By Ross, a community and locum pharmacist
I’ve always known I was trans. I was raised as a girl, but even before I started primary school I knew I was a boy.
I was assigned female at birth and lived a double life into my adolescence, always happier in boys jeans, shorts and t-shirts. Whenever I could, I dressed to reflect my true identity.
I went to a girls’ school but found outlets to express myself and played football and rugby for the teams where I lived. In that environment I was recognised as male.
At school, I was sometimes bullied because I was ‘unusual’, and many people thought of me as eccentric. In sixth form, we no longer had to wear school uniform and I could express my maleness without too much hassle, especially since this was during the 1970s, when longer hair and gender-neutral clothing was fashionable. That helped a lot.
In my pre-reg year I presented as female but didn’t share anything about my situation with my employer. That didn’t work out, so I started the pre-reg year again, still as female but working with people who were aware of my situation. Both they and my parents were very supportive, but no one really knew what to do or how to help me. There’s a lot more awareness today, so I would be able to find the information and help I needed much more easily.
Once out of the education system, I decided to live as a man. I told my family and close friends, then had to work out a way to become legally male. At a gender identity clinic, a doctor agreed I was male, which started me on the right path. I’ve lived legally as a man for over 40 years now.
Nowadays, I don’t think much about my identity very much, as, to be honest, it’s not even the most interesting thing about me! I live my life and have an interesting career in which I meet lots of different people. Like me, many trans people are ‘hidden’, and no one even thinks that we might somehow be different - which makes it even more important professionals like us consider how to be inclusive, making our services open and welcoming to everyone.
But prejudice remains, and the polarisation in the media and on social media worries me. It has an inhibiting effect and makes me much more wary of identifying myself publicly as a trans man.
I want to be honest about my life, but I’m writing this piece anonymously. I don’t fear for myself, but for my family and friends, and how my honesty could make their lives difficult, and expose them to remarks, aggression or even harm. I am encouraged by the younger generation, and how more people understand the importance of being an ally to trans people.
There’s no single journey as a trans person. Some people don’t know their gender identity until they reach their teens, adulthood, or even much later in life. Whenever we come to that realisation, we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and be able to express ourselves however we choose.
My hope is that all of us are able to identify how we wish, live authentically as ourselves and live our lives to the full.
We want to encourage voices that express the diversity of lived experiences in the profession as part of our inclusion and diversity work. If you’d like to share your story, contact [email protected] or get involved through our ABCD group.