whisper
Like the memory of a half forgotten pop song.. ”was it thong th-thong thong thong?” 
Swelling exponentially, expansive
The space between us, unknown entities 

Now on to Chapter two: We reconnect and refresh
Reload the page, discovering what it is in a non technological age
And now we can see what it is to just be, no need for anything more virtual than reality, inhale/exhale/repeat 
Feeling out the groove and rhythm of our individual heartbeats 
“Fortune favours the audacious” the tattoo on my bicep reads… 
We stayed alert, we stayed home, and now we’re free to roam, staying curious as to what may be, into the great unknown…. 

-  A M E L I A   S T U B B E R F I E L D

A    R E T U R N

“Trans rights are human rights” I see on my feed amidst the memes, as my thumb (quite separate to my brain) pulls me along for the ride on the “Insta scroll of doom” everyone’s #filtered lives flashing before my eyes, but my thumb can’t get enough, next, next, next it says, desperate for a hit.
Transition sits within my vocabulary as easily as “shreddies” or “pass the salt.” 
Me and my fellow queers bat it about daily whilst my google newsfeed serves me article after article about how people like me should be denied the right to empty their bladder in a safe space.Takes the piss.
I am 10 years old, so far birthdays have offered me exactly what I ask for,Batman PJs with glow in the dark abs was a personal highlight.
I spend afternoons dressed up as Freddie Mercury, short cropped hair slicked back, moustache drawn on lip syncing along to the worn out VHS of Queen Live at Wembley as my teddies transform into the masses I rouse with my performance  “We Will Rock You”. 
I cannot put into words how much I love my fellow soft boys, beautiful, caring, kind compassionate and courageous souls, some with battle scars upon their chests, sometimes accompanied by scars upon their arms, a mark of bravery, a will to survive against the odds. 
If only more of us knew the true meaning of “be a real man” that they so delicately embody. 
Once toxic masculinity has been flushed out of your system, this is what you’re left with. “A feminist enema I ponder?” Could catch on. 
It’s August 95', we’re in Grizedale Forest on a sweltering day with another family. I love being there, in my head I become a knight of an ancient realm or one of Peter’s Lost Boys. 
As we head to the playground I take my t-shirt off to get some relief from the heat, the daughter of the other family goes to do the same. “ No you can’t do that, girls don’t do that..” 
Instead she ties it up into a knot, fashioning a kind of crop top, a kind of compromise. I look down at my chest and across to my brother's, identical...  
The playground comes into sight so I pick my pace up, leaving the words suspended  heavy in the air, I don’t want their weight on my shoulders. 

There’s a lot of “PRE” talk about the trans community. Pre T (testosterone) Pre top surgery, Pre Everything. 
Intimating that before medical intervention, you’re merely sitting in the starting blocks waiting to begin. Then BANG! the gun explodes and we’re off, a straight 800m sprint from female to male. Whizzing across the finish line we are complete  “I transitioned in under 2 minutes, can you believe it? Can you even “tell”?” 
I land at the base of the climbing frame, and with woodchip underfoot I start to climb, in the mid summer sun the metal bars are almost too hot to touch, adding an additional level of jeopardy, as I scramble upwards.
Finally I reach the summit and clamber into the wooden turret to survey my kingdom, feeling the wind against my chest. 
Some may think to be transgender is to transition from “one” to the “other”, a tale of 2 binaries with a beginning middle and end. 
Spolier alert that’s not how queerness works, we’re here to fuck things up. 
Labels exhaust me and language fails me. Spaghetti like they intertwine, hard to unpack.
Gender queer
Everytime I pick at a strand I don’t know where it will begin or end, over the years I return to them, and they renew, their meanings ever shifting.
Atop that wooden tower surveying the Lake District, I was PRE everything. 
Pre teens, pre judgements, pre sexuality, pre politics, pre homo/transphobia, pre religion…. The most free I’ve ever been, entirely myself. 
And now in 2020, I’m not pre anything. 
I’m post-me. Every move I take towards my truest self is not a backwards step , but a return. A return to that kid in 95 at the summit, joyous, adventurous, alive. 
I have this house, and it’s 35 years old and I’m stripping the wallpaper off, layer upon layer of experiences and words, some terrible designs, ill suited decor, until finally the masterpiece is revealed, the bare wall, the blueprint that sits underneath, it’s been there all along. 
We are all in transition, our molecules do not cease to vibrate, constantly journeying, moving, changing, on a cellular level it is impossible to remain in stasis. Gender is just a drop in the fluid ocean of our sprawling, wondrous and beautiful identities. I am not them and you are not us, we are all one. 

-  A M E L I A   S T U B B E R F I E L D

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