The Trans Tax, why I refuse to beg for equality.

I had such optimism for trans equality until recently, I really believed we were getting somewhere. Rebecca Root was awesome in BBC Two’s Boy Meets Girl, there was a positive sounding Government Inquiry into trans rights, over 30,000 people signed a petition asking the government to allow gender variant people to self define their gender. Things were looking peachy.

Today I sat on the beach and wept. I wept for Tara Hudson, currently being subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment by the Ministry of Justice inside a male only prison, partly because she doesn’t own a Gender Recognition Certificate. I wept for the way people like me have been misrepresented by Channel 4 and yet again derided as freaks on national television. I wept because the Government pooh-poohed the petition slap bang in the middle of an inquiry into how to improve protections for trans people.

A lot of this strife has been caused by a magical piece of paper called the Gender Recognition Certificate. An employer can’t ask to see it, the police can’t ask to see it, local councils can’t ask to see it, but without this piece of paper a trans person does not qualify for certain protections under law.

I have huge issues with the GRC. To qualify for it and the protections it gives means I have to prove that I have lived as a woman for three years, I must get letters from doctors and I have to pay £140. Once I have gathered all this evidence, I have to send it off to something called a Gender Recognition Panel which is made up of some “medical and legal members.” The law doesn’t actually state any qualifications for these members but I guarantee you one hundred percent that they aren’t trans.

I refuse to prostrate myself in front of a panel of cisgender overlords and beg for my human rights. People like me are oppressed from every single angle at one point or another and I will not submit the validity of my gender to the judgement of a bunch of strangers. I have had enough.

So many of my friends have spoken about the difficulties of getting their GRC’s, the submitted evidence is often returned with a letter full of legal jargon pointing out where they didn’t meet the standard to be accepted as themselves. Two or three times they repeat the process, their whole being on tenterhooks, waiting to be given the privilege of being told it’s ok to be able to get on with their lives.

I have friends who have been sofa surfing or homeless at one point in the last three years, they have been unemployed due to discrimination against their gender identity. Their evidence to the panel will likely be rejected. And until they get a job and somewhere permanent to live, applying for a GRC is impossible anyway, that’s before we even get into trying to find the £140 it costs and how the complicated forms disadvantage people who find it difficult to communicate.

Being forced to pay money for something which gives you protections under law is a tax. It’s a tax on trans people for being born different.

If you’d have asked me a few weeks ago what I thought of this Trans Inquiry I would have waxed lyrical about a trans tipping point, fairies and unicorns. Now there is nothing but a grey, glooming storm cloud.

The one piece of hope I cling to is seeing the outpouring of support for Tara Hudson, the trans community has found it’s voice and we are united in trying everything to help her. Never give up.

Why no platforming Germaine Greer is a mistake

Two decades ago I was caught in the grip of a cult indoctrination, from birth I had been force fed information which lead me to believe that the whole world was against me. Three times a week I was taken to church services which drummed these lies into my head, complete with group chanting, fear mongering about the imminent coming of Armageddon which would bring about the death of billions of non believers and public reproof announcements about anybody who had transgressed their authoritarian moral codes.

Being the child of a man who was desperate to join the ranks of the higher-ups in the cult It didn’t take much to piss off the Elders, by the age of thirteen I had already lost count of the number of times I had been called in for ‘Biblical Council’. It didn’t take much, pointing out the logical fallacies of dinosaurs, Darwin and carbon dating to a young earth creationist was never going to go down well. Asking why the founder of the cult based his failed prophecies on pyramidology was a sure-fire way to end up sitting in a cold back room with two greying men in polyester suits for two hours.

The simplest definition of a cult I’ve ever read is this: A person is free to leave a religion but when they leave a cult, sanctions are imposed upon them. My early memories of life have a menacing storm cloud hanging over me, if I didn’t show enough belief, enough repentance, enough obedience, my family, friends and virtually everybody I had ever known would shun me. The people who helped raise me from a baby would cut me out of their collective lives and treat me as if I were dead.


