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Be you, embrace your differences

As many of you probably know this week is Transgender Awareness Week, as such I have been asked to write an article relaying my experience as a Trans woman and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

It was a dull day in my first year at secondary school when I first realised that I was Trans. It was an overcast day at the beginning of the term, after I had signed in with my form tutor I walked up to the assembly hall and sat next to a random person, at the time I had no idea what the assembly was going to be about, all I know was that our head of year at the time was give a talk on something.

Growing up the only exposure I had to the LGBT community was from a family friend of ours. I had never really thought about my sexuality or gender that much up to that point, to be honest, I didn’t know what LGBT meant, and that the feelings that I was feeling inside could be explained, however for me it was the beginning of a very long road ahead of me.

Once everyone had sat down, and the headmaster had given some announcements he invited our head of year up, they turned off the lights and put a PowerPoint on the projector at the front. It was then that I found out that the talk was about LGBTQIA+ and what each of the letters meant, and how it was ok to be a part of the LGBT community. As he was introducing the presentation I could see and hear that some of my class thought that being in this assembly was a waste of their time, some of them started to check their phones. Meanwhile my eyes were glued to the screen.

Like a lot of Trans people coming to terms with my gender identity was very hard, and it was made harder by the fact that I was trying to figure out my identity while I was at a private school, surrounded by people who made Gay jokes and many of who were transphobic. At the time I was being bullied by multiple people and I didn’t want to give them another thing to bully me about. I didn’t want to stand out any more than I already did, so for years I tried to push those feelings down, but eventually, I couldn’t ignore them anymore.

At first, I just told one of my friends at school. By this point, I had already come out as pansexual which my friend and most other people in my life knew. My friend was bisexual, and when I told him he was nothing but supportive. Later on in the year, I told other people who I was doing the school musical with, and they too were very supportive. Although there were a lot of people who would make fun of me being LGBT, I learned to embrace being different.

Now that I’m at university and a bit more in the real world I’ve learned to let go a bit and be myself more, to dress how I like, to look how I like, to be whatever gender I want, the main reason I can do this is because I have made friends and created an environment where I feel like I can be myself. The art of embracing your own differences is hard, especially as a Trans person but it’s worth it, embrace your differences, be you.