Do you like pina colada cheesecake, and walks in the rain? Well shut up. There’s a cracking recipe coming up from the lovely Rebecca – but first…over to another competition entrant with what I believe is one of the best stories you’ll read this year. Originally posted in our Facebook group to rapturous support, it’s one of those stories that will make you smile, with a sweet little twist at the end. Over to Andie…
I shall try and keep this brief, but it’s kinda hard to fit about four decades of being transgender, doing nothing about it and then doing EVERYTHING about it into a few sentences.
So, in a nutshell, I’ve known I was trans since I was six or seven. I’m now 44. I went through my teens, 20s and early 30s thinking I was not quite a transsexual but much more than a crossdresser. I had no plans to transition – I was far too scared.
By my mid-30s, the feelings began to grow and, by the time I was 40, it was clear I wasn’t happy living my life as a “bloke” anymore.
So I began to evolve slowly, wearing more feminine but rather androgynous clothes and shoes, getting my eyebrows waxed, shaping my fingernails. Little things. Every time I took another step, I’d tell myself that was the final step. But, ha ha, then I took another and another, such as laser on my facial hair (now long gone) and treatments to bring back my head hair (I was as bald as a Chubby Cub this time last year!)
JAMES OBJECTION: not bald, just smooth. There’s a difference!
I started using phytoestrogens – plant-based estrogens – to give me a bust. All they gave me was a deep vein thrombosis. I could easily have died. And I joined Slimming World. I was overweight and wanted to lose 5st. I wanted a more female body and figured that, if I was slim, that would be a good start.
I did well, losing 4st 3lb. I caught the Body Magic bug, too. I started cycling, beginning with 30-mile charity bike rides and then going further and further. I’m now doing 300k rides and do my first 400k in September. And, after my DVT, I decided that, if I was going to tweak my hormones, I needed to do it properly. So I asked my GP for a referral to my local gender clinic. That was three years ago. And so began a long process of waiting, counselling and blood tests.
Two years ago, I won my group’s Man of the Year title.
While it was lovely to win an award voted for by the other members, I also felt like a massive fraud because I’ve never truly felt male.
I came out to my group a few weeks ago and, a week later, turned up “en femme” for the first time. The support I received was incredible – both from my consultant and all the other members – even the rugby-playing, pint-swigging blokes. No judgment – just love.
Then I was nominated for Woman of the Year. Just to be nominated meant the world to me. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d win the title. But, last Thursday, I did win. I was in total shock – I still am!
I put photos of my Man of the Year and Woman of the Year wins on the Two Chubby Cubs Facebook group with a little write-up – and was astounded by the love I received from the members – almost 2,300 “likes”, and hundreds of comments – every single one of them positive. Thank you so much, everyone! A couple of other trans Slimming World members got in touch, too, so I hope reading about my journey can somehow inspire them.
Not only was it great to win an award voted for by members of the group I’ve been attending for over four years but it felt like I was being accepted and validated. And that was an incredible feeling because I’ve had a fair bit of transphobia in my time, from blokes on the streets laughing at me to pure hatred from transphobic rad-fems on Twitter.
It’s not been easy, and it won’t be easy. Being trans meant I lost my long-term girlfriend – and then my fiancée. I’ve lost a couple of friends. I’ve also had the reaction from my family to deal with!
But I don’t regret for a second coming out and starting my transition. It’s still early days – I only started my HRT three months ago – but feel a damned site happier having done so, and I know I won’t get to old age sitting in an armchair as an old bloke, sad, bitter and full of regret.
I know what you’re all thinking – I’d be muttering under my breath about the fact she has two stickers too. FOAMING HUN. Isn’t that the best story though? I welled up a little reading it – any story about a positive transformation is a winner in my book. I encourage you to look through the blogs and the twitter and support Andie! Meanwhile, ding ding: competition entrant time!
And now, double-whammy, time for a recipe entry too! I’ve been reassured that this piña colada cheesecake doesn’t taste of eggs, sadness and sweetener. If it does, don’t worry, I have her email address, I’ll sharp sign her up for emails about fisting. Pervert.
pina colada cheesecake
Yield 8 slices
You make the base first, then follow it up with a topping. Sounds like the way most of my Saturday nights turn out. Now listen here, I know you lot can be frightfully judgemental, but the chickpeas thing works well - remember, there's such a thing called chickpea flour!
Yeah, you should probably syn the grilled pineapple if you're a SW rule-follower. And possibly syn the blended chickpeas. But then you should do a lot of things and you don't, do you?
The beauty of this is that you can make it for taster night, then take them a packet of grapes and eat it yourself. Always thinking ahead. Note it requires an overnight chill.
- tin of drained chickpeas
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp truvia
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 pot of 0% activia vanilla yogurt
- 1 large tub of Muller light Greek style coconut and vanilla yogurt
- 1 small pot of quark
- 1 package of gelatine crystals/powder
- 10 drops of coconut flavouring
- chunks of pineapple with the edges blowtorched to look pretty
- make the base by blending the chickpeas and eggs in a blender and pour into a loose bottomed cake tin and bake at 120 degrees for around an hour, it should be a dark golden brown on top, don't worry if it puffs up a bit like a cake, it'll sink back down when you cool it, a few cracks on top are ok too
- soak the gelatine in 4 tbsp of cold water for 10 minutes then warm the mixture up to dissolve the gelatine
- then mix with all the other ingredients until you have a smooth liquid - I find it easier if everything is at room temperature
- pour over the cooled cheesecake base and let it set overnight in the fridge
- decorate with chunks of pineapple that you've blowtorched to full effect
- a blowtorch in the kitchen is never a bad thing to have - though we just use my cigar lighter because I'm so butch (this is James writing, to be clear) but look! You can have a lot of fun with this - who needs fingerprints?
- technically, according to SW, you should syn the pineapple because you've heated it slightly. Because, as you know, adding heat turns it into a pineapple fritter.
Want more desserts? So demanding!
- mint chocolate chip smoothie (1.5 syns)
- the chubby cheesecake (2 syns)
- real tiramisu (5.5 syns)
- raspberry and dark chocolate baked oats (3 syns)
- peppermint meringues (half a syn each)
- half-syn roulade (0.5 syns)
- tiramisu (1 or 5 syns)
- chocolate orange cheesecake (1 syn)
- superfree jelly (0.5 syns)
- chocolate mousse (4 syns)
- a proper old fashioned trifle (9 syns)