The mantras those men made me repeat are still burned into my psyche; “bad associations spoil useful habits” (1 Cor. 15:33) AKA don’t hang out with non cult members. “The heavens and the earth are reserved for fire and are being kept until the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly people.” (2 Peter 3:7) AKA everyone not in the cult is going to die.

Slowly but surely the orwellian inculcation took over. I worked out that if I didn’t question what the leaders said, if I just kept my mouth shut, I would stay out of that cold back room, my life would be easier and people would just leave me alone to my apostate thoughts.

This was my childhood, almost half my life. No questioning. No discussion. No dissent. Toe the party line or we will take away everything that is important to you.

Nowadays things are different, I have learned to question everything and everybody, time has taught me that to get a full understanding of any subject I must listen to all sides of a story. When I freed myself from that horrible cult I read books by Anton LaVey and Erich Von Daniken, I read about Reptilians, Orthodox Judaism, ghosts and Scientology. Nothing was off the table and brick by brick I rebuilt my life from the foundations up but this time it was with the benefit of being able to see the full picture.

What does this all have to do with no platforming, I hear you ask? I have to declare my passionate opposition to this practice, banning somebody who’s opinions you disagree with can never end well, I know this from bitter experience.

I haven’t made it to university yet, when I was leaving school I genuinely believed the world was about to end very soon so I found another path through life but from what I can tell, universities are supposed to be the place where opposing opinions are heard, people are taught critical thinking and how to form arguments for and against subjects. To be fully informed about any subject, a person must listen to all sides and make up their own mind. No platforming just polarises the debate further.

Germaine Greer is a transphobic idiot. Her anti trans diatribe is disgusting and she deserves ridicule as a dinosaur from the feminist dark ages, somebody who is so stuck in her hateful ways she really is comparable to a Kool-Aid drinking cult leader. Debate her, show how science has proven her wrong, write a book taking down her vicious transphobic opinions. Laugh at her, Photoshop her face onto a giant turd, print it onto a t-shirt and go take a selfie with her. Just stop with this no platforming malarkey because once the precedent is set things will only end badly.

Government Insult – Trans Activists Respond

In my last post I wrote a response to the governments insult of a response to the allow trans people to self define petition started by Ashley Reed. Trans activists have now responded to the response in a much less angry way than I did, with some thought and reason and are sending an open letter to the Ministry of Justice and Maria Miller, the chair of the Trans Inquiry being heard right now. (There’s a lot of responses here, seems like it’s the governments standard way to delay or dismiss things)

It’s really easy say “what’s the point” to all this official government bullshit, and partly, I agree. But this time is different, this time there is an opportunity to shame the government into action which will really help trans people. This #TransInquiry is the chance we have to make sure the government can’t deny the massive inequalities facing people like us today. This is our time, these are our streets and these are our fucking human rights they are dismissing like we’re dog shit on their shoe. Don’t let them get away with this.


Jane Fae has written the letter, with input from a number of others, I’ll paste it here, please feel free to share it wherever you feel is relevant. Tell your friends, tell the government, this trans inquiry will be the last for a long time, we have to act now.

An open letter to Rt Hon Maria Miller, MP

Chair of House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee



Dear Mrs Miller,

Like many in the transgender community we were delighted to learn of the decision by the Women and Equalities Select Committee to look in some detail at issues affecting trans people in the UK.

Different departments, different Ministers have, over the years, looked at specific aspects of the challenges affecting trans people attempting to cope with a society whose ideas on gender are generally fixed and hostile to the idea that an individual may wish to “change” gender, or alternatively consider themselves to be without gender. None, however, have carried out the comprehensive and far-reaching review that your committee has proposed, and for that alone your initiative is to be praised.

We were therefore greatly disappointed to learn that, in the week that your committee began to take evidence from experts in the trans communities and beyond on the nature of issues that affect us, the Ministry of Justice has decided to respond to a petition in respect of the Gender Recognition Act in a manner that appears both to limit the scope for your inquiry and to deny the existence of any real problems for trans people.

Their intervention is a response to a petition to parliament launched in July of this year ( This asks that Government allow a greater degree of self-determination to trans persons when it comes to gender: that Government abstain from charging trans people for the right to obtain official documentation in respect of their gender; and that Government recognise the existence of non-binary individuals.

