Fred: Full Interview

Duration 46:25


Interview by Charlie H
27th October 2018

CH: Hi! Could you tell us your age, to start off with.

Fred: Yep, I’m 30.

CH: You’re 30. And where were you born?

F: Huddersfield.

CH: Huddersfield


CH: … I suppose the question really – what sort of terminology would you use to describe yourself?

F: These days I would say I’ve got a trans history, but I don’t really consider myself trans anymore now I’ve fully transitioned. But, obviously, I can’t deny that’s [laughs] that’s how I started out.

CH: Okay, great, that’s really interesting. In terms of your reasoning behind that, is there a specific – have you kind of come to that way of identifying for a particular reason, or is it just…?

F: It’s pretty much just how I feel now that my body feels completely right, and I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I just don’t particularly feel like a trans guy anymore. But if I’m talking to someone about my history I will for ease just call myself trans, but otherwise I’m just, I feel like I’m just the guy I should’ve been, now, at long last.

CH: That’s great. So can you tell me a little bit about your like early childhood experiences?

F: Yeah, I – from as far back as I can remember I had gender dysphoria. I just felt 100% male, wasn’t comfortable being misgendered or – I think it was less about my body as a young kid, and more obviously once you could through the wrong puberty then that becomes more of an issue, but all my friends were boys to begin with at school, they were my three I’d call best friends probably, and I used to love going round to their houses to play with the, all the toys that they had that my mum wouldn’t let me have cos she felt they were a bit too, violent maybe. I mean, I was quite lucky that mum didn’t really see any problem with me playing with the toys I wanted, and wearing pretty boyish clothes, cos she figured it was a phase I’d grow out of [laughs] like a tomboy. But there were certain things, like I say, that she’d, if she’d think it was a bit violent she didn’t want me to have it, so I’d be going round to my friends’ houses, just like ‘yeah’, I can play with these toys all I want. So I was quite lucky in some respects, but it was obviously hard. I just wanted to be just the same as any other lads at school and – obviously as a kid, when there’s a toy you want and you’re not allowed it, obviously it’s the same for any kid. Things like that were tough.

And as I got a bit older, when you get to that age where boys don’t play with girls the three male friends I had sort of – a couple of them didn’t particularly want to know anymore but one of ‘em did actually take to bullying me with the other kids that already were bullying me, so that was obviously hard. [I: Inaudible] Yeah, but then it was like the, it was kinda like the girls didn’t wanna know either, cos I’m pretty sure they sort of subconsciously knew that I wasn’t one of them. So it was kind of, it was almost like, well a lot of the time I would be the loner in the playground but there were a couple of girls that’d talk to me, sort of like the outcasts together, I guess [laughs]

CH: How did that make you feel?

F: I was… I was really depressed from a young age. Sort of like living in this pit of like depression and despair because I had no idea that there was any medical help available. I mean, growing up in the 90s it was obviously less well known than it is now. And, I think… I had quite a sheltered upbringing where me parents, they were very strict about watching things like films with a certificate, like say a 15, I didn’t get to watch any 15s until I was actually 15. So, I didn’t really see anything on TV, although I sorta knew about some people were gay but I don’t think I ever really saw anything to do with gender, so I kinda thought I was just this freak of nature that was like the only one to be this way and I couldn’t understand why I was the way I was and stuff. So yeah there was this despair cos I didn’t think there was any way out other than killing myself, and it did get to the point where, about 15 I think I’d sort of, I was sort of reaching the point where I’d had all I could stand, and I was losing my strength and I was on the verge of suicide. But luckily, I actually stumbled across a trans woman’s site, which probably saved my life cos it kind of explained sort of the science theory about the brain developing as the opposite gender to the body, which made so much sense to me. It just like explained everything for me. And the fact that she said there was hormone therapy and surgery, then it was just like there was this light at the end of the tunnel, and I actually had something to live for then, so.

CH: That’s really good. So once you’d sort of been able to words to how you were feeling, what were your next steps?

