Being trans in Cottingley
Ash talks about living in a small community and finding support and social groups as a trans person.
Image by Uksignpix – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4419007
TRANSCRIPTINTERVIEWER: I know that you’re living in Cottingley, do you want to say a little bit about Cottingley, what’s it like being trans there?
ASH: It’s quite a nice area. I’ve never had any issues…there…The only awkward thing for me is that people who know me – ‘cause I’ve lived down there all my life – people who know me, they know me by my old name. So they go ‘oh, hi Old Name’…it’s – so then I have to correct them. But eventually…yeah. [Long pause] But everyone knows me and they know who I am and it’s, it’s nice, and they’re pretty understanding.
INTERVIEWER: Do you find that you have to…leave to Cottingley to kind of meet other trans people, go to, you know, different LGBT groups?
ASH: Yeah, ‘cause Cottingley’s only a small village, they don’t have any LGBT groups, so the nearest group to me is this one here in Keighley. And I’m…got my LGBT friends that live around Bingley area and…Bradford area. And here in Keighley, so.
INTERVIEWER: How do you think you’ve changed since, like initially coming out as trans and, and now?
ASH: I would…that’s interesting [unclear] for Gender Services. So…yeah. Fingers crossed that will – that I’ll get an appointment with them soon. It’s – yeah, waiting list for Leeds GIC is ridiculous. [Laughs]
INTERVIEWER: How long do you think you’ll have to wait?
ASH: Well I’ve already been waiting about…one-and-a-half year, nearer two year. And at the moment, they’ve just lost a load of their staff…so…could be another half a year, year and a half. If not longer. And that’s just for initial appointment, basically just initial assessment. But then I’ve got to wait, I think it’s another three months to get hormones and stuff. Well, I think it’s – yeah, four appointments and then after that your hormones sorted. So it’s about another [sighs] six months…so.
INTERVIEWER: Have you had any…kind of trans mentors, or, or groups or online groups that have kind of helped you?
ASH: I haven’t had owt, my best friend…he supports me. He’s…my, like my, my rock, he…yeah, he’s…he’s always there for me. So…kind of stick together.
INTERVIEWER: And does he live –
ASH: He lives Bingley
INTERVIEWER: Quite near you? Right.
ASH: So he’s literally [laughs] just down the road for me, so it’s…yeah.
INTERVIEWER: So the group here…it’s quite a mixed group is it, in terms of age.
INTERVIEWER: Do you, do you go to any groups that are more kind of youth groups?
ASH: Not anymore, no. ‘Cause I just feel…I don’t…that’s…but I, I feel more comfortable with groups of mixed age like this, than I do in the youth groups. ‘Cause youth groups, the people there are childish and messing around and…it’s – there’s pettiness.
INTERVIEWER: So you have been to some in the past then? You’ve experienced some?
ASH: Yeah. It’s just - there’s pettiness and…there’s like…there’s like… [sighs] …have you ever seen the film Mean Girls, where they have their little groups of people? It’s like that. Like, it’s - everyone’s got their little groups, and everyone’s just huddled in their little groups.