Prison visits

Occasionally, as part of the talks that i give, I get asked what we do as part of the Beaumont Trust Trans prisoners project that i run.

As you’ll probably expect, i can’t go into specifics of prisoner details, but i thought I’d share with you some general details about what a visit is like.

Using the Prisoner Voicemail system, prisoners will usually reach out to us regularly asking for help, information, or maybe just as someone to listen to their general routine and progress on classes or rehabilitation programmes they are working on. We can then listen to these messages and respond to them, keeping an exchange of info going between the prisoner and Trust, which on it’s own might not seem like much, but, when you’re inside and abandoned by your family and subject to abuse, can make a real powerful difference.

About once a month, prisoners will reach out for an arranged visit. Usually on a weekend, when there isn’t much going on, or when it’s mutually convenient. At this point I’ll ring the prison to let them know I’m coming (experience shows this is a good idea) and then arrange the specifics of any visits. Some of those I’ve done up until now have been

  • Makeovers
    Training
    Book reading
    Meditation class
    Pride and scene updates

Talking about each in turn briefly

Makeovers. In these sessions, (which require a lot of pre planning and willingness from the prison director) I’ll take in a range of samples and sponges and makeover a prisoner, while other transwomen look through the makeup and any books i bring in while they’re waiting. We’ll then chat about looks they may want to try the next time I come visit. It’s a pretty fraught hour and hard work !!!

Training. Sometimes the prisoner will want to arrange training for the staff of the prison as part of a coaching or mentoring activity. These visits tend to be a lot more straightforward than any sessions which require you to bring in physical items and usually take the form of a TED talk around a table with whatever officers are able to attend.

Book ReadingWhere we do book readings ill being in a number of copies of a book and, w we’ll take roles and sit around a table, acting out the story. These are great fun, as the inmates get to express themselves, practice their feminine voices and thespian skills.

It’s great fun and quite a scene. (I wholeheartedly apologise to some of the authors we might have offended !!)

Meditation
Meditation classes help with improving prisoners mental health. Something which is particularly important for trans prisoners who will often experience feelings of isolation and abuse while inside. Reactions to these conditions vary, but will usually include self harm, or violence against others and in the worst cases attempts of suicide.

On top of these activities, I also try to collect magazines to send in to prisoners, particularly trans magazines like Transliving, which help inform prisoners of the trans scene outside of their prison and help make them feel part of something. We’ve also historically sent in clothes, by special arrangement, but this is type of activity is reducing because many prisons are now actively preventing this.

Would you like to be involved in this ? Maybe you have an idea of somethig you would like to share that would help us improve the lives of transwomen in prison ? I’d love to hear from you ! Drop me a message with your details and I’ll be happy to get in touch.

Why Makeup Matters for Trans Women

Do you remember those days when you were first experimenting with makeup ? I certainly do !!! Because I was living on my own, I didn’t have a stash I could “borrow” on the sly, so I had to buy my own. I can still remember those first few frantic “smash and grab” style runs into the drug store, grabbing whatever looked right and then racing out before anyone could give me a funny look. (Other than the checkout girl !!!)

In those days (about the mid 90s) the internet wasn’t as an advanced respository of information as it is now. Girls like me used to gather on usenet forums and taking pictures wasn’t as straightforward as it is now, with smartphones and filters and sharing. I remember posting my first picture on forum and getting some honest, raw feedback about it. Devastating as it was at time, I persevered (add a few more perseveres here) and here I am now !! Little old me (a little less of the old though. If you don’t mind)

As trans women, we have a complicated relationship with makeup. Although there is no single, defining way to express ourselves as women, makeup is among the first that we’ll experiment with. For me personally, its only second to wearing a bra as a symbol of my femininity. Who would have thought a quick flick of a mascara wand could do so much to affirm our identities ?

Makeup can help improve the self esteem of the woman in the mirror staring back at us. It can help make the process of “passing” a little bit easier and for some women, it can make them feel more confident in themselves when going out in public. Someone even told me once that it made them feel safer and more congruent in their surroundings, which was something they were afraid off after hearing about a murder through TDOR. It’s particularly useful in the early days of transition when the effects of hormone replacement therapy and electrolysis haven’t yet kicked in.

