Month: April 2022

Trans rights, Anti Conversion Therapy demonstration, Manchester – 16th Apri 2022

Today I was at the Trans rights, Anti Conversion Therapy demonstration, Manchester – 16th Apri 2022, the Trans rights demonstration against conversion therapy for transgender people.

So, Boris Johnson and chums in the Tory party have decided they are going to ban conversion therapy for Lesbian and Gay people, but they do not want to ban this for transgender people. Their rationality to this is that you cannot change someone’s sexual preference through conversion therapy, but wanting to change gender can be reversed through conversion therapy!!!!!

Theresa May’s government pledged to remove conversion therapy in 2018 but the current Conservative government is very anti trans, something that was brought to the forefront in my eyes when the tory party gave the LGB alliance, an anti-trans group, a voice at their party conference in Manchester, 2021.

The demonstration

This isn’t the first demonstration I have been to in Manchester as there was one in October 2021 against the tories.

It’s a beautiful day in Manchester, (when isn’t it?) and I turned up in St Peter’s Square about 2:30 and there was already a few hundred people there.

I milled around talking to people until the event officially started at 3 p.m. when I would say there was probably over a thousand people there, and still more arriving!

Just as they started speaking there was a bit of trouble as two men turned up protesting in favour of conversion therapy. I’m told was one of the local Tory boys and his boyfriend. I know his name but it’s inconsequential, as was he!

He was shouting about his right to protest, and very quickly shouted down by the crowd and their placards removed.

Police eventually took him away after much remonstration, and what I did find amusing was one of the members of the Trans protest stood behind him with a homemade banner, which said “Do not listen to this man” with a big arrow pointing at him.

He held this above him all the time the police spoke to the man.

Protesting, basically in favor of conversion therapy, is like protesting in favor of torture. It’s a pretty piss poor argument in my humble opinion.

I did think it was quite ironic as they were escorted away that they shouted “Bye, homophobes” and “LGB with out the T”

It was pointed out during the demonstration that Trans people are more likely to be assaulted than CIS gender women and the bathroom argument is a red herring.

It was also pointed out that the Tories only seem to have an issue with male-to-female transsexuals and do not have an issue with female-to-male transsexuals and this argument is held up repeatedly. There was many FTM trans people at the demonstration today.

There was a wide variety of people there today, not just people from the LGBTIQ+ community. Some of the people that I spoke to were straight married couples who were there because they could not understand, and did not agree, with why the government would seek to not include transgender people in the ban on conversion therapy.


At 3 pm there was many numerous speakers, including the actress Annie Wallis and Professor Stephen Whittle OBE FAcSS.

I’ve heard them both speak before, and they are inspiring people.

The more I listen to these two people the more I realise that I cannot just sit idly by and let politics take its course. I must let my voice be heard and now that voice is in the form of articles such as this blog and attending events.

The demonstration was still going on at 4:30 p.m, when sadly I had to leave.

I haven’t spoken to some of my friends who stayed to the end of the event, but I believe the Anti Conversion Therapy demonstration, Manchester, passed without incident apart from the issue with the man at the start.


The ban on conversion therapy must be a total ban, no exceptions.

As trans people are already vilified for basically being themselves, this is just another block put in the way of transgender people who are already marginalized by the medical profession and government institutions.


Visiting Venice

location of Venice

View from Google Maps

First off let me say straight off this is not a top ten great places to see when visiting Venice, this is more of a Venice survival guide.

If you are thinking of visiting Venice in Italy, here are a few tips that I have found useful on what to do, how to get around, where to visit and how to get the best out of a trip to Venice.

For those that do not know Venice is the capital of Italy’s northern eastern Veneto region close to the border with Slovakia and Croatia. The city is built on a collection of more than one hundred small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It is famous for its canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare which is lined with beautiful Renaissance and Gothic palaces.

It’s a tourist haven in summer, with mass crowds, queues, and horrid smells but in the off-season the canals are clean, public transport is quiet and the sights and squares are deserted.

If you’re thinking about visiting Venice here’s my guide.


Getting there: Which Airport

One of the major things you must look at, as an absolute imperative before you book, is into which airport you are flying.

Venice is close to two airports, Marco Polo, and Treviso.

Marco Polo is closest to Venice but more expensive, whereas Treviso is cheaper because it’s served by the budget airlines but is much further away.

To get from either airport you must use public transport or the airport shuttle.

I honestly felt like Treviso sucked the life out of me before I even got to Venice because of the time it took to get there. Although it’s only twenty-five miles from Venice the bus took over 90 minutes to get to and from Venice due to traffic.

Marco Polo on the other hand was a breeze as straight out of the airport we got in a water taxi and 50 minutes later we were booking into our hotel.


Visiting Venice

Visit Venice because its a beautiful city, with lots of lovely buildings to see and look around. Prepare to be amazed at its beauty.

