Coming out as trans at school

Koban describes the process of coming out as a trans teenager, from identifying with people on TV to asking for a change of name on school records.

Duration 04:43


Image of Bingley by Tim Green.


KOBAN: I mean, most of my life I was a tomboy. You know, I was always with the girls and everything, but I was always seen as, as the…guy figure, I guess you wanna see it as. You know, like, when you’re young you do roleplays and everything, and stuff and…you know, you…the whole mum and dads, stories and all that, and I’d always played the male characters. I never really knew I was…well, that I was trans until I was about…seven-ish, but I didn’t actually know the definition of it until I was about 11, when I watched My Transsexual Summer…and then it, you know, it kind of just clicked, that’s what it was. And I did a lot of research and it was kind of like a lightbulb moment, and it…yeah...

INTERVIEWER: When you said you did a lot of research, what did that involve? Where were you looking for things?

KOBAN: I looked, like, on Google, looked on websites and stuff. I can’t really remember what they were, but [laughs] just searched, like, ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual’ and all that kind of older terms and things. And then looked up the people that was in My Transsexual Summer, Louis Han- Hancock I think it was, some other people, and just kind of, you know, was like…like I say, was like a lightbulb moment and just kind of represented how I felt without even knowing that’s how I felt, sort of thing, so…yeah.

I didn’t really tell people at first…when I, when I first really…grasped, grasped the idea, I kind of were a bit nervous and a bit scared, to tell people, so I kind of made up a story [laughs], that I had a play at school, and asked my best friend if, if I could borrow some male clothing [laughs] for the play. But, they’re a bit smarter than that and basically knew there weren’t a play at school, because they was involved in all that kind of stuff, so kind of clocked on pretty quickly [laughs]. So that was pretty much the first person, and at the time, the only person who knew.

INTERVIEWER: So when was that?

KOBAN: That was when I was 11, so like…2012, I think. I’m really bad with dates [laughs]. But yeah, I think it, I was 11, so, I think it was about 2012. And I gradually, I started coming out to more people, like more groups and stuff like that. Didn’t really tell people at school straight away, because obviously getting the kind of fear around it, of you know, ‘Oh, it’s probably just a phase’, or you know, the whole mocking and bullying and stuff. ‘Cause I wasn’t exactly a popular person at school anyway, I was quite a bullied person at school, so…they would kind of just morph into add-ons for them I guess. But, yeah, I kind of gradually started coming out to more people, telling them, and you know, explaining and stuff. Especially more as I learnt about it.

And then I started going to a youth group in Keighley, called Sound. And I got to explore it a bit more there, got used to being called Koban and a guy and things, which obviously made me feel a lot happier and things, ‘cause obviously I didn’t tell anyone at home straight away. And then basically, kind of just, it just grew more I guess, and more understanding, and…yeah. And then basically eventually came out at school… Didn’t particularly go well, only one teacher ended up respecting it and calling me Koban and things. I tried to get a…like, not even my name properly changed ‘cause I know ‘cause I didn’t have a deed poll, I wouldn’t have been able to, but I asked if I could at least have Koban on the system but they basically just refused. And also because I was so young, I just, I just accepted it. I was like ‘right, whatever, ok’. And then basically people found out, and…things spread like wildfire in school. And so, yeah…people would ask me about it, people would mock and bully and just take the utter micky I suppose. Erm… [Long pause.] So that was fun… Not! [Laughs]