As these more permanent treatments start to take effect, our skin softens and our facial hair thins out, we can be more selective with our use of makeup. Our expectations change from wanting to hide our “maleness” to wanting to accentuate our femininity. Our application becomes less heavy and our skills and knowledge increase, we may even visit a makeup artist at a department store to learn techniques like contouring and highlighting. These help soften our face, accentuate features like cheekbones, brow and jaw lines. We may even try a bolder shade of lip colour to emphasise our lips, which are usually paler than genetic women.

As our transition progresses, our relationship with makeup continues to change, we move from it being a necessary stress, to a pleasure. We don’t feel like we are trying to hide anything more, our use becomes more free flowing and creative. Liberating. We’re no longer consumed by finding that perfect look, it’s a form of self expression and mood, which can vary from wearing none at all, to a ton of it. The best thing about makeup is there are no rules, just guidelines and as for those, well, they’re just guidelines ! It’s about accentuating the look you most feel comfortable in as an expression of your female identity.

That’s where groups and pages like ours are so valuable and useful. There are literally thousands of girls within them, all friendly, all going through the same process, the same fears, the same feelings. We KNOW its a huge first step, but we promise, all the girls are really friendly and so genuine with their feedback, you can also message or call us directly if you want some help. We’re always keen to share and help you develop on your journey. If nothing else, we can help you avoid those makeup disasters like “Panda Eyes”, “Slut lips” and the perils of green eyeshadow !! Now THAT has to be worth something !

After all, your relationship will be a lasting one that won’t just end with your transition. And we want to help you make the most of it ❤

Love and hugs

Joanna

Know the Basics – Makeup Brushes

We had the lovely Parvinder in the salon today who bless her, had become completely pickled and confused about Make-up brushes.  And who can blame her ?  With so many on the market, it’s hard to know which one does what, what ones to choose and even the simple things like how to care for them.
If this sounds like you – Dang girl !!! Put that brush down right now and pay attention, because it’s time to give you the top 10 things you need to know when it comes to makeup brushes.
  1. You DON’T need every different kind !!!! (We don’t even do that in the salon) Although it can seem like you’re missing out if you don’t have every brush, applicator or sponge, because there’s endless different makeup brushes that come in all different shapes and sizes  YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO BUY THEM ALL !!!  (GEMMA, WE ARE TALKING TO YOU, YES YOU !!!)  In our opinion you only really need six brushes in your kit.  A foundation/concealer brush (its ok, we give you permission to have one of each) , a powder brush, a contour brush, a crease brush, a blending brush, and an angle brush.  With these in your collection you’re more than ready to create any look you want.
  2. Cleaning brushes often is an absolute ESSENTIAL: We wrote a note last year about the effects of dirty makeup brushes, which you can catch here.  Suffice it to say “Icky, Icky, Icky” and leave it at that. !!! Get into the habit of cleaning your makeup brushes once a week will help keep your skin clear, your makeup looking flawless, and your brushes lasting longer.
  3. To clean your brushes you don’t need a fancy cleaner: In fact, in the salon, we mostly use a gentle baby shampoo.   Just rinse the brushes in water, swirl them into the soap so it lathers up, massage it thoroughly so you’re cleaning all of the brush (not just the tips), and rinse them out until the water runs clear.
  4. Please, don’t Soak them when you’re cleaning them: They’re not paint brushes girl !!!  (we’re not exactly sure, but we don’t think you do that with them either)  Soaking brushes causes liquid to seep into the handle, which can then loosen the glue that holds the bristles together in place, making the brush fall apart. Although it’s a bit more labour intensive, just clean the brush face down in running water over a bowl made up with some baby shampoo.
  5. Once they’re clean, lay them flat to dry out: Once nice and clean, use some kitchen towelling to gently squeeze around the bristles so they’re not soaking wet. Lay the brushes on some more towelling  on a flat surface and allow the bristles to hang off the edge of the table. Placing them so that they’re not laying flat against the table will protect their shape. Remember to always lay brushes out to dry closer to windows or fresh air. If you leave them to dry in places with no sunlight, like the bathroom, they’ll grab onto a funny odour, similar to damp laundry.
  6. Synthetic versus Natural : There are two different kinds of bristles — natural and synthetic. Natural makeup brushes are typically made out of various animal hair, while synthetic brushes are made up of manmade bristles, usually from nylon or other synthetic fibres.  Natural brushes tend to be more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, many of which are now so fine, there really isn’t a lot to choose between them.  In the salon, most of the brushes we use are synthetic, with the only exception being blending brushes, which most of the girls prefer to be natural.
  7. Use Natural fibre brushes with powder products:  If you’re desperate or have a preference to use natural fibre brushes, you’ll find they tend to work best with powder products.  Everything from bronzers and blushes to eyeshadows and everything in between.  Natural fibres move freely, allowing you to not only pick up enough product in one swipe, but also to blend it out beautifully.
  8. Synthetic brushes are best for liquid and cream products: Unlike natural brushes, synthetic makeup brushes don’t have a cuticle, which makes them great to use with liquid or cream products because they won’t trap makeup. Synthetic fibres also tend to stick better to one another, making them ideal for precision application.
  9. Size matters: (Without wishing to be too rude) The longer the brush the better in our opinion.  The longer the brush fibre, the softer the application and coverage.  Shorter fibres are best for getting a fuller application and coverage.  We also prefer to have long handle brushes too, it gives more space to see what’s happening as you apply product, by keeping your hand away from the face.
  10. Nothing lasts forever !!! Even if you take great care your brushes, they won’t last forever.  Look for the signs.  If your brush is shedding, or the handle breaks, or you can’t get a brush clean anymore, it’s time to toss the brush in the trash.  Hell girl – what’s wrong with you – its time to do more shopping !!! WOOHOO !!!
That’s all from us on the subject of brushes, would love to know what you think though – do you have any preferences ?  Natural or Synthetic for example ?
Love always
Joanna

