On the 23rd of November 2016 myself and a range of Fixers from Wales, England and Scotland travelled to London to attend the Feeling Happy With My Gender Fix event. As well as the main event happening in London, the charity went to a variety of different places to do some research to ensure that that get all of the opinions of Gender – fluid, Non Binary and Transgender individuals.
The main aim of the whole event was to get transgender/Non binary/Gender fluid individuals to share their own personal experiences within the Media, Home, Education, Health and Work. Each person’s personal experience would have been taken into account and added to the overall report.
Each and every individual had a different story to tell, each individual had different opinions and experiences which was key, because it ensured that everything and everyone was catered for. My own personal experience in 5 of the topics will be spoken about below:
- Work – I haven’t had many experiences of being transgender and working, the only issues I have really had is regarding uniforms, but each business I have worked for has ensured that I got the correct uniform each time.
- Health – Once again, where on earth do I start? My personal experience within the health sector hasn’t been good, but seeking help for my Gender Dysphoria has been a nightmare. When I came out, I had just finished my last session of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as my therapist thought I was okay for discharge. When I told her about how I felt, how I now identified and what I wanted to do now that I need to process the medical route she said that she would refer me to a psychiatrist which was perfect, that was what I needed. After 6 months of waiting for this appointment I contacted my therapist again and she said she had referred me when we first spoke about it so I thought Id wait a few more weeks. About 7 months after being referred I didn’t hear anything so once again I rang the hospital and they said the waiting list was still long so I waited longer. At around a year after mentioning to my therapist I went to my GP who educated himself on the whole process, he referred me to the mental health team and ever since I have been chasing them up. I haven’t heard anything and two years ago I gave up waiting and decided to go private, which has been the best possible idea known to man. One of my favourite quotes of the day was:
I went to the GP about a sore knee and they automatically assumed it was because I am transgender, it’s like they pinpoint all of your symptoms to be from being transgender which clearly isn’t the case.
And that quote tells a thousand words. – Our recommendation for the health side of transitioning was that GP services get training on what the processes are, what to do and what not to do as it seems that most GP’s around the country don’t seem to have an idea on what they’re doing. Secondly we suggested that we need to stop it feeling like you HAVE to tick boxes, as every transgender/non binary/gender fluid individual is different. Lastly we suggested that every doctor, mental health team, hormone specialist, surgeon etc need to have a network of communication between each other, to ensure that each and every individual within the transition process is being informed on whats happening next.
- Education – I came out when I was 15 years old so I was revising for my GCSE’s, taking mock exams and going through the stress of taking a test that would determine the rest of my life. Coming out during school has got to be one of the worst experiences I have ever chose. When I came out I had to educate staff members, pupils and everybody around me because they had no idea, which is dreadful as all staff members should be educated on issues that young people may be having issues with like sexuality or gender identity discovery. After coming out one of the issues that made me very angry was the fact that a teacher told me that I was confused, and that I should just act more feminine, which made me so angry. During school I went through a hard time of being bullied, which knocked my confidence and my self esteem as I felt as if I was never going to be accepted. School was always tough for me, so after my GCSE’s I decided to go to college. In my second year of college I decided to switch courses to Public Services which involved sports (lol) so I had to have a meeting with my head of course, he said he had changed all of my details to male on the system which made me feel so much better, but then he said that I wasn’t allowed to change with the boys nor the girls so I had to use the disabled toilets to change for practical lessons, which angered me because he made my life so much easier, but also made my life so much harder at the same time, I felt isolated, different and I did question whether this was going to be a normal routine. Thankfully the boys in my college class were lovely so they didn’t mind me using the male facilities. I am now in university, but I haven’t exactly come out the people in my classes, I have some of them on Facebook so they must know by now, but nobodies mentioned anything which is super positive! – Overall I personally think that all education establishments need to have some sort of LGBT+ Training, to ensure that they can help all members of the school and ensure that bullying, hate comments and lack of education is happening within the school.
- Home – One of the issues that was highlighted throughout the whole event was that family members of the individual who has come out doesn’t receive any support. In Newport there are no support groups for my Mum, Sister, Aunt or grandparents to attend which is something that should be around.
- Media – Oh boy where do I start within the media? My one and only comment within the media was a double page spread in a newspaper on a Sunday afternoon last summer, the front page of this newspaper stated ‘Sex change men to give birth on the NHS’ and the double page spread title was ‘March of the male Mums’ which made me so angry, every single term used within this article was transphobic, and not correct. The media is somehow targeting the transgender community and nobody seems to acknowledge that, which is heart breaking. Another form of media that was mentioned by myself was cyber-bullying, I have received death threats, abusive messages and other forms of abuse online so we thought of a recommendation to tackle that sort of issue. – For the media we recommended that we have a ‘Transgender look over’ so an individual who is transgender will get approached by local and national newspapers who are planning on publishing a story, to send a copy to this individual in charge to read over, and possibly make some recommendations to ensure that all language, phrases and information is correct within the article. Secondly for the cyber-bullying we suggested that on Twitter / Facebook etc you could have a tab that could allow you to block certain words / messages appearing onto your screen, for example if someone writes a tweet with the word ‘Tranny’ within it, then it will automatically get blocked from that individuals messages and timeline and notifications to ensure that they aren’t being targeted.
You can view our report here.
The two presenters on the panel were Stephanie Hirst who is a TV and Radio host, the second host was India Willoughby who is also a TV presenter. Both of these amazing women have been on TV both as male and female and now, they’re both amazing members and advocates within the Transgender community.
After the workshop in London we headed to the ITV Studios to talk on a panel in front of activists, key policy makers, politicians, health care workers and other key individuals within our society. We gave one example of what is happening in a key area and one recommendation for each one, the audience asked us all some fantastic questions and every individual on the panel was fantastic. If you would like to watch the panel discussion click here.
Going To Westminster:
On the 21st of February myself and Jayson Mcswiggan headed to Westminster to meet the Minister Of Equality’s Caroline Dinenage and discuss the report created by the young people who attended the workshops across the UK. Jayson spoke about the health side of things whilst I spoke about the education system and what is needed, like LGBT+ education in PHSE lessons. Caroline took all of our opinions, stories and thoughts into consideration and hopefully, she will make some changes soon.
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.