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UNITED KINGDOM

Male to Male relationships: Legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: No law
Female to Female Relationships: Legal
Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals
Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: Equal/almost equal substitute nationally recognized

Your Views

Are you LGBTI? We want to hear from you! Help us inform other users of the site with your views on this country. Below is a random question about this country. If it is relevant to you please answer it.

Do you feel safe when gathering with other LGBTI people in public spaces in UNITED KINGDOM?

The majority of people visiting this site have said Yes

No, there is no police protection (0 %) No, the police might harass us (0 %) No, owners of establishment won’t allow us to gather (0 %) Yes (100%)

The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in UNITED KINGDOM...
Dr Jane Andrews (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for readers on 02/04/2014 tagged with gender identity
link
1
Transgendered Isolation
A short essay for the public
April 2013
Internal Isolation
The usual reaction to the initial realisation of gender dysphoria is one of self-denial. It is a shock to realise that you desire to be of the opposite gender. This is quickly followed by feelings of shame, guilt and fear. Shame that you are not able to be part of the gender that you were assigned at birth, guilt that this is something that should be suppressed and, fear that one will be found out.
The fear of your peers and their reactions also meant that these feelings were further suppressed . Finally, there is disbelief that this could be possible, how can it be that I a normal healthy boy, could want to be a girl?
Much later I realised that I was not gay, and I feared the idea of being attracted to men, these fears passed with transition.
All this initial experience leads very suddenly to isolation. One can become withdrawn, shy, bullied and depressed. The ensuing lack of self-confidence means that one stands on the outside of one’s social network, and indeed the population at large.
Who do you talk to, what do you say, do you even want to talk about it?, the first temptation is to talk to a close friend, but the risk of losing their friendship or of incurring their wrath usually means that this is not an option until much later.
The idea of talking to parents, doctors or school teachers is so full of trepidation that it is often impossible. So the early seeds of isolation are sewn and as the years go by the sense of shame becomes ever greater.
The child with gender dysphoria is often extremely sensitive and withdrawn, coping with their situation often involves cunning, deceit and solitude. So they become isolated and lonesome. They will have few friends - if any, and will prefer their own company.
It is not that long ago since transexualism was unheard of and, if diagnosed often involved mental institutions and electric shock treatment. So even if the individual was aware of the condition, openly confessing to the same was not something to be taken at all lightly. Only with enlightenment has the situation improved, to the point where now there is compassionate and understanding
2
treatment. Part of the reluctance to speak out was the perception that one would have to somehow convince others that one was in earnest and sincere. This could be seen as a daunting, uphill battle that put many off from speaking out.
Even today, the emphasis on sex, orientation and other sexual conditions far out way the gender issue of gender dysphoria. This imbalance of view is most unhelpful to both the client and the clinician. The emphasis should be on the gender aspect of the condition not the sexual characteristics of the client.
Domestic Isolation
Further isolation and suppression is brought about by the domestic situation of the individual. Parents can be hostile to gender dysphoria and find it almost impossible to accept that one of their own could be a victim. The fear of the parents reactions mean that the client will often say nothing until much later in life. This is a mistake, but understandable. Brothers and sisters also pose threats to our client, few will be able to understand or accept the situation. The prospect of bullying and ridicule put off any hope of coming out.
Then there is the larger family, in-laws Aunts, Uncles, cousins and so on, they all have to accept the situation or there will be tensions within the family group. There are friends and neighbours who will all have opinions and views which may well be hostile. And so the pressures mount, and our gender dysphoric child is expected to take on these responsibilities by stating that they wish to be a girl or a boy. Clearly, even the most confident and out going individual is going to be challenged by such a weight of responsibility.
For those later in life, often they are married with children, more issues with which to grapple. Partners who were unaware of the condition rarely are supportive of the individual, and children can be difficult to keep on side. Even if the partner is supportive, there is still the business of telling family members and hoping for their support. All too often family support is withdrawn and hurtful family situations can and do arise. Loss of family and especially children is one of the main reasons so many gender dysphoric clients leave coming out until late in life.
