Thursday, 22 May 2014

Trans Healthcare For Young People Saves Lives

Dear National Media Editors

The Mail on Sunday article last weekend regarding medical support for 9 year olds who suffer from Gender Dysphoria clearly shows that still many of you have a keen interest in the lives and impact of medical treatment on Trans people and so I thought  it would only be polite to share some of the realities you seemed to have (I am sure a simple oversight) missed in the article.

As a Trans woman who transitioned aged 21 I often wonder what it would have been like if I had been given access to medical support when I was a child to transition to be the person I am today. Here are some of the major upsetting events in my life that would of changed completely if at aged 9 I had got the help now available today:

  • I wouldn't of started cutting myself, pulling my hair out and self harming aged just 9,
  • I wouldn't of spent my whole childhood lost and upset hating myself and wanting to hide from the world for simply being me,
  • I wouldn't of spent half my life with counsellors and psychologists trying to put me back together after years of not being able to be “just me”,
  • I wouldn't of tried to kill myself with overdoses upsetting everyone who was close to me,
  • I wouldn't of had to be saved by a security guard when I tried to hang myself while struggling to access health care,
  • I wouldn't of spent endless nights crying on my own in my room wishing I hadn't been made the way I had,
  • I wouldn't of been left emotionally and sexually vulnerable seeking out affection where ever I could find it and now have the media seeking to shame me for it,
  • I wouldn't still wake up each morning having to plan how I hide years of testosterone damage just so I can leave my house,
  • and finally i'd of got to live 19 years of my life as me not just the 7 years I have had since my transition.

I know my life isn't important enough for you to publish the real facts about it and the reality is many trans people share these experiences too, however it is only fair that when you look to write about trans people and our lives you share with your readers the full reality warts and all not just a stark judgement based on a snap shot in a person’s life or a shocking headline about a medical pathway you know little about.  I just wanted you to know I am not ashamed about being me I haven’t always made the right choices in life but that is part of being normal and If you had shared mine or many other Trans people’s childhoods you may well of made many of the mistakes and choices I made too. If wanting to help others and make a difference in the world is a reason for you to want to shame me and any past mistakes I can't change that, but we get one shot at life and I’m grabbing it with both hands to spread love and peace to others.

So In future when you are talking about whether Trans people should get access to treatment at any age or you are looking to cherry pick scandalous stories from our pasts you might stop and look at what made them who they are and what are the real facts not just a shocking story you think would look good in a headline.

Yours Faithfully

Trans, Human and Proud of my life warts and all

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Marriage should always be about love not hate

Last Weekend we saw a historic occasion in the UK the first Same Sex marriages took place up and down the country. For the first time Husband and Husband and Wife and Wife were sharing their vows and becoming legally united in marriage in the eyes of the law.

As someone who has campaigned long and hard for equal marriage it was a happy moment to realise that if I ended up in a relasionship with another woman that we would have the choice to marry in the same way I would have if I had a relasionship with a man. Love is an empotion and a value that should be valued in society and marriage is an important insitution that creates stability and focuses committment, which are all positive outcomes that those in a marriage and wider society benefit from. I want everyone regardless of their sexual orientation to be able to benefit from the advantages marriage brings and for us as a society to also benefit as a result of their choices.

However the cloud was not all lined in gold. There are some people who still fundementally object to the concept of the term marriage being changed in law, an objection based on their strongly held religious beliefs and the definition and very basis of marriage itself. This being the case it is not suprising that on the launch of the first same sex marriages in the UK that they may wish to share their views and concerns the same way any of us would when those views are strongly held and important to our values and life. Caroline Farrow is one of those people who has a strongly felt objection to the change in the meaning of the term marriage and the introduction of same sex marriages into the UK. On Thursday Caroline expressed her views on air during the BBC Question Time show in a way that was direct passionately delivered but not directed in a hateful or personally attacking manner to anyone. Many people who hold Caroline's views feel scared and too threatened to voice their views and have welcomed Caroline's contribution giving them a chance to have their opinions form part of the ether of our national debate and discussions.

That might of been it; a passionate campaign about love and a simple belief that the legal definition of marriage discriminated against same sex couples. A campaign won by changing culture and years of campaigning by many from across the community. Then on the other hand a strongly held religious view based on the theological and not legal basis of marriage, voiced by a few confident and directly spoken individuals aired in the ethos of free speech and along side the implementation of the new same sex marriage law which is now in force.

But it was not it.

You might think having won the campaign for same sex marriage some campaigners might be content to let those that disagree with their view have their say just like they have had their say during the campaign.

You might think that a campaign with the aim of allowing the equal celebration of love would stay built on love and compassion and not hate.

You might think that those that campaign for equality and respect of individual rights would also respect the rights of people who hold religious views in a non abusive and personally attacking manner.