If you are thinking of visiting Venice, then I’d say it is a must to research where you’d like to visit.

Have a look at a map, other websites, like the official Venice website, and think about things you would like to see, where you plan to stay, and how much you need to travel/walk to explore in the time you have gotten available. Or even look at my gallery below.

When planning to do a weekend trip you seriously need to plan where you are staying as some cheaper hotels are not in Venice and take time to travel into Venice itself. I have been a few times now and the first time I stayed in Venice Mestre which was cheap but took 50 minutes each way to get to and from St Mark’s Square on public transport.

Hotels at Venice Mestre are cheap but not always convenient if you want to pack a lot in. A 3-night stay in Venice Mestre can cost less than €250.

Hotels in Venice itself are relatively expensive, but you must weigh up the extra expense vs the time of traveling from and to Venice Mestre. Prices in Venice typically start at €400 but because you do not have to travel to Venice it makes exploring the city easier.

The last time I went I stayed near to St Mark’s square, and this cost me €700 for 4 nights with flights to Marco Polo airport from Manchester and this included water taxi transfers.

Personally, I found staying in the city ideal because there’s no travelling to the city, you’re there already.

It’s so easy to just go out for a walk early in the morning or late at night when the city is quieter, and you do not have to worry about the crowds.

Horses for courses though. Convenience vs Price.


Traveling around Venice

Remember Venice has no roads so walking or water taxi/bus is the only way around and the bus and water bus network in Venice is superb, I have been all over the world and the buses here are frequent, reliable, clean, and easy to use.


Water bus (Vappareto)

You can get a bus and water bus pass from most tobacconists in the area, and they start at just €20 for a one-day pass with the 72-hour pass being a very reasonable €40 per person. This allows you unlimited travel from the time you first use it until your time limit expires. (prices correct as of April 2022)

For those choosing Venice Mestre, the bus station in Venice is right next to the main water bus station and you can easily walk between the two in a few minutes.

The water buses are very efficient, clean, and reliable but be aware that some of the canals have speed limits on them and sometimes the distances traveled seem to take ages because of the lack of speed.

The water bus stations are all well labeled and are a very distinctive yellow and black colour.

Around the main center of Venice, the water buses crisscross the canals from side to side, and entry and embarkation are off both sides of the boats.

A warning that on some routes you will be lucky to get seating during busy times and during colder seasons, not all the boats are heated.

If you’re interested in taking photos, the front and rear of the boats have outside standing and seating areas, again be warned during busy times on tourist routes, these can be extremely busy.

You may also get Venice sickness, let me explain this one.

If you’re getting on and off water buses all day you become used to standing on the pontoons and the water buses and on returning to dry land you do still tend to feel the effects of the rocking boats.

“….if you’re using the water buses and carrying a rucksack it’s etiquette in Venice to remove it while on the water bus. It is considered rude as you are liable to hit people with it when turning around and rocking the boat. It also means there is more room on the buses….”

If you want to visit the outer reaches of Venice such as Murano, Burano, Truvarno, and Lido then you can’t get away from using the water buses as these are the only way other than water taxis to reach these faraway islands. If you’re visiting Venice for more than a few days, the islands of Murano and Burano are a must and I’ll come to these shortly.

You can also get around using water taxis or gondolas. The water taxis are expensive unless there is a group of you and then they can work out as a great way to travel round Venice and see the sights without the crowds of the water buses.

They can be rented out for a single trip or per hour. I asked the hotel how much it would be to get to Burano by Water taxi, and they quoted me €80.



Gondolas are the traditional Venetian boats and can be hired for a time due to their size and are ideal for travelling down some of the smaller canals in the city. Always enquire beforehand as to the cost as prices fluctuate wildly. Typically, €100 is enough for an hour trip but again costs is better shared than as a single occupant.



The only real way to get around Venice is to walk. I would recommend a stout pair of walking shoes as you can easily rack up the miles if you just walk around. During a weekend period, I walked twenty-three miles exploring the back streets and avenues on my last visit to Venice.

If you plan your journey with a street map you should be able to get around the tourist hotspots in a timely manner and Google maps is a great tool to find out where you are as many little side streets are not listed on some tourist maps. My advice is to download the Venice map to your phone before you leave home.

Be aware when walking that some parts of the city aren’t connected to others by convenient bridges and you may need to walk some way to visit a location that is a stone’s throw away across the canal. Again, this is a great reason to buy a water bus ticket as stations are aplenty and sometimes, they are the only way to cross the canal without a lengthy walk.

Don’t just assume you can jump on the water bus without paying as the entire water bus system is protected by entry meters which you have to tap a valid ticket against to gain entry to each station. Once a valid ticket is presented the gates open and you are allowed entry. This is very similar to other systems in place round Europe.


