Newport is such a diverse City with a large range of ages. sexuality’s, genders, races, religions, ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Newport is probably one of the most diverse communities that I have ever experienced, which can have it’s positive and negatives.
When I came out in 2013 I was young, lost and accepting who I truly was. When I came out I felt as if I was the only transgender individual in Cwmbran and Newport which was scary. Like I said before Newport is such a diverse city, but when I came out it began to not be as diverse as I imagined it to be.
The simplest of tasks which should be simple, quick and easy would always be an issue. Some of the issues I had will be commented below:
- I remember being sat on a bus from my house into town, which is a 10 minute journey. Within that 10 minutes a mother and her daughter who was probably 18/19 were arguing about my gender, really loud. After at least 5 minutes discussing their reasons whether I am a boy or a girl the mother came up to me and asked me, which was just dreadful. I told her I was a boy and she felt the need to confirm it to everybody on the bus. – If I did that to those two women they would of kicked right off, so god knows why they thought it was acceptable to ask me.
- Public Bathrooms is something that every trans individual struggles with, and its one of my most darkest areas of transition. The amount of times I have been kicked out of toilets is unbelievable. It took me about 2 years into my transition to feel comfortable to go into the male toilets, so I was still using the female toilets. I can’t remember where I was exactly but I remember going to use the toilet and when I left the cubical I had a ton of abuse of these teenage girls, yes I was using the females, Yes I do identify as male, but I didn’t feel comfortable using the male toilets yet. These girls proceeded to make comments saying that I’m a lesbian and that I’m going to ‘rape them’ and more, it honestly broke me from the inside out.
- When I was a child I was a water baby, I went to swimming lessons, I was in a swimming team, I was basically born for the water. I stopped swimming when puberty started because I felt too self conscious to do it. Last summer I took my 4 year old cousin swimming for a few hours as I hadn’t of seen her. I took a white t shirt as I knew I wasn’t supposed to wear any other colour. I had been in the swimming pool for around 45 minutes before the life guard pulled me aside and mentioned that I either had to take this t shirt off, or I would have to leave the pool. I explained my situation and he said he can’t do anything. The fact that I had to drag a four year old child out of the swimming pool was worst as she wouldn’t leave at all, by the time she left the swimming pool she decided to lock herself in the cubicle, I am a dreadful cousin!
- Getting ID’d is something that always happens to me, I look about 12 so they need to make sure that I am actually 19. In many shops the individuals will look at my ID around 4 times, look me up and down and accuse me of using my Brothers ID which meant that I could never get served, which was a nightmare. You can see that it is me on my ID, so it always baffles me when this does happen.
I don’t live in Newport anymore, and I haven’t experienced any issues in around 8 months, but my main issue within Newport is LGBT+ Education is needed within schools, workplaces and everywhere, when I did my Fixers Project as a part of the broadcast for ITV Wales we asked some individuals within Newport what it meant to be Transgender and almost everybody that we questioned said ‘A man that dresses like a woman’ which shows that a lack of education is occurring within the community. But as I know now, that I am not the only transgender individual in Newport, and we all need to speak up about the issues that are happening.
Newport is now becoming much more accepting, and much more diverse community, Rainbow Newport has been set up by Adam Smith which is an amazing little organisation which helps improve LGBT+ Life within Newport. On the first of February they held Newport’s first LGBT+ event, which is a fantastic achievement, and the whole team are still doing some amazing things now! Check Rainbow Newport out here.
I have been nominated for an award!
I have recently been nominated for the positive role model within the LGBT+ Community, which is awarded by the national diversity awards here in the UK. If you would like to vote for me, check out the link here.