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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...
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Dr Jane Andrews (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for readers on 02/04/2014 tagged with gender identity
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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 One can become withdrawn, shy, bullied and depressed.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The child with gender dysphoria is often extremely sensitive and withdrawn, coping with their situation often involves cunning, deceit and solitude.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
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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.
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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.
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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..
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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
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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
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Hi - I wanted to leave you with a mostly positive story, which is nevertheless laced with frustration. I socialised within the gay community from 1886 to 1995, in the UK. The reason was so that I could cope at the time with my 'gender dysphoria' (as it was called) - this led to my full gender change. Later, I effectively moved, though not deliberately, more into the 'straight world' but as a post-op transsexual (M to F). I have managed to work professionally since 1996 in a well-respected role, without anyone knowing. I have not 'come out' - even though I have been in two 'lesbian' relationships during that time. I wanted to state this now because it proves that transgendered people can work well in society. However, the frustration has been that coming out would have ended my career - of that I have no doubt. The number of people who openly castigate gay people and transgendered in particular, to my face, without the slightest idea about me is remarkable. If there is a joke in any of this it is on them - but of course, it's not funny. In my role, I do the best I can to educate people - but it has to be subtle, with small moves... My gay and transgender experiences have been wonderful and I would never go back on them - but it has been a long and hard road. I found I needed to be very resilient. Thanks for reading this.
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Please check out this new book I have co-edited which is FREE ONLINE:
Corinne Lennox and Matthew Waites (eds.)(2013) Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (London: School of Advanced Study, University of London) http://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/publications/house-publications/lgbt-rights-commonwealth
This is the most internationally extensive academic volume on the global struggle for decriminalisation to date, with data on 54 states and chapters giving detail on 16 states. It is also the first book to address LGBTI issues in the Commonwealth of Nations context. Please could ILGA disseminate via all possible global and regional websites, newsletters and other routes.
There is also a Facebook site for the book 'Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth', which can be used for dissemination, please like and share: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsSOGICommonwealth?ref=br_tf
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Dean MacKinnon-Thomson (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex readers on 13/11/2013 tagged with gender identity, sexual orientation, marriage / civil unions +5
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Privacy, acceptance and just plain rudeness...

I was eating out with some friends last week, tapas and red wine, all very casual when the conversation shifted strangely. Now don't get me wrong, they didn't mean to be offensive, rude or generally far too nosy, but still...
So there we are, and one of my very good female friends I've known for a little over a year now asks me about my date with a (really hot) Egyptian dentist. Now, innocent enough right? Nope, she wanted to know which of us was 'the top'. This quickly became the hot topic of our dinner discussion: namely my sexual preferences with a maybe-perhaps partner.

I can practically hear people reading this and shouting, 'what is wrong with any of that?' But let me reverse this for the benefit of the ethically impaired heterosexual majority. What if us gay people decided it was 'casual conversation' for us to know if you prefer anal or oral sex with your partner? Suddenly it becomes a little bit more personal, and a little less fair game doesn't it?

Is it just a novelty factor?

Does our society really accept this? Or is this just cultural impetus devoid of moral learning?

I try to convince myself this is probably a good sign. That in polite society, in busy restaurants and even among relative strangers the 'taboo' aspect of my sexual orientation has dissipated. That said, can I ask: when the fuck will the novelty of having a gay friend wear off?

Culturally we've come a long way, even in my short 24 year lifetime. I've seen the age of consent become equalised, civil partnerships become the norm, section 28 become history (in the UK at least)... oh... and Conservative PMs introducing equality in marriage for us (who'd have thought it!)

And I wonder if this massive shift in public acceptance of all things 'gay' has unintentionally left straight peoples sense of decorum behind. Is my being gay, and loving to hold, kiss, and fornicate with my fellow males of the species really still so 'in'? From Sex & the City, through to more recent programmes like 'Vicious' we see the popularisation of my sexuality. Crikey, Tesco was caught selling 'GBF dolls' for young boys and girls (that's Gay Best Friend for those out of 'the know'). But is this a sign of the accepting times? Or is this the commercialisation of my sexual orientation?