F: My first thought was that if I could just manage ‘til 18 then if my parents freaked out and like disowned me or anything then at least I’d be an adult and they couldn’t stop me. That lasted a week [laughs]. And then I was just, I was just like so, so down, and the dysphoria was so severe, and like I say, I was depressed, and I think even though I then had something to live for and to cling to, it kind of wasn’t enough, it was like things needed to change or I was gonna end it, basically. So, I really wanted my parents to – I wanted to try and… get over to them like what’s it like, logic in my head, I wanted them to sort of understand it. So, I didn’t want to just come out and tell them, and for it to be like misunderstood or anything, or for them to think it might be a phase. But just writing a letter felt too impersonal, so I actually wrote what I called a speech so with the intention of actually reading it to them, but, but then because the words would be there on the paper I knew I’d be able to like say what I wanted, and I did ask them to sort of not say anything ‘til I’d got to the end of it. So it ended up being a five page long, five A4 pages long thing [laughs].

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was getting to the end of that, I was so nervous the paper was shaking in my hands and my parents were quite tearful and I got quite tearful. But again, I was lucky, they were, after the initial shock, getting their head round things, they’ve been so understanding and supportive, and this was a Saturday night, they’d been out for a meal somewhere, I think. And so, cos I knew I’d bottle out of it if I didn’t, and I sort of said to ‘em, ‘when you get back I need to talk to you about something’. So my poor parents were like kind of ruining their evening then cos they knew it was serious or I wouldn’t have said anything. But I’m pretty sure I would’ve bottled out if I hadn’t said that, so yeah, so we got through that. Then I went to bed, cos it was pretty late by that time, and they were probably up for a bit, not able to sleep, bless ‘em [laughs]. And then the next day, they straightaway they were already thinking about things they could do to make it easier for me and they were sorta like, ‘where the hell do we go from here?’ And one of my aunts is a nurse, so my mum – my mum’s first step was to talk to her and ask her for advice, so she said you probably need to see your GP and see about getting referred to the specialist.

So… I think we got an appointment pretty quickly, but I was like going through my GCSEs at the time, and I was quite lucky – this was in Pontefract, I actually grew up in, we moved from Huddersfield when I was three – and the GP I saw was, she was a real nice lady and she’d actually worked with trans people before so she was very understanding and she sort of already understood the process, which was great, cos some GPs don’t have a clue. So yeah, so she explained it to us, and she sort of said, if you wanted to get referred to the gender clinic you’ll have to see a psychiatrist, just to get your mental health assessed, and because I was 16 at the time that was a kid’s one I think and then… I go through to the gender clinic but then it’s a long wait. So I was kinda like, y’know, if I’ve gotta go through tests and stuff and I’ve got my GCSEs to do maybe I’ll be as well sort of getting through that then going through the assessments, the medical assessments. So that was what I did, so they sort of gave me some counselling and I just sort of barely managed to hold it together for the rest of school, and get through the exams. And I think it was over the summer when I was then like, ‘yeah I wanna get assessed now and get this moving’.

So I originally went on the waiting list for the Leeds Gender Clinic and… I think we were told it’d be about a two year wait, but then – cos my parents could see how unhappy I was and I was still, even though things were getting better, and at home they’d started calling me [Fred], and it took them a while to sort of get used to making the switch, but then they were like using the right pronouns and things. And they got me a binder, although I was cursed – even with the binder you could sort of see my chest wasn’t as straight as it should be, as flat as it should be even, so things were still pretty difficult, and going on to college in a way was like a fresh start but there were problems, there was like this, this girl who was a bit of a bully anyway, and she made a big thing of, ‘oh is he a boy or a girl?’ and ‘should we lift his top up to see’ and things like that, so obviously that was all pretty difficult. So yeah, so because my parents could see how unhappy I was, and even though there were steps in the right direction there was obviously a long way to go.