So the isolation of our individual is almost complete. They can be ensconced in a family with other children or with children of their own and, yet be totally isolated, alone in a crowd. Unable to socialise or converse even at the most basic level, and so will seek their own company. Many attempt to out strip the gender dysphoric feelings by getting married, having children, joining the army or other services, appearing overtly male, (in the case of male to female transgender), But mostly the gender dysphoria will out, and by then the damage is done.
3
So we have touched on the “self” and the “domestic”, but later in life comes the public situation.
Public Isolation
Our individual has somehow survived the “self” and the “domestic”, but later they are faced with the “public” context of gender dysphoria. If employed then the employer has to be made aware of the situation. This can mean several things. Loss of job, lower earnings or demotion. Today we are blessed with legislation which protects against discrimination, but that was not always the case. Even today it can be a lengthy fight to protect our rights. Fortunately much has changed for the better, but still there is the trauma of telling employer and work colleagues of the impending change that is going to take place. This leads on to friends and social groups, they all have to know and what has until now been an intensely private and suppressed condition is now suddenly threatening to go “public”.
For younger individuals, the head teacher or member of staff and, all their friends will soon know of the change. This can lead to bullying, discrimination and ostracising of the individual.
For some the whole prospect of going public is just too much, so it is put off until a later date. Friends can be another cause for isolation, all too often they reject the individual and the friendships break down. Although there is definitely more awareness of gender dysphoria now than ever before, there are still barriers to acceptance and integration, and our client knows this.
All too soon other things start to become of great importance, the voice, the beard, the G.P., N.H.S. Funding, Transphobic attacks, privacy and fears, all these things, which up until now have not been particularly important take on new and worrying dimensions.
So the public isolation of our client becomes clear. Suddenly how our voice sounds becomes of ever greater importance, strenuous efforts are made to overcome years of overtly male/ female speaking. The beard takes on new proportions of ugliness, making a feminine appearance all but impossible. The family G.P. suddenly becomes a close ally hopefully in referral for treatment and the prescribing of the all important hormones, N.H.S. funding becomes a new topic of intense interest, as treatment for gender dysphoria is progressed, and Transphobic attacks are something of an innate interest since now one is a potential victim.
4
The desire for privacy now becomes almost obsessive as more and more of our true self is put in the public domain. The only thing which our client desires is acceptance, not the prissy, overtly patronising but plain simple acceptance. This is who I am, and I just want a life.
Resultant Isolation ( over 60’s)
Much later in life, all these pressures to being isolated have a cumulative effect. The main problem is one of self-confidence, quickly followed by a sense of low self-worth. By now, if all the obstacles to becoming one’s self has been overcome, one can still be left with a sense of little self-worth, and even less self-confidence, family has all but gone, friends have long since disappeared retirement looms and one’s social circle is small if extant at all. Basically we are alone, frightened persecuted and vulnerable. For many the home is their safety, and if that is safe then we are safe, stepping outside the home on the other hand offers many fears and anxieties. Have we got the voice right, has the years of electrolysis worked, is our appearance one of integration, are we safe, safe from physical and verbal abuse, are we a target, do we inadvertently make our home a target, or our car or personal possessions. Are we an object of ridicule, are we accepted?.
All these issues add to the sense of isolation that many feel, the lack of a social life is possibly the worst of all to bear if you crave acceptance and company. Being alone can seem as if one has failed, failed to make the grade as a human being, and it adds further to the sense of isolation that one experiences.
The loss of family and friends is a bitter blow for anybody, but for the Transgendered it is particularly hard, for they have done nothing wrong, only to have been blighted by gender dysphoria. Coming to terms with this condition is in itself a triumph, being accepted by the wider community is the icing on the cake. So if one has been able to accept who they really are, then half the battle is won. It is for the rest of the world to catch up, and recognise that these men and women are just that, men and women.