No, I'm not over-reacting at any of this. I can tell you, being able to hold hands in public with your lover and not have people give a crap is wonderful. Being able to enjoy legal equality is empowering. And knowing well over 2/3 of my fellow citizens think I'm born normal is thrilling.

But let me tell you what isn't: being reduced to a comedy doll item for prepubescent kids. Or having some of the most personal aspects of my love life become casual fair game conversation. Or even seeing the name of my orientation 'gay' become a synonym for negativity, un-coolness or freakishness.

Thus: is this widely felt British public acceptance genuine? Or just a novelty factor soon to wear off?

The moral of the piece...

The lesson of this piece is simple. If you think we're normal just like you heterosexuals then why not treat us like it? Boundaries are wonderful things, and yes, even gay partnerships enjoy them. We aren't all drama queens with limp wrists just baying at the leash to spout all utilitarian-happy about our latest squeeze. Sex & the City stereotypes aren't real; but gay couples appreciation of boundaries are.
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crazyandkirst (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for transgender bisexual intersex readers on 14/03/2013 tagged with intersex, gender identity, sexual orientation
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Kirsty tries out different looks at the early stages of her transexual transition

<a>http://www.livingwithatransgender.com/transexualkirsty-experiments-2/>/a></a>
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crazyandkirst (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for transgender bisexual readers on 14/03/2013 tagged with intersex, at the work place, gender identity, sexual orientation
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Read about the story of Steven transitioning to Kirsty

<a>http://www.livingwithatransgender.com/why-transexual-steven-preferred-barbie-to-ken/</a>
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Dominic Davies (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 23/01/2013 tagged with lgbt families, health, gender identity, sexual orientation
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International Summer School
In July 2013, We are going to be running for the 4th year, our International Summer School 8-13th July 2013. In previous years we've had people from Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Eire, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA.

The five day non-residential course will be held in central London and is aimed at counsellors and psychologists and others engaged in mental health support work across the world who wish to update themselves in contemporary thinking around work with LGBT people.

Places are strictly limited and early application is advised as we expect this course to be filled up quickly. We welcome people of all genders and sexual orientations from across the World.

Full details are on our website http://www.pinktherapy.com/Training/tabid/82/ctl/ViewCourse/mid/422/CourseId/118/language/en-GB/Default.aspx

Pink Therapy is the UK's largest independent specialist therapy training organisation and has been running for 14 years. Our website hosts the Directory of Pink Therapists an online database of LGBT friendly counsellors/psychotherapists. We welcome therapists overseas who wish to list their practices advertising with us. We also have an extensive KNOWLEDGE base of recommended books and articles. and an International Library of some of our most recent papers have been translated by a team of volunteers into most of the world's major languages and you can download them for free here:
http://www.pinktherapy.com/en-gb/knowledge/translations.aspx
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Tamhewt (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers in response to this story on 27/12/2012 tagged with intersex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion
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Good, at least if I'm in hell, I'll be warm and far away from your homophobic ramblings. Many people on other country's pages have explained personal experiences or supported one another, you however choose to tarnish the UK's page with bigotry and hate.

As for caring about me, I don't want/ask you to and I certainly do not need it. I do not believe in any God(s) either and reject your beliefs which you attempt to force upon me.

The UK is on the whole a tolerant country for LGBTI people (although not perfect, like many countries).
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holly (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers in response to this story on 23/11/2012 tagged with lgbt families, hate crime and violence prevention, gender identity
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they can say all they want about us tg to be honest they can point and stare at us all we have to do is ignore them and hold our heads high and walk tall . same for l,g,bs ignore the comments no matter what people say hold your haeds high and walk tall . eventually it will stop because they will get bored .

