Trans Pride Brighton – A Retrospective


Trans Pride Brighton

Another year has passed and once again I’m sat in my living room, wearing pyjamas in the afternoon and welling up with pride thinking of all that happened over the last few days. Every year in the stressful few weeks before Trans Pride I mutter to myself that I’m never doing this again but in the days following each year, I’m reminded why we all work so hard to give our communities this one weekend to celebrate who we are and I cannot imagine life without it.

When some people on social media talk about Trans Pride Brighton they often mention Fox and me but seem unaware of the monumental effort put in by all the other committee members so I just want to take a moment to give some deserved credit to these people. We all volunteer our time through the year, this adds up to hundreds of hours of commitment and lost sleep.

In no particular order; our project manager, Phoenix Thomas who has motivated me more than anyone before, stepping down this year to concentrate on bigger and better things. We wish you well, Phoenix, without you Trans Pride Brighton wouldn’t be where it is today. Thank you.

Stephanie Scott, who works tirelessly with the local trans communities isn’t given enough credit either, they have been with Trans Pride since the very beginning and has steered the committee through tough times and good. Thank you.

Vern Collins is our Chief Volunteer Wrangler which is another thankless task, this year was especially difficult with volunteers going AWOL but Vern rose above the stress and handled it wonderfully. Thank you.

Angela Green is new this year but she has settled in quickly helping to arrange the acts on stage and the gig on Saturday evening, her help with putting out the last minute fires made sure that Trans Pride was a storming success. Thank you.

Darren O’Donoghue managed the stage for the second year, his organisation and people skills made sure that the afternoon ran smoothly and I hope we can use more of your skills over the winter. Thank you.

Kai Moore is another new member who has proved themselves invaluable this year, Maeve Devine with her Allsorts hat on helped with making Trans Pride family friendly, Christina Niewiadowski brought great energy to the committee, Roni Guetta and Giorgia Dainese organised the amazing Traumfrau afterparty, Sharon Kilgannon, Christina Bentley and Kate Adair taking photos and film to document the now historic Trans Pride. Thank you.

To those who I’ve missed out, I’m sorry, my brain is still all melted and forgetful. Thank you too. The support we’ve received makes it worthwhile, when we started out I remember us deciding that the first Trans Pride Brighton would be a success if 300 people turned up and now we have an attendance well into the thousands.

With Trans Pride growing so fast comes another set of problems though, how do we keep our ethics without selling out? The vultures are beginning to circle. This year we had some people turn up from North Wales to sell a trolley full of rainbow flags and typical Pride tat, they turned up and asked to be allowed on site, promptly misgendered two committee members and said it was OK because they had a gay son. Just one example of how we must guard ourselves from being exploited.

I saw a poster with the phrase “Nothing About Us Without Us” and I think that sums up the whole committees feelings well. One of our policies is to make sure that any community group we work with has a provable history of directly helping trans people, we will not allow ourselves to be exploited by someone who wants to make themselves look good but can’t back that up with actions, or by those who want to make a quick profit from trans people without feeding it back into our communities.

The committee have always wanted Trans Pride to be able to pay back into the community, from simple things like being able to help with the volunteers lunch and travel costs to bigger projects which make the every day lives of trans people better. More than just one weekend in July. To do this we must solve the funding issue, the donations from our communities haven’t increased at the same rate as the attendance numbers but because trans communities are so marginalised we are way more likely to be poor. We must explore other methods of fundraising, awards and grants in the future to keep our event a grassroots, community effort.

The vision set out for Trans Pride has always been to be different from other Pride events around the country, for us to never become commercialised, sponsored by some corporation with dubious ethics and a spotty trans awareness record. We must protect our communities from being exploited and also keep up with the continued growth of our amazing event.

The future for Trans Pride Brighton is looking rosy, we are so thankful for the outpouring of support from trans people and their allies. We will continue to improve whilst keeping in mind that phrase, ‘nothing about us without us‘.