The MoJ response is both complacent and dismissive. Processes, it claims, are in place for a reason, including the fact that “a person’s gender has important legal and social consequences”. It seemingly asserts that people must prove they are acceptable in order to gain gender recognition. Later, though, in respect of non-binary persons, they assert, in apparent contradiction, that they are not aware of this group of people having suffered any “detriment” as a consequence of being non-binary.

It is unclear on what the MoJ base their opinions about non-binary people as (a) census data was deliberately obscured to make it impossible to identify how many non-binary people there are in the UK (plus there was no option to identify as such); and (b) there is no evidence that they have contacted any researcher in the field to acquire evidence to support their claim that no detriment is incurred by being non-binary.

They are highly cavalier about the reasons why many trans people refuse, as a matter of principle, to obtain a gender recognition certificate, and justify the fee for doing so on the grounds that government charges for other services, such as a passport or driving license. In this respect, they fail to acknowledge that such charges are to allow an individual to perform a certain act (travel, drive, etc.), as opposed to permitting them to live as themselves.

They are uninformed about the state of transgender treatment under the NHS, ignoring the evidence that people in senior positions in the NHS presented before your Committee on Tuesday.

We are particularly concerned about both the nature and timing of this intervention. In respect of other initiatives of which we are aware, the Government Equalities Office has argued that these must be delayed, pending the result of your Committee’s Inquiry.

A Minister of State appears to have decided, deliberately, to “jump the gun” on the inquiry process, deciding that they are aware of the state of play on key issues affecting the trans community without benefit of any evidence, and seeking to lay down the law when, clearly, one output from your inquiry might include recommendations that it be reviewed in certain key areas.

As such, it looks like a deliberate attempt to sabotage your inquiry.

We look forward to a response from you.



Jane Fae (Writer and gender activist)

Helen Belcher (Secretary, Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity)

Jennie Kermode (Chair, Trans Media Watch)

Dr. Meg John Barker (Senior lecturer in psychology, the Open University)

Dr Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Psychologist)

Bethany Black  (Actor and Comedian)

Jess Bradley (Action for Trans Health)

Sarah Brown (Former Councillor and Trustee, Encompass Network)

Jessica Coal (Founder, UK Trans Info)

Dominic Davies (Chief Executive Pink Therapy, Consultant Psychotherapist)

Dr Zowie Davy (University of Lincoln)

Alex Drummond (Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist)

Martha Dunkley   (Co-founder TransLondon and Trans liaison, Kaleidoscope Trust)

J Fernandez (Editor, Beyond the Binary)

Roz Kaveney (Former Deputy Chair Liberty)

Natacha Kennedy (Goldsmiths College and University College London)

Sarah Lennox (Childrens’ author)

CN Lester (Founder, Transpose)

Keira McCormack (Project Manager, Gender Essence Support Services)

Professor Surya Monro (Academic)

Anwen Muston (Trans officer, LGBT Labour)

Cllr Zoe O’Connell (Campaigner & Parliamentary Candidate, May 2015)

Claire Parker (Gender Activist & Broadcaster)

Ruth Pearce (Researcher, University of Warwick)

Sarah Savage (Author and Trustee, Trans* Pride Brighton)

Dr Jay Stewart (Founder, Gendered Intelligence)

Reubs Walsh (NUS LGBT Campaign Trans Representative)





David Cameron, stop insulting trans people!

I’ve always been conflicted about online petitions as it is often difficult to see the actual, real world effect they have. Grass roots community organising is a good thing in my mind though, so I inevitably end up taking part in the clicktivism so often derided by the more cynical part of my psyche. I was therefore surprised to see a mail in my inbox earlier, a few weeks ago I had signed and promptly forgotten a petition asking that the government allowed trans people to self define their legal gender, and there has been a response from David Cameron and Her Majesties Government!

Here is my response to their response:

Government responded:

The gender recognition process in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 was developed as a result of the Government’s commitment to allowing trans people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender.

The GRA is widely accepted as very flawed, even back in 2004. I know you’re running a Parliamentary Inquiry into trans* equality right now and that’s good but until you show something more concrete, I will continue to judge you based on how shockingly badly you have treated gender variant people in the past. Please do more to show your commitment.