all my best holly tgirl
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holly (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for lesbian transgender readers in response to this story on 18/11/2012 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, gender identity, sexual orientation
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you have done a good and brave thing coming out and showing in public especcially with the way people are about us transgenders. all i can say to them is we are human to and we are not going anywhere so they had best get used to it .
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(user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for transgender bisexual readers on 19/06/2011 tagged with lgbt families, hate crime and violence prevention, gender identity, human rights, sexual orientation, religion +5
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I just don't understand what is wrong with being bisexual / lesbian / gay. I am bisexual, and I just don't see what is wrong with that. How is it even different? Why does it matter?
I can understand why people have been...uneasy, shall we say, since everyone found out I am transgender, but can't they just accept me for who I am, not what I am??? Is it really that hard? I would happily do the same for anyone else.
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Naleen (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 09/10/2010 tagged with gender identity +5
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As a Transgender you are often left out off to one side of the LGBT communities. Where there is lack of information. Where communities say they are LGBT they really mean LGB but they are forced to add the T as it was campaigned to add the T to LGB.
With LGBT laws in various countries often leave out the Transgendered people so we are left guessing the laws half the time. Such as where is Homosexuality illegal. That's great for LGB but as for transgendered its still a mystery as we do not always follow the homosexual rules.
Some female only website seem to be confusing to what they mean by female only. Many T-Girls would benefit from what they have to offer but due to still having a penis we may find that we are not welcome. Why cant these websites and communities say no T-Girls or T-Girls also welcome. But then there is risk of regular males trying to gain access by claiming they have gender dysphoria when they do not. But if this is the same with T-Boys too I do not know. But all I can say is there is allot of confusion in my transition and I hope it gets easier.
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Alexandra Young (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for transgender readers on 08/02/2010 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, gender identity, human rights, sexual orientation +0
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Hatred.

You’re no woman, does say the man like demon!
You try to hide the man, but I see right through your plan.
How dare you buck the trend.
For I’ve a good mind to inflict a beating from which you’ll never mend!

Why must you infect the innocent mind?
Boy, how I hate your kind!
I want to live in a straight world full of real men.
Not a Barbie cesspit full of She-men!

You make me sick, you sissy pr**k!
So come on and fight me like a real man.
Prove yourself for once, if you still can?

Ha! I laugh as you try to flee from me in such high heels.
Look, no one is even taking any notice of your pitiful squeals.
Oh, how I look forward to committing your body to yonder fields!

As I stand watching your lifeblood flow upon the tar.
The whole world hates you for what you really are!
So you see it’s my job to stop you, before you take this too far!!!

Poem by: Alexandra Young.

I didn't think I would ever be back on-line writting my personal thoughts for all to read, including those of you I likely will never even know or meet in real life. In many ways it makes no sense to come back on-line and back to my blog http://alextsgirl.blogspot.com/ , but it helps me deal with issues going on in my head when I do turn my thoughts and feelings into words.
The catalyst leading me back to my blog and the printing of my Hatred poem above, is the thought process and feelings I'm going through as a result of taking part in a 'Hate Crime' video being produced by the Central Scotland Police Force. It has brought back many a sad and hurtful memory of an event I prefer to keep supressed. However, my public account will help get the message across to others about the effects of hate crime, and my discomfort will be worth while in the long term.The following account is what I placed down in writing for the Police, and will be the basics of what I say on the video (I likely will also eventually publish the video on my YouTube site):

Alex Story.