However this has been far from the case.

Following Caroline's comments on BBC Question Time last week she and other people who oppose the introduction of same sex marriage have been subject to the most horrendous and truly horrid abuse, personal attacks and threats. The level of this abuse has shocked many including myself despite my fundemental disagreement with those that oppose same sex marriage. I am truly ashamed of any LGBT person or ally that has felt the way to further equality or to celebrate the introduction of same sex marriage is to abuse, attack and threaten any other person simply for holding a differing view.

If we can't live in a society where we can passionetly disagree, debate and critique but still value one and other then we lose the meaning of the term civilisation and have lost the very basis of hunmanity which we should hold so dear. I want a society where respect engagement and positive debate is the norm no matter how much we may disagree with those around us.

I might be an LGBT Woman, I might be a campaigner for LGBT issues but I am also a fellow human and work hard to help make society one where everyone single person feels valued and I hope other people will join with me in working towards that goal.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Keep Calm and Do Whatever It Takes

Like many people across the country who are lucky enough to not be facing flooding right now, I can't imagine what its like to face such horrendous conditions and the risk of losing my home. We have seen parts of the UK face the highest level of flooding for nearly 200 years and still the storms and rain blow in from across the Atlantic. I think its important that we stand united as a country behind our fellow citizens when we have a natural disaster. What ever it takes we need to help get families and businesses back on their feet the security and the support of people across the land has to come before party politics and any other issue of the day.

What ever our agenda for a future Britain the foundations need to be built on safe and secure homes, strong businesses and sustainable land we live on. Why it's vital we ensure the resources get to those hardest hit fast and we get Britain back on its feet.

As we clear up the floods of the future and face the prospect of a new era of climate in Britain (for what ever the reason man made or natural) we need to face the prospect that ignoring the weather is no longer an option. We need a clear and positive plan for securing the future of vast parts of the UK which are now at risk from flooding based on a mix of protect, support and restrict provisions which best utilise the resources we need to give flood protection if we are going to maintain the security of the nation and the homes of thousands of our citizens in the UK.

It's ironic that at a time of such natural crisis and families struggling to have the basics that parliament was debating on whether introducing an unenforceable law regarding smoking in cars was the biggest problem and threat people faced. I'd suggest we all focus on the matter at hand and hopefully we see that the bigger issues need solved, before we begin to micro manage the lives of people who would prefer government was left to providing support in time of crisis instead.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Zoos Gone Bad - The Killing of Marius the Giraffe

Dear Bengt Holst

I am writing as a human from another country but one who values our humanity and our ability to empathise across the world, with life and the animals around us.

Your decision to kill a healthy Giraffe "Marius" on the simple basis of "strong genes" brings shame on the credibility of all zoos but also that of our humanity which should stop us carrying out such barbaric and cruel acts of naturalistic vandalism.

Nature is indeed a cruel place and in the wild animals are killed and die everyday but at least have the chance to roam free and live the life nature intended. In captivity that is denied to animals either in the name of conservation or simple entertainment for the masses. The Trade off should be that we treat these animals with the utmost dignity and respect that values the sacrifice they are making to bring pleasure and joy to those who visit the Zoo and also the learning through the study of animals in captivity can lead to.

You were given options and offers from other zoos around Europe and yet you decided that death rather than life was the only option putting academic attitudes above the life and dignity of another living being.

Your simple dismissal of the opinions attitudes and out cry from people within Denmark, Europe and the rest of the World is pure arrogance and all I can say is I hope that you are hit where it hurts most by your bank balances and others with better ethics have the option of taking over in your place.

I hope these strong words and those of others you will have undoubtedly received in the thousands, make you re consider your actions and decide to give a full apology. Whilst not changing your dreadful actions it would at least prevent such a travesty happening again.

Yours Sincerely

Tara Hewitt

Learn more about the Story here:

BBC News -Surplus' giraffe put down at Copenhagen Zoo

I hope you will take a few minutes like me to email the zoo to share your concerns. Their email address is:


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Dear Pop Stars Remember You Are Made of Star Dust Not Sexism

Dear All Pop Stars,

I love music, I love old music, I love new music I love music I’m too embarrassed to let Spotify post on my Facebook status (we all know that feeling).

 I also love it when my role models and idols make me smile and remember they are more than a sex object, more than a marketing gimmick, but are human beings with a beautiful talent that we all want to experience and share.

I don’t expect my role models to be perfect or for them to put on an artificial butter wouldn’t melt in their hot and talented mouths persona, I don’t even expect them to always make the right decision (lets be fair we all don’t go through a day without making at least one mistake), but I hope that if you make a career out of being so important in all our lives that you try to bring your special sparkle and glitter into our world its much more fun than all this old fashioned sexism.

