Chapter 1. Situation

Monday 22nd October 2018

“And I say the time for waiting is over. He’s tried to stop us serving in the military. He’s tried to withdraw rights we’ve fought for. He wants to prevent us using appropriate washrooms. Now he wants to eliminate us completely – they’ve even taken down every reference to transgender off government websites for Christ’s sakes! Enough is enough. We have to fucking do something!” Angela slapped her hand on the table.

“You’re right — it’s time for action. No more pussyfooting around. Let the talkers keep trying to influence opinions — but we need direct action now,” agreed Teresa.

“Count me in too,” added Rita. “I took an oath to protect the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. He’s claimed his orders take precedence over the constitution - so he’s declared himself as an enemy.”

 “Shit, yes,” confirmed Teresa. “That bastard has no concept of honour. We all served our country and were prepared to lay down our lives. What has he ever done? Fuck all; other than spend the money his daddy left him and what he could raise with promises of favours. And left a trail of bankrupt companies in his wake.”

“Crazy thing is, the British are about to announce that women, including transwomen, will be eligible for front line service, including in the Regiment.” Jacqui didn’t need to clarify which ‘Regiment’, there was only one worth mentioning in this company, 22nd Special Air Service. “I’m in.”   

The rest of the group all signified their agreement.

“Don’t forget the guys too,” reminded Rita. “They’ll want to be involved, I’m sure. And Pat. This is going to affect NBs as much as the rest of us — if the proposal is to only have male and female — where would that leave non-binary folks?”

“OK — but let’s keep the planning group manageable and secure. Rita: you know Jonathan well, don’t you? See if you can get him to bring one or two others. I suggest we get together at the weekend. Any chance of using your cabin at the lake, Teresa?” asked Angela.

  “Sure. Plenty of room at the shack. Some will have to share but I’m sure we’ll cope somehow. Shit we’ve all put up with far worse conditions in the field, haven’t we? I’ll get in some supplies, everyone OK with chillies and barbecues? But each person needs to bring their own booze I can’t afford the amount this crowd can drink! Or do you see this as a dry weekend Angela?” asked Teresa.

In reality, Teresa was more than capable of paying for everyone’s drinks and had done so many times before, thanks to a very successful surveillance business she’d established since leaving the Rangers.

“A few beers won’t be a problem — but we’ll be too busy working out a plan for really serious drinking,” answered Angela.

Angela had naturally taking the lead. She’d been a Major in Delta force and was now President of Pacific Coast Trans Network. Almost all of the others had seen service with US forces in Iraq or Afghanistan or both or in close protection before transitioning.

Jacqui was one of the exceptions. At 64 she was the oldest — and the most experienced — of all of them. Originally English, she’d moved to the USA in 2012 to join her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.

She’d grown up on a rough estate in South Manchester and joined the British Army as soon as she could and completed selection for the SAS at her first attempt when she was 21. She’d seen service in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Gulf War — working behind Iraqi lines searching for Scud missile launchers; then in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan and in Iraq again for the war to depose Saddam Hussein. She’d completed her service as a Squadron Sergeant Major, having repeatedly declined to apply for a commission. As SSM, she could stay with the regiment permanently; as an officer (or Rupert) she’d have been limited to two-year tours. Of course, if anyone had realised that Jacqui was trans during her service she’d have been instantly dismissed.

It was only when she retired after thirty years’ service followed almost immediately by her wife contracting cancer and dying just four months later, that the drive she’d suppressed for decades emerged and she started to transition.

As she drove home from the group that evening, Jacqui thought about her granddaughter. Charlotte, who was now fifteen, had been christened Charles but, when they heard about Jacqui’s transition, announced “That’s how I feel too.” Being able to help support Charlotte had been the deciding factor that had taken Jacqui to the US.

Charlotte’s parents, Heather and Barry, had been cautious but sought advice and hadn’t tried to suppress what their child was telling them. They’d agreed to her being prescribed puberty blockers and, after a period of limiting dressing to outside school, had seen the headmistress and told her about Charlotte. The school had been equally cautious but supportive. There’d been inevitable problems with some bigoted parents and a handful of the school staff but the head had been adamant and made it clear that they would respect Charlotte’s decision and if any staff didn’t like it, they could leave. Similarly, any parents who were unhappy with the school’s ruling were at liberty to go elsewhere. Few did.

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