My name is Alexandra Young, and I’m now a fully transitioned male to female transsexual woman. I’m a Scot, and in my early 40’s.
I had my gender disphoria issues from as far back as my memory can take me to 4 years old. I remember crying myself to sleep at night wishing I’d wake up as a girl the next morning. I also remember how hard it was for a small feminine boy to get through school on a day to day basis without being bullied by other more typical and macho boys. The only way I could survive within general society had been to try and fit in more as the persona people expected me to be, which had been as a rough and tumble boy who needed to become better playing boy based sports.
My façade improved over the years into teenage years, and adulthood and I eventually managed to fit in a male role that included getting married and having children. Eventually in my late 30’s, I could no longer suppress the inner female me, and had to explore who I really was in more detail. After a long self examining journey, I successfully transitioned with the aid of hormones and surgery into the woman I am today.
The worst hate crime I can remember facing myself, had been back in the days I attended college as a late teenager.
I started my working life off as an Apprentice Joiner, and had to attend college on a day release basis. The guys I had to share classes with had generally been typical boys who seen themselves as being heterosexual men’s men. I on the other hand had still been a very feminine male, and dressed in ‘New Romantic’ style clothing that had been all the rage in the 80’s. Most guys who dressed like that still looked like boys/men, but I looked much more girly, and that did not go down well with my classmates.
The resulting taunts and innuendos I could take, even if at times it was not uncomfortable and not nice. However, it led onto them playing practicable jokes on me, and continually referring to me as 'gay boy', etc. Once I confronted them, and this led to them telling me I was ‘dead meat’ after the classes had finished. Thankfully I managed to slip past them that evening, but they waited for me the next time I attended college.
One boy pulled at my rucksack, and swung me round as I tried to hold onto it. Another boy then started punching me until I fell to the ground. He said you deserved that you 'poofy bastard', and said we will get you later.
I spent a full day in fear of these boys, and never told any lecturer for fear of getting worse treatment as a result.
That evening after college, the biggest of the boys got a hold of me, and beat me senseless using his steel toe capped boots. He kept kicking me till I fell unconscious, and when I woke up, I had blood poring from my mouth and nose, and had lots of lumps on my head. My ear was ringing, and felt very sore from also being hit. My ribs hurt, and I looked a mess. I looked so bad, I did not get on the bus as usual to get home, and instead walked home to my Mums to try and gather my thoughts and work out how to deal with the issue. People looked at me and never offered me any help. In fact, some crossed the road rather than walk past me.
I never felt more alone in my life, and felt very low. I could not tell my parents what was the cause of it all, because I likely would also have to tell them about my gender based issues, which these stupid bullies mistakenly thought was sexually based around homosexuality. I never went to the Police, or told anyone what had really happened for I believed no one would support or understand someone like me. Instead I just had to put up with verbal abuse for the rest of the year at college, until I could move to another class. Thankfully no more beatings came though, as they had made their point.
I became a much more reserved person after the beatings, and pushed myself into more macho male things such as weight lifting, kick boxing, extreme down hill mountain biking, etc. I cut my hair into a shorter number two cut, and successfully hide who I really was for self preservation.
I eventually came to terms with who I really was, and faced everyone who didn’t agree with what I had been doing. No more beatings happened in my later life, but I did have to face extreme bigotry and a general lack of understanding of trans issues from former friends and in-laws.
I believe I am a much better person than I once was as a result of being open about whom I really am. However, I have had to endure a lot of heartache along the way, and all because I happened to be different from the rest of the boys.

Alexandra Young.
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Stephanie (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 28/01/2010 tagged with lgbt families, gender identity, sexual orientation, marriage / civil unions +10
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I recently came out as bisexual to my British husband of 6 years. I hail from New York but live permanently now in south west of England with him in a relatively rural location, well outside London, so I have come to expect some relatively provincial attitudes about most things related to gender, sexuality and marriage roles. My husband's response was loving and beautiful and akin to "oh now that explains some things." He was only sad that I took so long to trust him with this and that still lingers between us, unresolved. And though he was raised by middle English parents with some run of the mill and tedious homophobic attitudes (his parents think our gay male nanny is a 'obviously' a child molestor and are entirely blind to the fact that their younger son is quite likely gay), his attitude to my bisexuality is so-far postive and progressive. After making it known to him, though, I slowly started to make it known to friends and colleagues, gay and straight, that while I was happily married with kids, my psychosexual self (for lack of less psychobabbly term) was bisexual. I got every response from neutral acceptance through to encouragement from my gay and lesbian friends, but the straight friends still surprisingly held some seriously old fashioned views. So far none of them have shunned me or seem to direct any overt hostility towards me, but there is a passive aggressive line of questioning that I keep getting. Questions like: "But doesn't that mean you are really just a lesbian and don't want to admit it?" or, "So are you leaving your husband for a woman then?" And my 'favourite': "How can you be bisexual and monogamous?" That seemed to be the prevelent attitude really -- that bisexual either meant a life-long menage with both a man and a woman at once or a life where you could not commit to only one partner. The concept that I was a married, monogamous woman just happy and more content to finally be honest about who I really am was not sufficient. Saying I was bisexual now meant I needed to "do something about it." Again, this is all very new to my friends and husband... but that is what I experienced so far. A set of sadly retrograde questions and the expectation that my ability to be faithful was under scrutiny. I suspect there will be more to come, but for now ... that's it.
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