They looked at getting the ball rolling privately and then, with the intention of the NHS picking things up for surgery and that. And again for a fresh start we actually then moved just outside of West Yorkshire to Doncaster, but it was sort of on the border between Doncaster and Pontefract. And I was still going to college in Wakefield, and when we looked at starting things privately, I think as we were then South Yorkshire I think that’s why I ended up being seen privately in Sheffield, or it could have been maybe they didn’t offer it privately at Leeds, I can’t remember now. But I then started at the Porterbrook Clinic as a private patient and… and then I was really unlucky with the waiting times and things, cos then… I think two years after the referral had gone through to Leeds I did get a call from them asking if I still needed an appointment, and I was like, well I’m being seen by Porterbrook now and hopefully I’m gonna get on the NHS soon. So I could’ve been on the NHS a lot quicker with Leeds, but because we kind of assumed it wouldn’t take too long, with Porterbrook it ended up being five years of paying privately, so like a lot of my childhood savings ended up going on surgery, even though we initially intended for the NHS to do that bit and we kinda figured we’d just be paying for appointments and hormones… It got to the point where like the team at Porterbrook were happy for me to go for chest surgery, so they referred me for that, so I used six grand of my childhood savings on my chest surgery, and then I ended up having my hysto done privately as well, just cos my mum figured it’d be less for me to heal up at once, if I had it done with my [?] so she kind of figured if I got ahead of [?] surgery then it’d be sort of less to go through at once. So that was another five grand, I think.

And then phalloplasty is like fifty thousand [laughs] no way, I didn’t have that much childhood savings, so then I was just sort of stuck in limbo, though my body was mostly right but I’d a lot of dysphoria from things below the belt, as it were. And it still impacted my life with like, going out drinking, I absolutely hated having to use cubicles, I just wanted to be able to line up at the urinals like my male friends could do. So I didn’t have as many nights out as I otherwise would’ve done through my college years. And I didn’t feel able to date until my body felt completely right, I was – I could barely look at myself naked, let alone have a partner see me naked, so I just didn’t feel able to…

So yeah, so it was just sorta like being stuck in limbo, and then, finally the NHS like finally took me, took over my treatment and then I was able to go to London for my lower surgery, and finally now I’m, like I say, feel completely comfortable in myself and just, I’m just the guy I should be, so [laughs]. So yeah, I don’t particularly feel trans anymore.

CH: Good, so a long journey, but worth taking.

F: Yeah.

CH: So, did you have – obviously you’ve told us about how long it took you to get from sort of that moment of realisation when you found that website when you were 15 to finally being able to stand in the mirror and see the man that you are. How long was that, sorta from day one to day whatever?

F: So it was 2004 when I found that website, and talked to my parents round about April time I think. I’ve got a feeling actually it was, the Saturday I talked to them was the night before Mother’s Day [laughs] so my poor mum when – it sort of ruined Mother’s Day, but I think, I think she’s glad I told her when I did. And then I finally had my last, the last of my lower surgery in November 2011. So, that’s what?

CH: Seven years.

F: Seven years. Maths failing me there.

CH: It’s a long time really, isn’t it? So you were in your early twenties. What sort of experience have you had with your sort of ongoing medical treatment in terms of hormones and that kind of stuff?

F: So, obviously, while I was private at Porterbrook they were sorting out my testosterone and stuff. They did sort of ask the GP that I had at the time in the Doncaster area if they would take over sort of prescribing me it. But, we think like, the clinicians at Porterbrook sort of thing were saying that the GP didn’t want to take on the cost of prescribing them, so… I think this was, once I was on the NHS the GP could theoretically prescribe them, but they didn’t want to take on the cost so they had me trekking over to Porterbrook every three months for my prescription. The GP I was with first in the Donny area wouldn’t even like give me the injection they said because at that time it was still privately that they just said they wouldn’t do it, but it sort of felt like there was a bit of transphobia going on at that clinic – they weren’t particularly understanding about things and yeah, they were funny about that. And even blood tests I think, some of the blood tests I had to have to monitor obviously my hormone levels and various other things, they… I don’t think they wanted to do them, so I think I ended up trekking to Sheffield for some of them. Which from Doncaster, cos I don’t drive, you’re talking probably… it woulda been at least a half hour journey, but it might even have been up to an hour to get to the hospital. I can’t quite remember, but it was a trek.