Press Release – YNotbU Angel Investment in Transortium

Transortium

We were delighted to hear about Heather Flanagan’s work in establishing a new organisation in the United States called Transortium. Speaking to Heather it quickly became clear that not only did she share a lot of the same values we do, but also had a compelling vision for improving the issues Transgender people face when it comes to integrating into society, pre, during and post transition.

Heathers goal for Transortium is that it should be a hub for bridging the gap between the Trans community and wider society. This bridge is not only made up of information and resources, but training for organisations and the trans community as well.  Through these initiatives they hope to be able to facilitate and ease integration between the transgender community and the wider society.

Because we share in Transortums values and mission, we were only too pleased to be become not only a founding Angel investor in the organisation, but also their partner in the United Kingdom.

You can find out about the Transortium organisation by clicking on any of the following links, or by dropping us a message.  We’ll be only to pleased to help you.

Website

Facebook

K’Anne Meinel events list 2018

Cover

I LOVE being part of Shadoe publishing !!!! Not only is a fun place to work, but also being able to support and promote my friend K’Anne’s books, authors and events is a real privilege for me.  I get to read and review wonderful stories Ones that make you laugh, cry and even on one occasion, think “What the Frick ?!?!!”

One of our most popular ideas is where K’Anne hosts an event personally to give you the opportunity to meet and interact with Authors, not only at their book launches, but also, you know, just for fun !!!  This year, she’s got a lot of things planned already and as always, she’s eager to share them with you, so why not check out her list of upcoming events below, choose your favourite and join in !!!!

Pic 1Gill McKnight – Book Release Party !!

13 January at 11:00–13:00 CST

Come in and join the fun at Gills book release party !! Its always great fun to host Gill at these events and we’re sure this one is going to be no exception ! We would feature a tease from the upcoming book, but to be honest, we’re just going to say “It’s from Gill McKnight” and leave it at that…………………..!!!!

Dirt Road booksDirt Road Books – on the writers block

14 January at 11:0013:00 CST

The “on the writers block events are always popular at Shadoe publishing.  Not only is a great way to learn more about an author, but when it features a publishing house like this one, you can learn about with a wide range of authors and genres.  Something to tempt you for the weekend maybe ?

Annette Annette Mori – on the writers block

20 January at 11:0013:00 CST

Annette’s been on the writers block before, so many times before, we’ve lost count !!! But it’s always lovely to welcome her back and share a little about what makes her such a firm fan favourite.  Come and join in and share in the “world of Mori”  you won’t be disappointed !!!

Michelle Hagans Teaches a Class……Teachers pet

21 January at 11:0013:00 CST

I’m genuinely not too sure what to expect from this event, but the title of it sounds great fun !!! Hopefully Michelle will be teaching us about her new book – who knows ?  I may even buy an apple !!!!

ReverieReverie Book Release Party !!!

27 January at 11:0013:00 CST

The second of our  book release parties in January see’s the launch of “Reverie” Intrigued ? We know we are – There’s going to be book readings, author

questions and who knows ?  Maybe the odd surprise or too……  Join in or miss out !!!