The Gender Recognition Process

The general procedural requirements for gaining gender recognition were developed as a result of the Government’s commitment to allowing trans people who have taken decisive steps to live fully and permanently in the acquired gender to gain legal recognition in that gender, by establishing a robust and credible process to determine applications for recognition. The provisions are contained the in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA).

A person’s gender has important legal and social consequences. The state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that people who take on a new legal status can establish that they meet certain criteria. The required statements and evidence are limited to what is necessary to establish that an applicant meets the criteria for recognition.

I can understand this, you need to be sure that a person’s intent is not for nefarious means, but these “general procedural requirements” have real and serious consequences, one example is what is known as spousal veto. The process to determine these requirements is fundamentally flawed, a panel of cisgender overlords get to decide if a trans person is allowed to be recognised as an actual person.

There are no requirements for a trans person to apply for legal recognition; it is entirely a personal decision. Many trans people live and work in their acquired gender without feeling it necessary to apply for legal recognition. However, an application for gender recognition should only be made where a person has made a permanent decision to change their gender.

But if you don’t have this magical piece of paper you are not fully protected under the GRA. (2004) Somebody could have lived and worked for 50 years in their true gender, yet because they don’t wish to jump through whatever hoops the government deigns necessary, they will be less equal than everybody else.

The Gender Recognition Panel, a judicial body, determines all applications for gender recognition and an applicant must prove to the satisfaction of the Panel that they meet all the requirements set out in the GRA. The requirements for applicants going via the standard route are that the applicant:

– has or has had gender dysphoria;
– has lived in the acquired gender throughout the two years immediately preceding the date on which the application is made;
– intends to continue to live in the acquired gender until death.

Applicants must also provide medical reports, from:
– a qualified medical professional who works in the field of gender dysphoria giving details of their diagnosis of gender dysphoria; and
– a GP or surgeon, detailing any surgery or treatment that the applicant has undergone to change their sexual characteristics.

In addition, applicants must provide documentary evidence in the form of:
– an original or certified copy of the birth certificate;
– an official change of name document or documents;
– documentary proof the applicant has lived in their acquired gender throughout the preceding two years.

If the Panel is satisfied that the applicant meets all the conditions in the GRA they must issue the applicant with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Erm, about this “panel” … Have you ever seen The Shawshank Redemption? That scene where Morgan Freeman stands in front of the parole board is the closest thing I can imagine when I think of a Gender Recognition Panel. A bunch of cisgender people get together and decide if a trans person is broken/cool enough to be allowed to join their club. Perhaps it would be beneficial that you directly include some people who have some actual, real lived experience in this process, no?


It is quite normal for people to pay for a whole range of services, for example, passports, birth and marriage certificates, drivers’ licences, applications to the civil courts for a variety of issues. Given the cost involved in administering the gender recognition process, applications for gender recognition also carry a fee.

At present, the application fee stands at £140. So as to ensure that nobody is excluded from gaining legal recognition in their acquired gender, remissions and part remissions are available to those who are unable to pay the full fee. Traditionally a large percentage of applicants have been exempt from paying a fee.

PAY US MONEY AND YOU TOO CAN BE PROTECTED UNDER LAW! Just call 0845-ITSA-SCAM. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor, at least give us some money. We’ll even make the financial remission forms so complicated that some trans people (especially ones with disabilities) don’t understand them! It is beyond me why I have to keep repeating this, WE DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE TRANS. If cancer patients had to pay £140 to be protected from losing their job because they have to go for hospital appointments, there would be protests at Downing Street, Stop treating trans people like second class citizens.

Gender Identity Clinics

Current service provision in England is network-based, shaped around seven adult gender identity clinics, three providers of adult genital reconstruction surgery and one designated provider of gender identity development services for children, adolescents and young people.

Each gender identity clinic delivers services in compliance with contemporary, generic service standards for their discipline that respect the specific needs, values and dignity of transgender people.