External Isolation
The media,( T.V., radio, newspapers) have a lot to answer for. Their portrayal of the Transgendered community is often overtly offensive and derisory. There are exceptions, Channel 4’s My Transsexual Summer was a fair insight into the lives of these brave men and women. And ITV’s My Dad is My Mum was particularly well done. But sadly these examples are all too rare, leaving the Transgendered isolated from public life. Public awareness is so important to us, but the right type of awareness, mini skirted trannies clubbing and drunk do no-one any good, but it makes for good T.V..
5
The public are not stupid, they respond to the well-meaning and the decent, it is this sort of awareness that we should encourage. The work of the many groups and charities for the trans community should get more support from the media, and more public awareness. In this way we will reach our goal of acceptance.
Government legislation has gone a long way towards encouraging more Transgendered individuals to come out. The Gender Recognition Certificate is of particular importance, allowing us to assume the full identity of who we really are, with the redrafting of our birth certificates and rights to pensions it all helps to make us the integrated citizens that we truly are. Of course there is a long way to go, but progress is being made, and thanks here are due to Press For Change and the hard work they do on our behalf.
Commercial acceptance is also of the greatest importance, for it would include us, not isolate us. If the thousands of shops, pubs and clubs would encourage us to use the “ladies”, (or the gents), as our demeanour dictates, then life could be so much simpler, if the staff at these establishments were gender aware, how much more pleasant would be our experience, and how much more we would spend!, if the assistant were to call us madam (or sir) as our presence dictates, how much more included would we feel.
Conclusion
There are ways to help reduce the isolation felt by so many Transgendered individuals. More public awareness and education would be of great help, schools should also enlighten their students, and funding for the many charities and organisations should be increased. The media also have a role to play, in responsibly publicising the issues of gender dysphoria.
Gender Action UK is there to help others, be they in childhood, at school or college, at work or unemployed and retired. It is a charity which has premises in the Medway Towns, membership is from as little as £100 per year. Members are welcome to come along to their weekly meetings drop-in sessions on a Wednesday, GAUK works closely with the NHS, the local authority and the police, as well as schools and colleges in the area.
There are many other organisations and charities who work to offer support, too many to list here, but if individuals contact GAUK, (01634 723339), or view our website: www.gauk.org, then we can put them in touch.
So there really is no need to struggle on alone, isolated and afraid, there are
6
many routes out of isolation but the initial contact has to be made by the individual, this is why it is so important that funding for publicity and rent is made available to charities and organisations.
Jane Andrews MBA BA (Hons)
April 2013
01634 723339
add response to story
Dr Jane Andrews (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for readers on 02/04/2014 tagged with gender identity
link
1
Transgendered Isolation
A short essay for the public
April 2013
Internal Isolation
The usual reaction to the initial realisation of gender dysphoria is one of self-denial. It is a shock to realise that you desire to be of the opposite gender. This is quickly followed by feelings of shame, guilt and fear. Shame that you are not able to be part of the gender that you were assigned at birth, guilt that this is something that should be suppressed and, fear that one will be found out.
The fear of your peers and their reactions also meant that these feelings were further suppressed . Finally, there is disbelief that this could be possible, how can it be that I a normal healthy boy, could want to be a girl?
Much later I realised that I was not gay, and I feared the idea of being attracted to men, these fears passed with transition.
All this initial experience leads very suddenly to isolation. One can become withdrawn, shy, bullied and depressed. The ensuing lack of self-confidence means that one stands on the outside of one’s social network, and indeed the population at large.
Who do you talk to, what do you say, do you even want to talk about it?, the first temptation is to talk to a close friend, but the risk of losing their friendship or of incurring their wrath usually means that this is not an option until much later.
The idea of talking to parents, doctors or school teachers is so full of trepidation that it is often impossible. So the early seeds of isolation are sewn and as the years go by the sense of shame becomes ever greater.
The child with gender dysphoria is often extremely sensitive and withdrawn, coping with their situation often involves cunning, deceit and solitude. So they become isolated and lonesome. They will have few friends - if any, and will prefer their own company.