Five Things I’ve Learnt In Five Years Of Transitioning

This week marks the fifth anniversary since arriving in England, taking a leap into the unknown and burning all my man clothes, my tranniversary, as I like to call it. It’s been a crazy five years but the five before that were pretty crazy too, I’ve never had a normal life and I kinda like it that way. I’ve heard people use the phrase ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to describe a few of the things I’ve been involved in since transition, My Transsexual Summer, the book, Trans Pride Brighton, etc. But I’ve always believed that people are offered these opportunities surprisingly often and that taking a chance isn’t the same as taking a risk.

So without further adoo, and if you’ll excuse the odd cliche, here’s the five biggest lessons from the last five years.

  • Transitioning is the best thing I’ve ever done. 

I know this might be stating the obvious but we talk about the negatives so often, it’s easy to forget just how awesome living true to yourself is. I’ve heard it said that if you think you’re trans, you probably are and I think that’s true, transitioning was the last unanswered question in my life and facing that head on has allowed me to actually see a future for myself. I wake up and I don’t hate everything, I look in the mirror and I’m starting to really like myself, transitioning is literally the best thing ever.

  • You don’t have to kill him

The biggest thing that held me back from transitioning was thinking I’d have to stop doing certain things I loved, Formula 1 and bacon on a Sunday morning, getting muddy and climbing trees… I’ve learnt how important it is to make peace with the person I was before transition, I can’t deny that person ever existed just as much as I can’t deny my excitement over this Sundays British Grand Prix.

  • Cis people are patronising as hell

“Aww, I just wanna tell you how brave I think you are, y’know, being a transsexual…” Shut up, I think you’re brave by showing me how you really feel about me. I imagine that people with visible disabilities can relate to this, a pitiful pat on the head, a ‘you could never be as normal as I am but well done for trying.’ It usually comes from cis people who actively support the trans cause so instead of challenging it, I just grumble under my breath and pretend it didn’t happen.

  • Social transition blew my mind

People who think that trans people or transitioning is all about genitals are idiots. I lived for 18 months without any kind of medical intervention but my identity was fully accepted by everyone I met. It’s easy to focus on hormones, surgeries and the nitty gritty of transition but the realisation that my dysphoria was more about how other people perceived my gender changed everything.


  • Never hold back

Back to these once in a lifetime opportunities. The first morning after arriving in the UK I woke up in Swansea and within half an hour I was sitting in front of a TV camera answering questions about my identity that I hadn’t even begun to think about. I am not a morning person and as I awkwardly tried to answer these strangers who had camped out in my bedroom it occurred to me that if I was gonna do this transition thing, if I was gonna do this documentary thing, I had to let go of my own issues. I knew that I would make mistakes, that I would look back in the future and wish I could have done some things differently but I had to throw myself into this experience and hope for the best. I’m so glad I did.


My Drunk Miss Transgender UK BBC Three Review

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 16.16.39

The show opens with a shot of woman’s naked body, covered by just a sparkly thong and nipple pasties followed by a plinky-plonky woe is me speech from someone who isn’t feeling confident. How original. Trans women are sex objects and we hate ourselves. It’s 15 seconds into this documentary and because of the rules of Transgender-On-TV-Trope Bingo, (snappy title, huh?) I have to down a shot of vodka and two fingers of Czech beer. (See below if you wanna play along too)

Next up, there’s a shot of a trans woman doing her makeup. I check the bingo card, a shot of whiskey it is then. The next shot is literally trans women fighting, I pick the “wildcard” in the centre and down more whiskey as the melodramatic voiceover lady says

“But they’re not just fighting for first place, they’re battling to be accepted for the women they were born to be.” For fucks sake, I’ve gotta down a whole glass of beer now! I’m sick a little in my mouth but it’s ok, I swallowed it! Nobody need ever know! Hic.

The plinky plonky music has carried on for more than 5 minutes, which means more vodka. It doesn’t go down very well and I feel my stomach contracting and I fight with all my might not to make a mess of the rug in my living room.

