On Sunday I clicked onto Facebook and the first thing I came across was an article made by the Sunday Times – which said “Child sex-change charity Mermaids handed £500,000 by national lottery, which was posted by the page Woman’s Place UK.
First thing first, Mermaids isn’t a “Child sex-change charity”. Mermaids is a charity that provides support and different services to children under the age of 18 who are transgender, or children who are gender-nonconforming. Mermaids doesn’t do anything medical with young people, they only sign post parents to the correct services or professional individuals who may help these young children.
Secondly, children under the age of 18 within the UK cannot have any medical procedures done, the only thing young people can have is hormone blockers – which delays the physical affects that puberty can have.
Mermaid DESERVES the grant, the work they do for families and young people is critical. There are no other services for young transgender & gender-nonconforming young people within the UK. So their services is needed, the funding is needed and the work that they are doing is needed.
When I came out my mum needed support, she needed guidance and she needed someone to help her understand what I was going through. I wish I knew about mermaids then as they could of helped her an awful lot, I know now that mermaids is an incredible charity that helps the most vulnerable and the most stigmatised community ever and the work they do is incredible. If the national lottery does end up cancelling their funding then I will stand by their side to ensure that they do receive the money that they need to help more young people.
As soon as I read the article I had to comment as so many people were being transphobic, and very hurtful towards young people. One comment that I came across was “maybe if less of us had not “minded our own business” less children would have been groomed by gangs of men. Ending in the children being sexually abused by men.
Now, the same techniques are being used to push children into not only a life of taking medication but to have their bodies deformed by surgery”. This angered me an awful lot, transgender young people aren’t being groomed by anybody, young transgender people aren’t being forced into taking medication, or to have surgery (which they can only access after the age of 18 so they’re no longer children).
As someone who knew they were transgender when they were 14 years old, and I came out when I was 15 years old. Nobody forced me to come out, nobody forced me to be “someone I’m not”, nobody forced me into taking medication or to physically transition. Every decision that I have made I made on my own accord, and nobody has pushed me into this. I had teachers in secondary school and college telling me that I should stop “lying to myself, and just be a woman” – and most young trans people experience this everyday. It’s degrading, it’s heartbreaking and it’s hard to try to be yourself in a society where Nobody accepts you for who you truly are.
The individuals who sit behind a computer screen on a daily basis and slander young transgender people, their families and the services that can help them don’t understand what it is like, they don’t understand what struggles the young person goes through on a daily and they don’t understand how it feels to watch your child struggle and watch your child being bullied, shamed and harassed online because of who they are.
- Imagine having to bury your child because they ended up killing themselves because they weren’t accepted as a transgender person.
- Imagine your child come home from school on a daily basis with bruises and tears running down their face because yet again they have been a victim of a transphobic attack.
- Imagine your child being harassed and bullied online on a daily basis by fake profiles, her peers and her friends.
- Imagine waking up everyday dreading what your child may do or say.
Those individuals who bully young transgender people online only care about the medical side of things – which DOESN’T happen until they’re 18 years of age. Hormone blockers is given to young people but it only delays puberty so it doesn’t have any physical issues for young people.
The individual’s don’t care about the mental well-being of these young people, the individuals don’t care about the physical well being of these young people. I honestly don’t expect them to understand the issues that transgender people face but some basic education can help them and help them understand that young people do have a life, they do have the right to be themselves and they do have the right to be honest.
I hurt myself because I couldn’t be myself, I tried to commit suicide because I couldn’t be myself, I got assaulted for being myself – but do these people care? no. They only care about what I as a young person had in between my legs.
83% of transgender young people are bullied or harassed in school. 60% of transgender young people have been threatened. 35% of transgender young people have been physically assaulted. 89% of young transgender people have through about committing suicide. If these statistics aren’t worrying then society is missing the point. Young transgender people need protecting and at the moment, the media or society aren’t protecting them.
David Davies, an MP in Monmouth has been very open about his transphobic views over the last few years. Last summer he caused havoc in the South Wales Argus when he mad very transphobic comments towards transgender women, he has described same sex marriage as “barking mad” and his most outrageous comment was; “I think most parents would prefer their children not to be gay, knowing most parents want grandchildren if nothing else.”
David has once again shared his views and he has said that he is “Absolutely horrified that the big lottery fund are handing out a fortune to this aggressive organisation”.
David and his views are very hurtful, not only towards LGBT+ people, but to those in his constituency. This year I hosted Monmouth’s first ever youth pride, which for me was huge. We celebrated who we truly are in his constituency, that we are here and we will always be here.
I would love to meet up with David and have an informal talk, as I would love to just explain to him what is is like to be transgender, what it is like to be a young transgender person and I would love to explain what we face in this day and age – but an old man will never change his views so I can’t do anything.
In 2014 I kept a diary and I came across a poem that I wrote when I was 16 & 17;
It’s what’s on the inside that counts;
It’s what’s on the inside that counts, or so Id love to believe, but for some reason people don’t seem to perceive.
I’m told it’s just a phase, and my body is disregarded. Told my identity is based on what is in between my legs, and not where my heart is …
But thing’s aren’t always how they’re seen, eyes don’t show the truth and mirrors do lie. But society doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a transgender teen.
At 11 I wanted to die, a continuous battle of self harm, continuously wanting to cry.
At 15 I wanted to try, I kept thinking “Why me, why”.
At 17 I’m alive, a transgender male, learning to succeed and strive.
You see, what’s on the inside counts. Because I am simply being me.
I will have to betray the person I was born as, to reach happiness and succeed and be the man that god intended me to be.