It is not that long ago since transexualism was unheard of and, if diagnosed often involved mental institutions and electric shock treatment. So even if the individual was aware of the condition, openly confessing to the same was not something to be taken at all lightly. Only with enlightenment has the situation improved, to the point where now there is compassionate and understanding
2
treatment. Part of the reluctance to speak out was the perception that one would have to somehow convince others that one was in earnest and sincere. This could be seen as a daunting, uphill battle that put many off from speaking out.
Even today, the emphasis on sex, orientation and other sexual conditions far out way the gender issue of gender dysphoria. This imbalance of view is most unhelpful to both the client and the clinician. The emphasis should be on the gender aspect of the condition not the sexual characteristics of the client.
Domestic Isolation
Further isolation and suppression is brought about by the domestic situation of the individual. Parents can be hostile to gender dysphoria and find it almost impossible to accept that one of their own could be a victim. The fear of the parents reactions mean that the client will often say nothing until much later in life. This is a mistake, but understandable. Brothers and sisters also pose threats to our client, few will be able to understand or accept the situation. The prospect of bullying and ridicule put off any hope of coming out.
Then there is the larger family, in-laws Aunts, Uncles, cousins and so on, they all have to accept the situation or there will be tensions within the family group. There are friends and neighbours who will all have opinions and views which may well be hostile. And so the pressures mount, and our gender dysphoric child is expected to take on these responsibilities by stating that they wish to be a girl or a boy. Clearly, even the most confident and out going individual is going to be challenged by such a weight of responsibility.
For those later in life, often they are married with children, more issues with which to grapple. Partners who were unaware of the condition rarely are supportive of the individual, and children can be difficult to keep on side. Even if the partner is supportive, there is still the business of telling family members and hoping for their support. All too often family support is withdrawn and hurtful family situations can and do arise. Loss of family and especially children is one of the main reasons so many gender dysphoric clients leave coming out until late in life.
So the isolation of our individual is almost complete. They can be ensconced in a family with other children or with children of their own and, yet be totally isolated, alone in a crowd. Unable to socialise or converse even at the most basic level, and so will seek their own company. Many attempt to out strip the gender dysphoric feelings by getting married, having children, joining the army or other services, appearing overtly male, (in the case of male to female transgender), But mostly the gender dysphoria will out, and by then the damage is done.
3
So we have touched on the “self” and the “domestic”, but later in life comes the public situation.
Public Isolation
Our individual has somehow survived the “self” and the “domestic”, but later they are faced with the “public” context of gender dysphoria. If employed then the employer has to be made aware of the situation. This can mean several things. Loss of job, lower earnings or demotion. Today we are blessed with legislation which protects against discrimination, but that was not always the case. Even today it can be a lengthy fight to protect our rights. Fortunately much has changed for the better, but still there is the trauma of telling employer and work colleagues of the impending change that is going to take place. This leads on to friends and social groups, they all have to know and what has until now been an intensely private and suppressed condition is now suddenly threatening to go “public”.
For younger individuals, the head teacher or member of staff and, all their friends will soon know of the change. This can lead to bullying, discrimination and ostracising of the individual.
For some the whole prospect of going public is just too much, so it is put off until a later date. Friends can be another cause for isolation, all too often they reject the individual and the friendships break down. Although there is definitely more awareness of gender dysphoria now than ever before, there are still barriers to acceptance and integration, and our client knows this.
All too soon other things start to become of great importance, the voice, the beard, the G.P., N.H.S. Funding, Transphobic attacks, privacy and fears, all these things, which up until now have not been particularly important take on new and worrying dimensions.
So the public isolation of our client becomes clear. Suddenly how our voice sounds becomes of ever greater importance, strenuous efforts are made to overcome years of overtly male/ female speaking. The beard takes on new proportions of ugliness, making a feminine appearance all but impossible. The family G.P. suddenly becomes a close ally hopefully in referral for treatment and the prescribing of the all important hormones, N.H.S. funding becomes a new topic of intense interest, as treatment for gender dysphoria is progressed, and Transphobic attacks are something of an innate interest since now one is a potential victim.
4
The desire for privacy now becomes almost obsessive as more and more of our true self is put in the public domain. The only thing which our client desires is acceptance, not the prissy, overtly patronising but plain simple acceptance. This is who I am, and I just want a life.