Nine minutes in and the trans women are sex workers trope comes up and I begin to seriously question my life choices. Whiskey again. Courtney is a recovering addict and wants to raise awareness about how trans women can get trapped in the sex industry. I fucking love her, fuck yes! Ok, still a trope, but power to you, girl! On another note, my tummy has made an executive decision to not have any more alcohol for at least the next ten minutes, we’re 8 minutes in and at this rate, I’ll either run out of alcohol or die from alcohol poisoning. And I’m not even being dramatic.

I’ve had to pause the video because I can’t type and watch TV at the same time, I’m kinda squinting with one eye, focusing on typing this, thank His Noodly Appendages for squiggly red line spell checker!

I throw one of my cats stuffed mice at the TV as Jai is misgendered, made out to be an attention seeker and called a tra**y to her face by her ex boyfriend, I swear loud enough for Bruce (my cat) to jump awake and bang his head on the heater. We’re 16 minutes in and I well up for Jai.

The next scene jolts me to my senses, the regional heats. Another itsy-bitsy bikini-clad body dances up and down a stage in front of a panel of judges, I wonder if they marked the girl down because she was wearing a bra and not nipple pasties? What rules do these masters of the trans universe judges have? I bet it’s like ‘theme tune must be sexy plinky plonky music’ or bonus points for sexy air humping. Also, the venue they’re holding it in looks tacky as fuck.

It’s at this point I very nearly noped the fuck out but decide to bravely press on. It’s a shitty job but someone’s gotta do it. Half an hour in and we have Kellie Maloney on t’BBC going on about how this transgender beauty pageant isn’t just about looks. Err, do you think I’m fucking stupid or something, love? We’re thirty minutes in and we’ve already seen more naked, writhing flesh than the average teenage boys weekly porn consumption!

Courtney is also on live TV and brings up how some young trans girls are sucked into sex work, she says not enough is done to help these women. She’s fucking wonderful. When news of this reaches the pageant there is uproar! Crikey! There are candid cam shots of people slut shaming her. WTF. Real life facts are that some trans people are reluctantly trapped in sex work and that is hell for them, I’m not saying that’s true for all trans sex workers but we need to acknowledge this problem for some.

I’m not even going to get into the fight scene. WTAF… Courtney is talking about how she hoped to use the prize money to escape sex work. We’re literally watching the exploitation of trans women on national fucking television. ‘As long as you’re a beautiful enough, trans enough, privileged enough woman, we’ll use your desperation to sell an entertainment show to the BBC!’

It’s not just manipulation of sex workers though, the organisers are offering a grand prize of a vagina! Yes you read that right, the winner of this competition will get free lower surgery with some unheard of quack doctor in India! I heard the perfect analogy a few weeks back, imagine if there was a Miss Cancer UK and the prettiest cancer patient gets free private chemo? Why the fuck is this shit on my telly? What has gone wrong at BBC Three where they think that this is an acceptable piece of television? I can imagine the conversation in the BBC director general’s office, ‘here’s a lovely big carrot you nasty little trans women, now dance motherfuckers, dance!’

These women are being exploited. This show is being dressed up as sympathetic to trans women but it is thinly veiled transphobia. The BBC have endorsed this.

I wanted this blog to be about a happy, tipsy, piss taking type thing but it’s just made me angry. There’s this big ‘you’re not trans enough’ argument that breaks out at the end and I can’t even be arsed writing about how stupid that is.

I wrote this not to attack the people who took part in this show, telling your stories on television is a courageous thing to do and I admire you for it, pageants aren’t my thing but fair play.

I wrote this to point out how stupid the very idea of having a panel of judges giving trans women marks out of ten on how womanly or sexy she is. You can blab on however much you like about wanting to raise awareness and shit but when you have nearly naked trans women parading around for a baying crowd in the hopes of being publicly acknowledged as trans enough to win surgery, your argument means jack shit. The sponsors, organisers and the BBC literally have manipulated vulnerable trans women into brawling on TV, fighting for surgery.

I have to go now, I’m drunk as fuck and I think this time I’m actually going to throw up.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 16.12.32

Here’s my bingo card, please excuse the shittyness of my computer skills and the fact that I forgot to put the drinking rules in. I made those up and now I’m wasted. I love lamp.

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!