Julie

Julie Forester – Book Release Party !!

10 February at 11:0013:00 CST
February gets off to a flying start with the launch of Julie Foresters’ debut novel !!!  There’s something special about your first one isn’t there ? And we’re desperate to share Julie’s with you !! Come along and get in at the ground level of what’s sure to be the start of a great career !!
Armstrong

17 February – 18 February

Two authors, Two days, twice the insight, book sharing and fun.  It doesn’t get any better than that does it ? Nope, it really doesn’t !!!  I can’t wait to see you there !!!  You are coming aren’t you ?  I’ve made myself all pretty !!!

Barbara Winkes on the writers blockWinkes

21 April – 22 April

Join us in April for a weekend with the lovely Barbara.  not only does she have the most suggestive surname you’re going to come across, but, she can totally rock the look too !!! We literally can’t wait to see what she has in store for us, why not make a date in your diary and join in ?  Who knows, you may even learn how to “Wink” like Barbara !!!

 

That’s the first six of 2018 to get you started – check back soon for more details and more events – and remember to follow us on Facebook at Shadoe Publishing , follow our web-page or join in with one of my favourite authors, K’anne Meinel !!!

 

 

Announcing the LesFic Bard Awards

Working with K’Anne is such great fun, no idea is dismissed out of hand, everything is explored, everything is for the benefit of the authors. on behalf of the readers and the more fun we have doing it, the better !  And thats how she came to create the Lesfic Bard Awards.

What makes this such a unique award for authors to enter and win is the Triple blind judging system that the executive committee have chosen to employ.  This UNIQUE system of reviewing books means that the judges don’t know the author, the book title OR the subject matter.  AND no one knows who the judges are !!!

There’s no risk of authors or readers currying favours to influence the panel or the award.  Its a high integrity system.   Completely FAIR and UNBIASED.  It’ a great idea which reflects the morals and ethics of K’Anne herself.  Just to reinforce this, she isn’t submitting any of her own books or part of the judging panel.  This helps ensure no conflict of interest.

I’m really excited about these awards and what I’m hoping they’ll come to represent for authors and readers.  There’s been great interest in the award already since it’s been announced, particularly when the trophy was shown !

If you’d like to know more, there are a number of ways you can get involved with the Awards.

  • If you’re a reader, and we mean a KEEN reader, then you might be just the person we’re looking for to be part of the judging panel.  Just think, you get to read great fiction, from talented authors, for free !!!  How cool is that ?  Just follow the link to join in !!!
  • If you’re an author, we’d love to have you enter and be part of the awards.  It’s a great opportunity to showcase your book and if you’re lucky enough to win, the way in which the award is judged makes a real statement about the quality of your work.  You can enter by clicking on the link here.  Then make sure you share the fact you’ve entered !!
  • If you’re a sponsor (hey every scheme needs sponsorship !) the awards give you a nice way of giving something to an undervalued section of society and associating your brand with some of the best that lesbian fiction has to offer.  Get in touch with the committee by clicking on the following link and marking your mail “sponsorship”.

Can’t wait !!!

 

#Transgirlfitness

SavedPicture-2017111392129.jpgWhen my sister Janiz got in touch with me a little while ago, to satisfy her usual makeup fix (She’s worse than me, at least i don’t buy lipstick because it tastes like chocolate) we got to chatting and i asked her what was new with her.

Seems she had got a new tattoo done, so, i asked her to pop me a photo and when it came through, I couldn’t help but say ‘wow !!!” She had dropped almost 60 lbs from when we last chatted by video on my birthday and looked amazing !!!!

“You alright sis ?” She asked, so i had to say “Kitty, you look amazing !! Something obviously agrees with you – spill the beans !!!!

Jaisha has always been into her fitness and since becoming a qualified instructor has been working hard in the gym and you can really see the benefits. Chatting away, we came to the idea that we should bring her street and gym workout routines, as well as her lifestyle and motivation coaching to what we’re doing at TransgenderMakeupAdviceandSupport. Just like that our #transgirlfitness was born !!! Two trans women, doing it for themselves !!!

I’m so excited that she has found her passion and we’re so excited to be able to bring this to you. There’s nothing quite like going into business with your little sister and the excitement of having fun and supporting our community.

More to follow – very soon !!!