Where to visit, the tourist bit

  • St Mark’s square
  • St Mark’s Campanile
  • Doge’s palace
  • Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
  • Leonardo De Vinci museum
  • Railto Bridge
  • Campo del Ghetto Nuovo
  • Church of Saint Sebastian
  • Scuola Grande di San Rocco
  • Church of the Pietà – Saint Mary of the Visitation
  • Chiesa dei Santi Geremia e Lucia – Santuario di Lucia
  • Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art
  • Former Church Santa Chiara Murano


My Recommendation

In my opinion, it is well worth a visit to the Leonardo de Vinci Museum located within easy walking distance of San Toma’s water bus station on routes 1 and 2.

The entrance fee to the museum is €8 for adults.

When you walk in you may think well “that’s expensive”, but the museum is over two floors and the first-floor details the artwork, anatomy studies, and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci as well as taking in a video which details da Vinci’s life.

This takes about 5 minutes and is worth watching because it explains where the great man moved around in his life and his most detailed artworks

There is a virtual reality show which shows you some of the war inventions that Leonardo made during his life.

Upstairs in the museum is where the majority of things happened there are lots and lots of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions which have been actually made into usable objects which you can interact with to see how they work, and you can see the original drawings from which these items are made.

If you have children, this will also keep the kids amused for a good half an hour at least, and if you’re an adult probably longer 😉

For €8 this is a great attraction and I’ve been twice now.



Is world-famous for its glass production and although this can be bought everywhere in Venice, a visit to the island allows you to visit the glass factories, see the artisan craftsmen and women at work, see the art of glowing glass and visit the glass showrooms.

I’d recommend a trip to B.F Signoretti or Wave Murano Glass Srl, to watch the glass-blowing artisans at work. The show is very good, there is a €3 charge, but the process is explained, and they do answer glass blowing questions. The glass being blown was brought right to us as we watched so we could see the injection of air into the glass bubble as it was blown.

There are lots of places to buy glass around Murano and the main canal area is littered with shops and if you can see past this you will see it is beautiful in its own right and very different from the main Islands of Venice.



Canal and multi coloured houses of BuranoPersonally, I would visit Burano over Murano every time as it is so far removed from the tourist hustle and bustle of the rest of Venice. It’s also so vibrant and colourful and an absolute delight to walk around.

It’s also home to one of the best risottos I’ve ever had at the restaurant, Ristorante Da Forner.

So, let me say that when in Burano, don’t follow all the sheep away from the water bus. Lots of those visiting Burano will walk off the water bus to a single area take photos and then head back to the water bus. I spoke to a couple who were staying in our hotel who had done this and said how beautiful it was but Burano is so much more!!

There is a whole island out there.

The island is famous for having a beautiful myriad of stunningly coloured houses. They are vivid in contrast to not just the other houses in the Venice area but to each other. Just look at the photos of Burano and you will see what I mean.

There is also the church, Cappella di Santa Barbara, with its tilting tower. This is well worth a visit.


Acqua Alta (High Water)

For a few days each year, between October and January, Venice’s water levels rise and parts of the city flood. When acqua alta (“high water”) occurs, Saint Mark’s Square, the lowest point in the city, briefly becomes one with the lagoon.

Venetians have become used to this annual flooding event and during this time large, elevated walkways are erected around the city for people to walk on, away from the high waters.


Stout shoes

I have added stout shoes to my list of things you will need in Venice as wherever you go you will need to walk.

The entire place is a series of islands and although the water buses are absolutely amazing as a public transport system, they do not take you all around the city only to specific points within the city

If you are rich, you can get a water taxi, you can get around the entire city using the water taxis but for me walking is the best way to get around the city plus, if you’re walking you will see more of the city than if you are in a water taxi

Over the 4 days that I was in Venice last I walked close to thirty-five miles around the city and if you are exploring the city not just the tourist hotspots then you will need a stout pair of shoes to get the most out of your trip. My girlfriend chose Dr. Martens, and I chose walking shoes.

It’s also a good idea to take a stout pair of shoes because the pavements in certain places of the city are uneven or rough surfaces. Standing on the water bus in heels, when we went out for a meal, was particularly challenging and gave much amusement to my young lady.


Dress accordingly

Why have I put this in the article I hear you cry?

First off, in winter Venice is a bizarre place. During the day it can be 10 degrees during the day but by 6 pm the temperature is zero. I had sunburn on a winter’s day and then ended up shivering on the water bus on the way home. In summer, the city can be stifling as temperatures hit 30 degrees, but shorts and skimpy dresses will keep you cool but also exclude you from some visitor attractions as they have a dress code.

For example, some of the temples and churches will not let you in if you are wearing shorts or a sarong or even a low cut top.

It is also maybe common sense when it comes to footwear, see the stout shoes bit above, but if you are walking around one of the churches and up and down lots of steps high heels may not be the best option!