And yeah, the next GPs in the Donny area would at least give me my injections, they just didn’t wanna prescribe it. But then I’ve been lucky to get with a really good GP in Huddersfield, so now they’ll prescribe it no problem and they’ve been very good about monitoring everything they’re supposed to monitor, like – one of the side effects with the testosterone injections is you can get like thickening of the blood, so they’ve been very good at monitoring things like that. And I’ve never had a problem getting my prescriptions from them. I’ve never like had to wait longer than I should for an injection or anything like that, so they’ve been really good.

One of the things for us guys, if you choose to have a phalloplasty you do have to have the erectile device replaced every – they reckon every five to seven years, but obviously it varies, cos at the end of the day it’s a device with mechanical parts so it breaks down eventually. So I’m actually on the verge of potentially getting that replaced, because I’ve been having a bit of discomfort, so my GP again has been very good with all that. First thing we checked for was that it wasn’t an infection, and when that all came clear she was like ‘oh yeah, it looks like you need to go back to the specialist’, so I have to have a referral, so she got that off straight away to London and I’ve probably only waited like a month from seeing my GP to getting an appointment in London, so that’s all been really good.

CH: So are you – do you feel that the change in attitude is because of the different GPs, or do you think that’s because of time passing and more awareness, or?

F: I think it might be a bit of both, cos there’s definitely a lot more awareness now, and I’ve actually – I have a friend who’s done a lot to try and educate people, people who are potentially going to be working with trans people, so – not just like doctors and nurses, but also like police and people who work with like kids and young adults, so like at schools and youth groups and things. So I’ve actually been, I’ve actually done a couple of seminars with him. It’s all been confidential so I was happy enough to do it and just sort of told a bit of my story and, kinda like I’m doing today, talked a little bit about my experiences and the hardships and stuff. So it’s kinda nice to see that it sorta seems like we have made a difference and things are definitely better than they used to be. So yeah I think it’s partly awareness and I think it’s partly – I think I’m just lucky to have a great GP now, cos I do feel, as I said, that that first one in Doncaster, it felt that there was a bit of transphobia going on. Like there was, one of the GPs was very definitely Catholic, judging from like the cross in their office and things, and I don’t know if like religious beliefs were maybe coming into play and stuff. So yeah, it would be interesting to see whether that’s changed at all now or if it’s, if she’s still as bad as she was. But the, I think the training that goes on now and stuff is definitely helping.

CH: What’s the name of your friend who does the training?

F: [redacted]

CH: Cool. Sounds like he’s doing a lot of hard work to help people as well, so that’s really good. Could we talk a little bit about T-Boys? How did you find out about them?

F: I think I first found out about them through Porterbrook. I think they had, I don’t know if it was like flyers in there or little like business cards. Pretty sure that’s where I first saw like the T-Boys logo and stuff, and then I probably went online and found the website for ‘em.

CH: Can you tell us a little bit about T-Boys and who they are, what they do, that kinda thing?

F: Yeah, they’re a support group, originally run by Lee Gale, who’s also done a lot for the community. And it was really just set up with him and a guy called Rob to just provide a safe space I think for trans guys, and to sort of share experiences and sometimes they have meet-ups, where it’s sort of like in a pub and just an opportunity to just chat about whatever you want. Sometimes they have more structured meetings where they’ll get in a speaker – I did actually do one for them on phalloplasty surgery cos there’s… I think it’s – well I don’t know if it’s changed now – but when I was going through mine seven years ago it was quite a small percentage of us that choose to have it because of the various risks and things, and I guess your level of dysphoria comes into play as well, like some guys they’re comfortable with just chest surgery so yeah, it’s, there’s… not that, well it’s hard to find other guys who’ve been through it so that was the main reason I joined T-Boys, I was hoping to meet another guy who’d already been through surgery and just sort of talk about experiences and get an idea of what to expect. But as it turned out, when I went to my first meeting, other than Lee who’d been on his testosterone at least eight years at that point, I think, he’d already had his chest done and didn’t want the lower surgery, but apart from him the rest were all like just starting out transitioning, really. So it ended up for them being a great opportunity to talk to me and Lee about experiences with hormones and the chest surgery, but I didn’t get the… the opportunity to talk to a guy who’d been through his phalloplasty, unfortunately. So, because of that I kinda said, I kinda said to them if you ever want to have a talk on lower surgery I’m quite happy to share my experiences and… I‘m quite happy to show it off as well [laughs]. So yeah, that was quite a fun meeting to do. It was a good experience for like presentation skills, it was a good experience for me, and it was good for them.