The most up to date statistics for trans people point to 1% of the population who are gender variant, and you think that this is acceptable? There has been a 50% year on year increase in referrals for adult gender identity services and an 80% year on year increase for under-18’s yet you are cutting funding to the NHS, refusing to allow travelling satellite gender clinics and you have failed to employ enough medical and clerical professionals to cope with the increase. People are killing themselves because of your failure to act.

In England, people accessing gender identity services have a legal right under the NHS Constitution to be seen within 18 weeks of referral.

Ok, let’s talk about our so-called legal rights. I waited 18 months, 78.2 weeks. These days my friends tell me the wait is similar. Right now it takes roughly 5 years from referral to surgery, if you are lucky. You know this because we have been telling you for years. Stop fobbing us off, stop deliberately misleading people, we are not stupid. The current attempted suicide rate is 48%. David Cameron, how much higher does this have to climb before you do something?

Non-binary Gender

Non-binary gender is not recognised in UK law. Under the law of the United Kingdom, individuals are considered by the state to be of the gender that is registered on their birth certificate, either male or female.

Under the Gender Recognition Act, the Gender Recognitions Panel is only able to grant a certificate to enable the applicant to become either male or female. The Panel has no power to issue a certificate indicating a non-binary gender.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female. We recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender. We are not aware that that results in any specific detriment, and it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents.

Ministry of Justice

A very small number? Well here is another example of how out of touch the UK government is with reality. It is scientifically proven that gender is a spectrum, you need to educate yourself about the people over whom you rule. Some people are different to the black and white spectrum you have been exposed to your whole life, there is a wonderful grey area where some people don’t identify with any gender, or may describe themselves as fluid. Under the governments rules, these people are not as equal as you are. Please do something to show you actually care about people who are different.

Why the recent NUS policy changes are offensive



This is in response to the National Union of Students recent conference and the policies which they have voted in. There is a quick summary of that here.

An even quicker summary of these policies are:

  • ‘Dear White Gay Men: Stop Appropriating Black Women’.
  • ‘White gay men are the dominant demographic within the LGBT community, and they benefit from both white privilege and male privilege.’
  • ‘To issue a statement condemning the use of crossdressing as a mode of fancy dress’
  • ‘To encourage unions to ban clubs and societies from holding events which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use cross-dressing as a mode of fancy dress’.


Unpopular opinion time. I find what the NUS is doing all shades of offensive. First off, how dare they ban crossdressing! For years I myself identified as a crossdresser, my first time in public presenting as female was at a Halloween fancy dress party, I’ll never forget it as one of the most liberating experiences of my life and it set in motion a path which led to transition. By banning gender fluidity the NUS are actively discriminating against gender variant people who are yet to fully understand their gender, those who are still in the closet.

Yes for some crossdressers it is a fetish thing but don’t tar them all with the same brush. Even having fetishes isn’t necessarily  a bad thing, I have made some very good friends from both the fetish community and the TV/CD community, but the holier-than-though mindset some people seem to have is the most damaging issue facing the landscape of diversity and equality in the twenty-teens.

People always forget about the gay teen living on the streets of Saudi Arabia, the trans woman being exploited in Russia, now that in the UK we have laws to protect LGBT people there is a lot less to be truly scared of. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some massive inequalities, 25% of homeless 16-25 year old’s are LGBT, 46%  of trans* people attempt suicide to name just two statistics. But by focusing on things that really aren’t a genuine problem to peoples everyday lives the NUS are actually contributing to the polarisation of the battle for true equality rather than looking at the bigger picture and trying to find some common ground we can all agree on. Why aren’t they passing policies that tackle real problems?

For the NUS to pass a policy demanding that white gay men stop acting like black women really shows a distinct lack of awareness, that statement assumes that all women of colour act and talk the same, which is kinda racist in itself and the statement also reeks of homophobia. I agree that any white person, male, gay, straight or whatever claiming to have an ‘inner black woman’ is offensive but it’s also wilfully ignoring how global social influences have resulted in a blending and exchange of language and cultures. What right does the NUS have to set arbitrary limits on what is right and wrong? Can one single group honestly claim total ownership on entire parts of language and behaviours?

