India Willoughby, transvestites deserve protection too


Hi India,

How are you? Years ago we used to frequent the same forum site so even though we’ve never met, I view you with the same fondness I feel for an old friend. Things have turned out great for you after coming out, you’re making a real positive change in peoples lives and I’m so happy for you. I’ll even admit to being a secret Loose Women watcher! I read your article in Pink News with a little sadness, not only because I disagree but also after reading your twitter feed, nobody deserves that kind of knee jerk reaction.

It’s all too easy at the moment for someone to claim transgender rights who isn’t actually transgender. And it’s making life dangerous. Soon, someone is going to get seriously hurt … Unless you are transitioning, stay out of the ladies. Pulling on a frock as and when the mood takes doesn’t cut it. You don’t have a God-given right to go into female-only spaces. … Transgender has become a horrible, vague word that makes no distinction between someone with a medical condition requiring intervention, and a bloke who likes to frock-up once a week.

I disagree here on a few points, first is that the word ‘transgender’ has always been a catch all term for many identities, it means different things to different people. It’s meaning isn’t and never has been used to describe only people who transition. Identities shift over time and to me, the word ‘transgender’ reflects that.

Before transition, when everybody thought I was a man, I had a big secret. I was so ashamed of this secret that at 25 I had never shared it with a single person I knew. I was a transvestite. I went to work on a building site during the day and in the evenings, pulled on a charity shop frock to relax. I didn’t know much about being trans but the adverts in the back on The Sunday People told me I was a dirty transvestite, something to be ashamed of.

I came out first to my then partner and some close friends as a transvestite and as I grew in confidence we would go to clubs and events on occasion. Each and every time would be a nerve wracking experience though, as I still carried the shame society put on me. The word ‘transphobia’ was still unknown to me but I was deathly afraid of being confronted by someone who read me. I still needed to use the bathroom and was faced with a transvestite dilemma; use the ladies or the mens. Presenting as female in the mens? I’d rather wet myself and accidentally on purpose spill a pint over my lap.

The often drunk men at their urinals scared the life out of me. They didn’t care whether I was a transvestite or a transsexual from outer space. So I stayed out of danger and used the ladies. You know what transvestites do when they use the loo? They pee, wash their hands, maybe fix their makeup and leave.

After coming out I discovered trans forum sites and for the first time in my life read about the experiences of other people like me. There were people who sat on almost every piece of the identity spectrum, from teenage transitioners seeking heartfelt advice through to cis men who just had a fetish and were role playing. My identity shifted in this period of self discovery too, first calling myself a TGirl, then transsexual and finally, I say I’m  a trans woman now.

The problem with saying ‘unless you’re transitioning, stay out of the ladies’ is that it puts people in danger, you talk of this being dangerous and that somebody is going to get hurt yet completely miss the danger that gender variant people will be put in by enforcing that rule. An attacker doesn’t care how someone identifies, there’s no get out of jail free cards dresses masculine 9-5. I was a muscled up builder by day but that meant nothing when a guy ripped my wig off and threw it across the dancefloor.

You ask what transvestites are risking by being themselves? Equality laws do not cover cross dressers who have no desire to transition. I have read the experiences of people who have lost their career because they were outed as a weekend dresser. Without the protection of the Equality Act I would say they risk more than us. Todays cross dressers, transvestites and TGirls might also be tomorrow’s trans women.

Like it or not, the trans umbrella covers all gender variant people and we as a community are only as strong as our weakest link. From the school age boy playing with a Barbie through weekend cross dressers, all the way to trans women, there are harmful stereotypes to be challenged and people who deserve equal protections.

I just think that we should be more inclusive, rather than dividing into smaller factions.





Trans women aren’t real

Of course trans people aren’t real! When you think about it, nothing is real. The images your brain sees are just countless photons reflected from the person you’re looking at, beamed from the sun, millions of miles away. There is a difference between something real and something existing, I can think real thoughts about unicorns dancing on a rainbow but unfortunately, that thought will never exist.

When for instance, people like Dame Jenni Murray says that “hormones and surgery don’t make trans women real women” they are trying to twist the argument from the outset. Trans women are real because I’m sat here writing this and I’m a trans woman. People like Jenni Murray are actually trying to say that trans women don’t exist. 

She’s trying to claim ownership over the concept of what makes a woman, how womanhood is defined. People who say that trans women aren’t ‘real’ women are projecting their own ideas based on their own experiences onto a large group of people who have their own subjective idea on the concept of being a man or a woman.