And then they also do some social things, like I know they’ve been cycling and climbing, like the indoor climbing places you can go to. Think they were looking at getting a swimming group going as well, like a trans male only swimming group cos obviously there’s dysphoria there around changing rooms and if a guy’s not had his chest surgery he probably wants to wear a t-shirt swimming and things, so they’ve done a lot of things like that, just yeah trying to create a safe space for trans guys and for people earlier in the transition to be able to be themselves without worrying about being harassed or bullied or anything like that. Which is the same thing I guess, but [laughs].

CH: Well, it can be. So, you talk about sort of a little bit of transphobia and bullying and harassment and stuff. Have you noticed a change in the way that people treat you or have you, what are your experiences as a post-trans man?

F: For the most part I’ve been lucky that - I’m lucky, I’ve had really great results with surgery and I’ve got a good beard and a good deep voice, so I am able to pass as I guess you’d say a cis guy, like all of the time. The only thing I’ve had really which is pretty recent, it happened this year, was there were some emails sent to a guy I’m working with, pretty nasty emails saying things like, well at first, I’m a writer, at first it was plagiarism claims, which you kinda felt like someone was just looking to ruin my career for whatever reason. And then it sort of escalated to personal stuff, so they brought up my history and they said, the way they did it was they – I went to the police and they said they were treating it as a hate crime cos they said, ‘do you know [Fred] is a woman?’ So it’s not even ‘was’, it’s present tense misgendering me. So that’s like opened up old wounds, and for me there was one, I think the follow up to that was a ‘femidom’, which was a term I’d not heard before but I’m told it’s some kind of a derogatory term for lesbians, I think, I mean that’s what somebody said to me anyway. And I think there were others, but I think those were the only two my colleague showed me, cos he was sort of aware it’d be upsetting. And he had no idea about my past up until that point and then he just asked me, ‘is any of this true?’ So I think he was just wanting to know how to deal with it, I think that’s the main reason he was asking me. And luckily he was, he was shocked to begin with cos he said, ‘wow, I’d never have guessed, like you’re one of the manliest men I know’, so yeah he had no idea, and he was a little bit upset that I’d not told him myself cos he does consider me a close friend, but he was understanding. He didn’t turn round and say, ‘I can’t deal with this, I don’t want to work with you anymore’ or anything like that.

So whatever the goal was that this person had who’d sent these messages, whether it was to ruin my career or I dunno, just to hurt me – I’ve no idea where any of this has come from, where like unfortunately the police, the evidence got lost and the police weren’t able to trace it in the end. So, we never did get to the bottom of it, so I don’t know who this person was, I don’t know if it was someone doing it out of jealousy or if they had some other kind of a personal vendetta I don’t know. But the worst thing has been then wondering if someone I’ve been close enough to to confide in about my past, which is very few people these days cos there’s obviously just no need to tell them about my past. Whether someone’s betrayed me or whether they’ve found out some other way, then there’s worries then of, ‘are more people gonna find out?’ if like I ever become famous as a writer, is there evidence out there for people to pick up on and – I’ve sort of accepted that one day it might come to a point where the press get hold of it and want to run a story then I’ll just have to, I’ll just have to deal with it when the time comes, but – because I’m not really known as a writer yet, I’m still early in my career and getting my name out there and I didn’t expect to be dealing with this so soon in my career, so yeah it’s been a tough year in that respect, but other than that I have been pretty lucky not to face much bullying or, well, hassle since transitioning.

CH: Cos we’re in October now, it’s the 27th of October, we’re in 2018 – this happened over the summer?

F: The first that I became aware of it was towards the end of May. Cos I think, I think some of the messages went through and initially they were just sort of deleted, but then, I think – I don’t know for definite without having seen all the evidence myself, but from what’s been said about it, it sounds like it went on for at least a week, maybe two, and then it was just, when it reached the point of, ‘oh no, not another [Fred] email’ was the way Bryn put it, that was the point then when he asked me and I was sort of wondering how to deal with it.