Saying that white gay men are have all the privilege is erasing those who are not ‘manly men’ as well, try telling the white gay man who has just been abused and beaten up in the street for being ‘too flamboyant’ or ‘too gay’ that he should have just used his privilege to appease the attackers.

Also, going to a large national conference, saying that the applause is triggering and demanding that everyone use jazz hands is exactly the same as walking in to McDonalds on your local high street and demanding everyone in the restaurant throw away their Big Macs and only order salad because you are on a diet. Just sayin’.


What do you think? Let me know in the comments…

The UK Government is killing trans people

I do not make such claims lightly but I can’t keep quiet this time. The UK Government is killing trans people. David Cameron, Jeremy Hunt, Simon Stevens, virtually every single politician and the NHS are all complicit in the deaths of transgender people in the UK. They are responsible for the broken lives of the families and friends of gender variant people, it is their fault that the mental health concerns of gender variant folk are ignored and exacerbated, forcing people like me into ever worsening positions, marginalised by the very people who are supposed to look out for us.

NEARLY HALF OF YOUNG TRANSGENDER PEOPLE HAVE ATTEMPTED SUICIDE read the shocking headline in The Guardian today.

A survey found that 48% of trans people under 26 said they had attempted suicide, and 30% said they had done so in the last year, while 59% said they had at least considered doing so.

By comparison, about 6% of all 16- to 24-year-olds say they have attempted suicide, according to the Adult Psychiatry Morbidity Survey.

The figures on suicide attempts by trans youth were higher than those found in previous studies across all age groups. A US study in 2006 found that 32% of all trans people had tried to take their own life. And the Trans Mental Health Study of 2012 (pdf) found that 35% had attempted suicide once, and 25% a second time.

The Pace research also found that 59% of transgender youth said they had deliberately hurt themselves, compared with 8.9% of all 16- to 24-year-olds.

The thing is though, these figures are not shocking to trans people, there have been studies that show time and time again how we are many orders of magnitude more likely than anybody else to attempt suicide, harm ourselves and have our mental and physical health suffer. We know these dreadful figures all too well, we live this every single day of our lives.

Imagine if the headline read “almost half of nurses have attempted suicide” there would be headlines on BBC news, outpourings of support from charities and everyday people. Instead the above Guardian article didn’t even make their front page, it’s hidden away under a ‘transgender’ section where only the people who have searched for it can find it.

The reasons why transgender people try to kill themselves are also well known, the NHS failing to properly fund gender identity clinics despite clear increases in demand, 11% year on year increase in referrals by GP’s and a 50% year on year increase in referrals for people under 18 to these clinics. The waiting lists have spiralled out of control, people now regularly wait more than 18 months to even see a gender specialist, waiting times for surgery are even more out of control, the doctors acting as gatekeepers, making us jump through impossible hoops to fit their dangerously outdated definitions of what it means to be transgender and worthy of their treatment.

People are dying and the government doesn’t care. Any human with an ounce of decency would read these figures and be shocked to their core yet the people in charge of gender identity services do nothing. You would think that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt would be shocked to hear how high the attempted suicide rate is for trans people, you’d think that these numbers would be so shocking to see that the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens would implore PM David Cameron to take action to stop the harm that is being suffered by UK transgender people, you’d think that any MP would kick up a fuss about this, you’d think at least something would be done, wouldn’t you?

The UK government is killing trans people by their inaction, it is the governments fault that the NHS gender identity services are in a chaotic crisis and failing UK trans people, it is their fault that our mental health needs are ignored, the government is responsible for the shattered lives of so many people.

Am I transgender?

A question I get asked all the time over email and during interviews with the press goes along the lines of the very simple ‘am I transgender? What next?’

I think that if a person is asking themselves if they are transgender in the first place then that means they are at least feeling a bit uncomfortable with their current gender role so the answer to this question is yes. The word ‘transgender’ is a bit of a catch all word to describe anybody who feels that there is a difference between how you experience your own gender and how everybody else perceives your gender to be. If gender is a wide panorama of possibilities rather than the restrictive, over simplifying male or female boxes people would have you believe, then transgender or gender variant can be used as terms to describe a heck of a lot of people.