Resultant Isolation ( over 60’s)
Much later in life, all these pressures to being isolated have a cumulative effect. The main problem is one of self-confidence, quickly followed by a sense of low self-worth. By now, if all the obstacles to becoming one’s self has been overcome, one can still be left with a sense of little self-worth, and even less self-confidence, family has all but gone, friends have long since disappeared retirement looms and one’s social circle is small if extant at all. Basically we are alone, frightened persecuted and vulnerable. For many the home is their safety, and if that is safe then we are safe, stepping outside the home on the other hand offers many fears and anxieties. Have we got the voice right, has the years of electrolysis worked, is our appearance one of integration, are we safe, safe from physical and verbal abuse, are we a target, do we inadvertently make our home a target, or our car or personal possessions. Are we an object of ridicule, are we accepted?.
All these issues add to the sense of isolation that many feel, the lack of a social life is possibly the worst of all to bear if you crave acceptance and company. Being alone can seem as if one has failed, failed to make the grade as a human being, and it adds further to the sense of isolation that one experiences.
The loss of family and friends is a bitter blow for anybody, but for the Transgendered it is particularly hard, for they have done nothing wrong, only to have been blighted by gender dysphoria. Coming to terms with this condition is in itself a triumph, being accepted by the wider community is the icing on the cake. So if one has been able to accept who they really are, then half the battle is won. It is for the rest of the world to catch up, and recognise that these men and women are just that, men and women.
External Isolation
The media,( T.V., radio, newspapers) have a lot to answer for. Their portrayal of the Transgendered community is often overtly offensive and derisory. There are exceptions, Channel 4’s My Transsexual Summer was a fair insight into the lives of these brave men and women. And ITV’s My Dad is My Mum was particularly well done. But sadly these examples are all too rare, leaving the Transgendered isolated from public life. Public awareness is so important to us, but the right type of awareness, mini skirted trannies clubbing and drunk do no-one any good, but it makes for good T.V..
5
The public are not stupid, they respond to the well-meaning and the decent, it is this sort of awareness that we should encourage. The work of the many groups and charities for the trans community should get more support from the media, and more public awareness. In this way we will reach our goal of acceptance.
Government legislation has gone a long way towards encouraging more Transgendered individuals to come out. The Gender Recognition Certificate is of particular importance, allowing us to assume the full identity of who we really are, with the redrafting of our birth certificates and rights to pensions it all helps to make us the integrated citizens that we truly are. Of course there is a long way to go, but progress is being made, and thanks here are due to Press For Change and the hard work they do on our behalf.
Commercial acceptance is also of the greatest importance, for it would include us, not isolate us. If the thousands of shops, pubs and clubs would encourage us to use the “ladies”, (or the gents), as our demeanour dictates, then life could be so much simpler, if the staff at these establishments were gender aware, how much more pleasant would be our experience, and how much more we would spend!, if the assistant were to call us madam (or sir) as our presence dictates, how much more included would we feel.
Conclusion
There are ways to help reduce the isolation felt by so many Transgendered individuals. More public awareness and education would be of great help, schools should also enlighten their students, and funding for the many charities and organisations should be increased. The media also have a role to play, in responsibly publicising the issues of gender dysphoria.
Gender Action UK is there to help others, be they in childhood, at school or college, at work or unemployed and retired. It is a charity which has premises in the Medway Towns, membership is from as little as £100 per year. Members are welcome to come along to their weekly meetings drop-in sessions on a Wednesday, GAUK works closely with the NHS, the local authority and the police, as well as schools and colleges in the area.
There are many other organisations and charities who work to offer support, too many to list here, but if individuals contact GAUK, (01634 723339), or view our website: www.gauk.org, then we can put them in touch.
So there really is no need to struggle on alone, isolated and afraid, there are
6
many routes out of isolation but the initial contact has to be made by the individual, this is why it is so important that funding for publicity and rent is made available to charities and organisations.
Jane Andrews MBA BA (Hons)
April 2013
01634 723339
add response to story
add response to story
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