CH: How’s that – I know you were talking about putting, having to experience this early on in your career, do you think… you know I suppose it’s a ‘cross that bridge when you get to it’ kind of situation, but having had that experience, what – have you learned anything from it, what would you do in the future, like if and when it ever comes up on a kind of a bigger stage?

F: I think the main thing’ll be if it’s like, if it’s a case that it’s gonna come out and there’s no way to continue keeping it quiet and the press are gonna run stories like whatever, I think the important thing is to make sure it’s done in a positive light there, so rather than the press like painting me out as a freak or whatever… doing it in a way that, well for me I’ve always seen it like a sort of birth defect, cos like I say, the – well I think there’s evidence now that gender is in the brain, so the theory that a trans person is born because the brain’s developed as the opposite gender to the body, that makes so much sense for me, and so yeah I just consider it like a birth defect. So I think the, I think what I’d want to do is sort of make sure that was in the story – cos the thing that I, the main reason why I keep everything so quiet is because it would still hurt if people would treat me any different to any other guy out there, just because of the way I was born, because the brain is like what defines you. So… and all the, like we have the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and sometimes that goes out the window when it comes to trans people. So the important thing for me is that any trans person is treated as who they are and it shouldn’t matter how the body started out. It is the brain that defines you. So, yeah, that’s the thing I would want to make clear if it ever had to come out, and like I say, do it in a positive way and try and stop the press from doing it in a negative way and sensationalising it, I guess.

CH: It seems like your activism, in terms of the way that you are visible within the trans community, is you know quite active, quite positive and your experiences of y’know people who have gone through the process or are going through the process have all been positive. And then sort of in everyday life it’s still very much a stealth thing, d’you know what I mean, how do you sort of marry up those two parts of yourself?

F: I was gonna say I’ve been doing – there was a little bit of falling out with T-Boys. It was – it was just a clash of two personalities, really, and I didn’t – I didn’t sort of like throw a tantrum or anything, and say, ‘oh I’m not coming anymore’, it just sort of naturally drifted apart then, so I haven’t actually been to a T-Boys meeting in probably about five years now. Because I’m pretty much with all the medical stuff, but like I say I’m gonna have my device replaced. I’m not particularly dealing too much with any of that either, it’s just the, obviously the injections I’ve still gotta have, but it’s just an injection now, it’s just like any other medical thing. So I guess in day-to-day life I don’t really sort of think about trans stuff. If ever I am… talking to someone else from [laughs] in the community about past experience or whatever it feels a little bit weird in a way cos it’s like everything’s so right now it’s kinda hard to believe it was ever so wrong. So it’s almost like I’m talking about a past life or like a nightmare I’ve finally woken up from. And like, my memory’s – if I’m talking about something obviously trans specific then obviously the memories are gonna be there, but like most – most memories from my past I just see myself how I should have been and, yeah it is – it’s kind of hard to believe in a way that things were ever so wrong. So I don’t know, it’s pretty much like a separate part of me, in a way, and one that I don’t particularly have to deal with that often now, but… I can talk about stuff and – not that I particularly have to deal with it that often – and that isn’t meant to sound negative, just, I dunno, it’s not something that comes up that often anymore, but when it does I can talk about things, but I still hate using like the wrong gender terms so I’ll only ever refer to my body before as being wrong or having wrong bits, I’ll never use wrong terms. So that’s probably something that I’ll still, that will probably still bother me ‘til the day I die [laughs] but yeah.

CH: So… in terms of your, you had a good chat about your past and what’s going on at the moment. What are your – you said a little bit about your hope that in the future people will treat you and all trans people as they are, rather than sort of what’s been the past – how do you envisage that, what would you like to see in the future?