If the answer to ‘am I transgender?’ is yes, it’s important that you know that this can mean almost anything you want, but most importantly, it doesn’t mean you have to do anything. Identifying as a transgender person doesn’t mean you will be forced to do something you don’t feel comfortable with, you don’t have to have surgery, you won’t even be forced into transitioning by some trans ninja mafia or something. Although these steps often help people who feel uncomfortable with their gender, there are no rules to being trans.

One of the things that I struggled to understand for years was that my experience of being trans didn’t fit the stereotype ‘trapped in the wrong body’ narrative, I just knew that the people I met everyday perceived me as male yet I knew that was wrong. Realising that I didn’t have to force my gender expression to fit into somebody else’s jelly mould was the one magic lesson which finally brought me some peace. Speaking to other gender variant people helped me come to this realisation, hearing their wide and varied stories about how they experienced and lived their individual gender showed me how we all must dance to the beat of our own drums if we ever want to be happy in our own skin.

If the answer to ‘am I trans? is yes then it’s also important to mention how for some, this means a long and difficult journey ahead. For the people who’s internal gender is so different to their external bodies that they will need to come out to their family and friends, transition and deal with all the challenges it brings. Transition is a period of time we talk about when somebody begins change their external gender expression, for me this meant that I changed my name and started to live my life as female. Transition is another open-ended term, for some this is a set period of time after which they will have finished and moved on to another state, but others believe that life is one big transition and the lines are a bit too blurry to say where one gender ends and the other starts.

If you think you are transgender you will need to help yourself though, I won’t sugar coat it, life is tough at times and there will be setbacks in the future. You’ll have a better chance of being happy if you reach out to other trans people, speak to people on the internet or even better, find a local support group where you can meet and chat with people who have similar experiences, working out who I’m not was far more important for me than working out who I am, if that makes sense. Speaking to a specialist gender identity doctor might be the next step, in the UK that will probably mean first asking to your GP for a referral to the NHS Gender Identity Clinic or if you can afford it, getting a private appointment with a specialist.

Gendered Intelligence have a great resource section if you would like to read more.

Please add your own links in the comments and I’ll edit them into this article over the coming days!


Challenging transphobia

When I started thinking about writing a children’s book that dealt with the subject of gender and trans people, one of the bigger issues I had to take into consideration was transphobia and how to challenge it. I try and be as positive as I can, still like to have faith in humans and didn’t naively think that a book that challenges traditional stereotypes would be completely without detractors. But the viciousness of these transphobes has taken me by surprise today.

I saw a link to a poorly written transphobic article by Kathy Shaidle, a professionally outraged writer, which used very abusive language so I called her out on Twitter. I won’t link to the ‘article’ as it’ll just give you a headache and the site owners more traffic.

Now I’ve called out a few people on their transphobia in the past and usually they are reasonable, I’ve blogged about some positive encounters and it’s always nice to feel that you’ve helped to change someone’s views or gently educate them about trans issues. But I didn’t expect the level of bitterness and hate that took up my afternoon today.

You name the tropes, Kathy Shaidle wheeled them out. Predictably I was called a “man,” “it,” and variations on the T word, culminating in her referring to me as a “future suicide” which was left a particularly bad taste in my mouth considering that it was World Mental Health Day today and how well known the suicide rates are for trans people across the world.

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Kathy knows what she’s doing, it doesn’t take an idiot to work out that using language such as this is offensive, she was deliberately using transohobia as a vicious weapon, carefully picking the words she imagined would be the most hurtful. What kind of person does this? What does it say about someone when they deliberately set out to try and cause as much damage to a stranger on the internet as they can? There’s not even any attempt at humour or intelligence behind this, just a common garden bigot and their professionally outraged attempt at courting controvesy.

This is the kind of thing some trans people have to face everyday. This kind of transphobia kills people. This is why a childrens book that teaches children it’s OK to be transgender is so important. I want nothing more than the next generation of adults to know that being gender variant is nothing to be ashamed of, rather that it’s simply a part of their being human which makes them unique and something to be proud about. My book is all about challenging bigotry and ignorance, promoting greater understanding and education as this is vital to empowering trans people to enjoy full, happy lives.