Eating out in Venice

Everybody I spoke to who had been to Venice told me it’s expensive and yes, in certain areas of the city it can be expensive however, this does not mean that everywhere is expensive

My girlfriend and I ate out three times while we were in Venice but on each occasion, our meals were between €50 and €100 and the restaurant quality was always good

If you are staying in Venice Mestre, then there are many restaurants or a meal can be had for less than €50, Cappella di Santa Barbara for example.

There are also many cafes around Venice where you can get a good cappuccino and a sandwich for less than €10 each.

The closer to the tourist spots you go the more you can expect to pay.

Caffè Florian is in Plaza San Marco and for two cakes and coffees, we paid €30 each. It was worth it though just to sit inside this beautiful old café.

If you’ve never been to Italy before, just be aware that most cafes and restaurants have two prices on their menu boards one of these is a price to stand at the bar and the other price is a sit-down price which includes a service charge.

I’ll let you guess which is the most expensive.



From 1 March, all travelers, aged 6 and over, must show one of the following to enter Italy:

proof of vaccination OR

evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before entering Italy or a negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the 48 hours before entering Italy OR

a COVID-19 recovery certificate, certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months


Enjoy your visit, my friends.

Doctors again, Blood pressure

I’ve been to the doctors again today to have my blood pressure checked and yet again they’re calling me by my dead name.

I go in and give them my name and they eventually find me on the system and then immediately call me by my dead name. Immediately!!!!!!!

I ignore her, completely not responding.

The receptionist says my dead name again and again I ignore her.

Only then does she call me by the name I’ve given her on my arrival!

You fucking arsehole!

I’ve seen the screen today with my details on it and it still says my dead name at the top of the screen and immediately underneath are the words: Preferred name, which has my new name. This is actually in bold letters, larger than my real name and in a dark blue colour!

Now, checked in I go sit down and wait for the nurse.

Many minutes later

The nurse comes out and shouts out my dead name. I ignore her, she must know it’s me as I’m the only one there, but she disappears into her room again and comes out about 30 seconds later and shouts again for my dead name. I look at her and shake my head!

Again, she disappears.

When she comes out again, she shouts out my correct name. I say “hello” and stand and follow her into the examination room.

Annoyingly she then asks me, do you prefer Mikki or dead name?

“What do you think?” says I. She tuts!

“So, we’re here to do your blood pressure”, she says.

Yes, my optician reported I had discoloration of one of my retina in August last year.

I think it might be sky high now, I say. After being dead named several times I feel very angry right now.

She takes me blood pressure and its high.

I talked to the nurse for about 15 minutes about the practices inability to change my name despite hand delivering two copies of my deed poll. I kind of get the feeling she either doesn’t care or thinks it’s my fault they’ve lost two copies of my deed poll certificate.

Anyway, they’re still deadnaming me and after she takes my blood pressure again, I still have high blood pressure.

My doctors want me to stop HRT immediately!

Well, that’s not happening, and as my doctors don’t prescribe my hormones or provide any healthcare related to those hormones they have no control over them. No chance I’m stopping this!

Also, my doctors want to provide me statins which if anyone too the time to read my notes will know these will make me ill!

Another slow hand clap and the blood test form they sent me 2 days later still had my dead name on it.

Roll on 4th August when I can apply for my GRC and then change doctors!

Update: I’ve taken my deed poll in again and waved it at reception.

I won’t leave another copy there, so I made them photocopy it.

Place your bets on whether it makes any difference.

Synarel shortages

As of 12th April 2022, I am being told that there are Synarel shortages and on several sites and by my care provider Gender GP. I have read that this is because of the Bell v Tavistock ruling.

It is my understanding that the GMC is again trying to make things difficult for Transgender people by restricting the pharmacies that dispense Synarel for gender clinics!

This is on the Gender GP website:

Following the Bell v Tavistock ruling, the General Pharmaceutical Council has targeted the pharmacies that dispense most of our Synarel. This has led to some disruption of supplies. We are always investigating alternative providers, and in the meanwhile, any chemist in the UK and EU is able to dispense medication prescribed by us.

I’m not going to go into the Bell vs Tavistock case but here are some helpful links to help you understand what’s been going on:

No, no, no good!

This is not good for trans people. If the dispensing chemists, we have been using are being targeted and the supply of Synarel is being disrupted.

I’ve had problems getting my prescription fulfilled and then further prescription supply issues in January and these issues just compound things and cause both anxiety and also withdrawal issues if drugs cannot be sourced.

At this moment I am having to source this drug from alternative suppliers, and I have also had to change my Estradiol prescription because there is also a shortage of this. At this moment, I am unsure of the reasons why this should be in short supply!

This lack of supply is not a good thing and hopefully, these Synarel shortages won’t last long!

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