So what makes a person a man or a woman? Biology isn’t a yes/no thing and without getting into how varied hormones, chromosomes and primary sex characteristics are in the billions of humans, it’s fair to say the argument isn’t simple.

Being raised or socialised as a girl or boy is such a subjective thing too, different cultures around the world place all kinds of expectations on all genders. There are exceptions to every self imposed rule that mankind has invented to being male or female.

The reality is that the idea of what makes a real woman just doesn’t exist. It’s a unicorn dancing on a rainbow, an idea in someone’s head.

It’s kind of sad when someone says that trans women aren’t real because all they’re doing is desperately advertising their hatred in the hope that others will join in. On this occasion it’s Dame Jenni, last week it was someone else, their ideas about what makes a woman real are different to mine, yours and to every other woman and man on the planet. Trans women exist and it’s completely irresponsible to suggest that because another woman doesn’t live up to your ideas of womanhood she isn’t a real woman. It is up to each individual to decide, stop forcing your ideas on other people!

It’s almost exactly the same arguments used against gay people. In 2017 we shouldn’t have to waste energy pointing out how harmful these arguments are. I despair, I really do. 

Trans kids, who knows best, BBC or child abusers?


Last week on BBC Two a documentary ran called Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? On the surface it sounded objective enough until I read the description on the BBC’s website:

“where one of the world’s leading experts in childhood gender dysphoria (the condition where children are unhappy with their biological sex) lost his job for challenging the new orthodoxy that children know best.”

The main focus of the documentary was Doctor Kenneth Zucker who was fired from Canada’s gender identity clinic after a highly critical independant review of his treatments. He’s also known within trans circles for his involvement with classifying trans people as having a mental disorder in the the standard classification of mental disorders (DSM-V) used by mental health professionals.

Zucker was fired because he practiced so called conversion therapy on transgender kids. I don’t need to go into how detrimental conversion therapy can be to vulnerable young people, the debate has long been settled by adults who have been through these awful experiences when they were young.

There were complaints too from some patients about the use of one-way mirrors, having their pictures taken without permission and too many questions about their sexual preference. One patient reported being called “a hair vermin” by Dr. Zucker when he stripped to the waist on request. A nine-year-old patient [was] asked about what made him sexually excited during his first meeting with a clinician in the initial assessment.

Reparative or conversion therapy is abuse. Doing that to a child is child abuse. Doctor Kenneth J. Zucker is a child abuser.

The documentary was a transphobic and hamfisted attempt to play the devils advocate, Lies and mistruths were abundant, such as the ‘80% of gender variant children just get over it’ lie, debunked here. It wasn’t until almost at the end of the documentary that it was pointed out that no children are ever given hormones until they are 16 and the surgery age limit is 18, which went against what was heavily implied throughout the whole documentary.

The filmmakers carted out some transphobic parents in an effort to make their point despite the independent review of Zuckers practices found that the concerns of parents about their children’s gender identity were often put ahead of what the best medical decision for the child might be. This is especially an issue for children who are gender-variant, as some parents might harbour transphobic views. The consequences of these decisions could be severe. The report details one instance when an older teenager was not referred for gender-affirming hormones because their parent disapproved. Of eight former GIC clients in the review that had very positive feedback about their experiences with the clinic, seven of them were the parents of patients — only one was a former patient.

A lot of people have complained to the BBC about the documentary and this is their response:

The response is quite insulting when you think about it, the “significant contributions from his critics” consisted of one trans man and less than 5 minutes screen time from actual gender identity specialist doctors. This is the kind of shameful concern trolling that gay people endured during the 80’s and 90’s, would a documentary featuring a doctor claiming to be able to cure gay children straight be given the same treatment?

There is a reason that transgender people are a protected characteristic under the Equality Law, right alongside other things that people have no control over, like sexuality, race and disabilities. The BBC would never show a documentary that featured a doctor who tells blind people that they just need to try harder at being cured without some serious scrutiny and explanation as to why they are delusional.

There are now volumes of scientific studies which show the benefit of supporting gender variant children to live how they want to live and express their gender in whatever way feels right to them. This is not a debate. Nobody is forcing transition on children and most importantly, there is no doctor allowing young people to take medication before they are 100% clear, consistent and insistent that they are gender variant and they are old enough to make those decisions.

By airing such an uncritical documentary which painted a child abuser as a maverick, forced out by “transgender activists” (no joke, Zucker actually claimed this) it is patently clear that someone high up at the BBC either supports or endorses his view that transgender kids don’t know best and can just be cured of their dirty transsexualism.

A dark day for the BBC.





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 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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 00.12.22

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…

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 13.40.18

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,

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…