Jane Fae: ‘A religious dimension to life is absolutely essential…’

Jane Fae, a Journalist. Catholic, though considers the title ‘Pagan Catholic’.

Jane Fae


‘A religious dimension to life is absolutely essential…’




Jane was brought up in Birmingham to a father of Polish origin (which is where Jane’s Catholic faith stems from) and a mother from Devon, Cornwall.

Although Jane transitioned relatively recently, she notes ‘yet there were echoes or shadows of it over and over through my life which come back to haunt now.’ Jane describes how from the beginning of transition, she started to look back on moments in life and was able to identify or map out those moments which amounted to ‘a lifetime of repressed transgender feelings.’ Growing up as a teenager in the 1970s, she recalls feelings of discomfort with her body, looking for, and wanting to find something more female. This was against a backdrop of a time (1970s) where the main public image of transgender identity was reduced to something sexual rather than a question of identity. Sex shops would sell the image of cross-dressing, the association of sex, and red and black satin with an emphasis on the sexualisation of being transgender. Jane’s reaction to this narrow imagining of transgender existence was- ‘there’s something there, but that’s not me, I hate that… I almost never cross dressed, although I enjoyed dressing up which is not necessarily the same thing’

Jane describes her transition as-in one sense- a ‘damascene’ one: after having written increasingly for the LGBT press, Jane was conducting a telephone interview with someone who identified as transgender, when at one point the interviewee questioned Jane why she was asking these particular series of questions as ‘’why are you asking these questions because you’re transgender?’, I had been moving more and more within gender queer circles but no one had ever said that and I put the phone down, I knew- it just took one person to vocalise it and everything was just suddenly there.’ This whist alongside a time where Jane was increasingly aware of the way she fit into gendered circles, somewhat triggered or enabled a realisation that had been brewing for some time- the next 6 months to a year was a question of how to confront her partner. ‘She said, ‘what is going on, is it another woman?’ to which I said- yes but not in the way you’re thinking.’

Jane has studied one of the most recent speeches given by pope which people have interpreted as referring to transgender and transitioning:

‘What the pope was talking about…we were not given mastery of this planet, we were given stewardship of it, and just because we can do things with science, doesn’t mean we should. And my own understanding of what he was saying wasn’t ‘just because you can change gender with science doesn’t mean you should’ he was saying pretty much across the board, just because you can turn the whole of nature to your bidding doesn’t mean you should…that you don’t have the right to do that, you were given this world to look after and pass it on, not take charge.

This is the whole point that we don’t know. What we do know is that there are tens of thousands of trans people across the world, and trying to theorize- or theorise us away- is again a problem I think there is with the over intellectualisation of the bible.

‘I think I do have this view- I am the totality of what has gone before, so my sense that dogma is not a good way to go, that we are constantly inventing our universe…I will drop briefly into what I was saying about a Pagan Catholicism…I dabble in ideas and concepts…and I love all concept of fairy- fairy life, fairy beings...what I do know is that the fairy world is something which has its first instancing in the stories that women tell other women, and then fairy stories were written down…and if you go into them, there are two things that go on there, one is that of course fairy does include all the nasties like goblins and so on-but it’s also a very female oriented mythology and I like it for many reasons, that it can be subversive, in a lot of traditional fairy stories it is the woman who effectively subverts the established order, I like that it comes from women, that women tell fairy stories and it’s their kind of way of getting their own back…and when you track them through you have the concept of the fairy in the middle ages, a very earthy spiritual sort of thing…and then it becomes a courtly thing, and then the Victorians ’cutified’ fairies- fairies are elementals, they are beings often of great power and if you look at Shakespeare, you have on the one hand Ariel and Ariel is a lovely character…Ariel is very androgynous is not necessarily boy or girl, and Puck who of course is another elemental, powerful fairy….but the one that I celebrate is Maleficent…that is a troubling narrative, it is the taking away of power from a female fairy…it is about Maleficent growing through that…and if I bring that back to transgender I guess I love the fairy narrative because it has about it transformation, the idea that you can take a wand and wave it…’