F: I think I’d just like to see the understanding there for people to get that it is a proper medical condition, not just some weird choice that people make. And that there’s still people out there who like they say gender in the brain’s a load of rubbish and how it’s what’s between your legs, and you get hateful things like y’know, ‘you can’t have a woman with a penis, and a man with a pussy’. So it’d be nice for that to go away and for people to accept that actually yes, it is in the brain. Cos, as I say, there’s evidence now, they’ve done brain scans that prove that, I think it’s the area of white matter that’s different in male and female brains and they have found in trans brains it’s closer to the true gender than it is to the body we were born in.

So, it’d just be nice to see people understand that and stop with the hate and for them to just accept us for who we are and – one thing I’ve never understood is the whole, like with toilets, having this, it’s something that probably trans women have a harder problem with when they go into the, obviously the women’s toilets and then women in there are like, ‘oh there’s a man using the toilets’ and then they have problems of getting like thrown out of places I think, and things like that, and the reason I don’t understand it is that cos women’s toilets are it’s obviously all cubicles so it’s like just shut the door and nobody’s gonna see anything. So it would be nice for people to be more accepting in that respect as well and to realise like it’s not some perverted sex thing, like… y’know there’s plenty of – when it comes to like toilets, like you’ve got gay people who’re into your sex anyway, so it’s – I dunno, it’s just, I just don’t get why there’s so much, there’s so many problems around that because it could be that there’s a gay person in there like they’re attracted to you, but that doesn’t particularly, people aren’t, people don’t make such a big deal over that and yet they do with trans people, so it’d be nice to see that go away. But then it does seem like there’s steps towards that already, cos I know there are some places that have unisex toilets and… and yeah it does seem like people are slowly becoming more accepting, but of course there’s always gonna be people who will hate cos people just hate sometimes, I think.

And, I dunno, when it comes to GPs and stuff, that’s obviously getting a lot better, but I think there are still some out there who can be difficult with trans patients, whether it’s for personal reasons or whatever, but it’d be nice to see the acceptance across the board and like with, not just the health services I guess, but also the police, while I was lucky when I went to the police about those messages the officer I dealt with was really good, and she was really understanding. And part of that I think is from the training that Alex has done, so it was really nice to see the, to actually see that, first-hand, that we made that difference. But you do still get, I think, transphobic police officers and, well obviously people are just people at the end of the day, regardless of what role they’re, what job they have, so it’d be nice to see all the hate go away and for us just to be accepted for who we are and treated the same as anybody else.

CH: Good. Really, briefly, cos I know we’ve been talking for a long time, and I’m sorry to do that, what’s – have you had a lot of – have you had any thoughts about the, this new Gender Recognition Act that’s going through at the moment, have you seen any of that?

F: To be honest, I’ve not seen it, cos as I say it’s, because I’ve kinda lost touch with T-Boys and I do have a couple of trans male friends, but I don’t see them that often, and we do sometimes talk about trans stuff, cos even though it’s history for me it’s always gonna be there in the past, so yeah occasionally we do talk about stuff, but it’s not something that I ever look up myself now. I just don’t particularly have a reason to go Googling what’s going on in the world I guess, so I’ve not seen anything. One thing I am aware of is all that TERF nonsense, it’s been causing a lot of problems for trans people and putting a lot of transphobic stuff out there, which is worrying and it’s another reason why I’m so keen to stay stealth for as long as I can. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what this new Gender Recognition Act is.

CH: I think the general gist is to try to make the process for trans and non-binary people a little bit less invasive, a bit less – people have called it humiliating, there’s lots of different terms people throw around, but I think it’s trying to streamline the process for people so that they can identify y’know with their true gender without all of the sort of waiting and having to live in that gender for a long time whilst still having, y’know, ID for example that’s got the birth, the gender assigned at birth, on it, and stuff like that. So I think in terms of the way that you think about having people recognised and accepted and just treated equally, I think that’s the general idea.

F: Oh yeah, that sounds really positive.

CH: Do you have any other thoughts, anything else you want to tell us about?

F: [Pause] I don’t think I can think of anything at the minute. Probably something’ll come to me later, and I’ll be like, ‘oh Charlie!’

CH: You can always ping across an email if there’s anything you want to add, anything you think I shoulda said that, or I shouldn’t have said that. Thank you very much for sharing all your experiences.

F: No problem.