Of course Kathy would have an opinion on it…

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Brainwash other people’s kids? LOL! I just believe that children should be given the opportunity to explore their gender identities, to talk about stereotypes and to come to their own informed opinions. I believe that children should be encouraged to stand up to transphobia, just as they are taught about the harmful effects of homophobia, racism and other attacks on the more vulnerable members of our society.

Here’s a link to pre-order a copy of my book,

Together, let’s wipe out transphobia,

Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?

are you a boy or a girl a5 small version

Here is a link to the Kickstarter page for my book!


I am proud to announce that the crowd fundiing project to raise the money to print my first children’s book starts on Tuesday! Readers of this blog can get access to a limited number of discounted pre-orders, 30% off by ordering from on Tuesday 30th September!

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for more updates.

‘Are you a Boy or are you a Girl?’ is unlike any kind of children’s book you’ve seen before. With your help, we can talk gender creatively and with confidence, and assist parents and teachers the world over.

The problem with most of the books currently on sale for children is that they portray gender, something most of us know to be, in fact, quite flexible, to be fixed at birth.. And yet at least 1 in 100 people are born gender variant in some way and for some, not being open about their true gender can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering. Psychologically speaking, children need the space, freedom and encouragement to express themselves fully, before they can grow into happy adults.

For those of us who want to have this conversation with our children the hard part can be finding the right words. How do you explore concepts like; gender binary, biological sex, psychological gender, transgender, GenderQueer, and all those others lovely complex things to a child who thinks sticking a bean in their ear is the apex of awesomeness? The truth is that our children get a very binary experience of the world and trying to show them options other than Action Man or Barbie can seem an insurmountable task. ‘Are you a Boy or are you a Girl?‘ will simply open the dialogue with your child.Where that dialogue ends up, much like our gender-free protagonist, is up to you!

I would love for this book to be in every school, nursery and library in the world so am working with a wonderful charity called Gendered Intelligence to create an educational resource pack to send to schools, to equip them with the tools they need to better educate children about gender.


The Big Stonewall Meeting

My internet exploded today when news broke of The Big Stonewall Meeting With Trans People™ happening later this week. For those of you who been living in a tent on the island of Sark for the last few months, I’ll give a quick recap: The UK’s biggest LGB organisation is called Stonewall, they have a history of not supporting gender variant people, giving awards to transphobic journalists and more. Well, they’ve got a new Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt, and she is keen to make some changes with how the charity interacts with trans people, starting with meeting some actual trans people. I think this sounds like a great place to start.


I’ve known about this meeting for a while after I wrote to Ms. Hunt earlier this year, we set up a chat on the phone and I wrote about here. A couple of days ago I was sent an email with details of the meeting and list of people going and it was good to see almost fifty names of gender variant activists from all over the country, all of whom I respect and some I have had the pleasure to meet over the last few years. There is a broad mix of gender variant people who have all dedicated a good deal of their time, energy and skills to supporting the wider trans* communities, mostly unpaid, I must add. Stonewall have even paid for the travel and accommodation of those who can’t afford it. I don’t know how they decided who would be invited or not but from a quick look there seems to be a good representation of all minorities, there are some who have disabilities, people of colour, both binary and non binary, in fact the only cis people there will be three or four Stonewall employees. Here’s a list of them.


So, back to the exploding internet shenanigans. Predictively, there is chaos, this is the first time some have even heard of such a meeting and given the opportunity, they would have liked have had some input. I understand those reasons but am pretty sure Stonewall don’t intend for this to be the last consultation with gender variant people and even their resources are limited and hosting a meeting for fifty people doesn’t come cheap. Please, give it time and your voice will be heard, nothing is not going to change over night, this will hopefully be the first step of many and all options remain open.


Gender variant people in this country are beaten down from so many angles right now, the NHS gender service is in crisis, hate crime and harassment is rampant, the suicide, self harm and general mental health failings are taking their toll on all of our lives. We need all the help we can get and it seems that the biggest thing that helped lesbian and gay acceptance in the nineties was that straight allies started taking notice and standing up against homophobia. Stonewall wants to talk to us, nothing more, nothing less.


Let’s talk…