I know that controversy can sell and we all have to make a living, but if I love your voice, your music videos, your dance moves and your personality I’m still going to want to buy your MP3 from itunes and make you the sound track of my day I promise and I know I’ll want to recommend you to my friends too especially when they are round for that bottle of Rose on a Friday night.

I know that growing up no one thinks “I want to be a bad influence on others” or even be part of the nightmare that pulls other people’s lives apart. That’s why I want less blurred lines in the world and more girl power hitting our airwaves as the former makes little angels cry and the latter will make you the pop goddess and gods we all know you are.

As people we naturally want to be ourselves so instead of letting your marketing manager or band of digital image consultants want to twist and hide the real you, behind a fantasy stardom template air brushed and behind a personality that even your mum would struggle to see you through. Let the real star glowing inside you out, the body that holds your talented voice and dazzling dance moves (I promise you that alone makes it beautiful) be centre stage . Let your personality out through the clothes you want to wear and lifestyle you want to lead instead of someone else’s story shaped by an agent design to attract controversy instead of selling the you that you want the world to see.

Remember that before you were a pop star, rock star or even a TV star that you always had a star inside you the star dust that makes us all. You don’t need someone to shape you to be a star you just have to look inside yourself and let out the star dust you have had all along.

Keep dancing, keep singing and keep bringing glitter and magic into our lives.

Yours Faithfully

Tara Hewitt

Fan, feminist and fellow stardust made human being

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

DONT PANIC - Transgender Journalism 10 Positive Steps

If you are a journalist no matter what area you are working in be it art and fashion, politics and current affairs, crime and justice or even sport it is more and more likely that you will come across stories involving the full diversity of the trans community. With a tight deadline and with little experience in this area what do you do?


Here are some top tips to help make your article shine:

1. Do talk to the trans person you are writing the story about we don’t bite honest! We know best when it comes to writing about our own identity, so why re-invent the wheel?

2. Do Speak to All About Trans or Trans Media Watch. Facebook, Twitter, or Email them it doesn't matter which. They will give you everything you need to ensure you don’t fall down with any common mistakes.

3. Remember you are a fabulous journalist and not a bibliographer. You are probably writing a great story best to stick to that and let it shine not digging round in the mundane previous life of a trans person.

4. Do pose your trans subjects in a suitably glamorous pose, you will probably get more attention for flattering your subject rather than accidentally embarrassing them.

5. Do use a recent photo, not one of them that appears like a different person the main reason being the person in the photo is the wrong gender (I’m talking about past before and after pics not big or clever they just suck).

6. Do criticise trans people who do bad things, we are all people we can all do bad things. Trans people are not exempt from criticism but remember criticise what they have done not that they are trans that’s the story not their gender.

7. Do report news, we like news, we like scandal, we like entertainment and we even like the pull out fashion spreads many newspapers have. Now you are reporting news you won’t have space for those pointless “someone has transitioned” articles. Trans people haven’t suddenly come down from the moon, we have been around forever despite what the gossip circle in some shire town is telling you.

8. Do give trans people a voice. Ok I would say that I’m trans and I’m writing about improving media presence for trans people, but you will be surprised how many fabulous experts and commentators across a range of subject areas out there are Trans. Don’t be afraid to let us speak, we can do more than talk about our gender in fact most of us would prefer it instead of having to discuss ourselves all of the time.

9. Do use the normal dictionary of words you use in other articles they aren't broken so why try to fix them? No need to bring in “Sex Swop” “tranny” or “Sex Change” they just aren't cool and you just end up being the classroom bully instead of the dazzling journalist we all know you can be.

10. Finally DO REMEMBER the person you are writing about is more than a story, more than being transgender, they are human and have so much more to give than having their gender objectified if their gender history isn't relevant to the story why include it? 

Now you have all the tools to be a journalist with extra gold stars and the tips to make your story shine. Go forth and continue to make our lives interesting with stories, glamour and news which ever part of the media industry you work in.

Here are some positive messages from Trans people that may help too:

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Think Global Act Local

Guest Article by: Katie Redmond

Katie is a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate and Engineering Consultant specialising in the Defense and Nuclear sectors

I like my politics like I like my sweets, bite sized, neatly wrapped and easy to chew on.

The easiest way to describe conservative politics is minimised taxation and maximised responsibilities. It really is that simple and easy to swallow. We have a shared belief in a small government and a self sufficient society.

There are many different ways to crack the nut or skin the cat, so to speak, but I believe the best person to turn to if you want to change the world is in the mirror.

That's where all your ideas are going to come from, the energy to enthuse others and the vision to work it through. The way to change the world is to change your world. 

And that's what I mean when I say think global act local. You won't get any more local than that. It's more than just a catchy phrase or a fluffy idea. It's your part to play in the theatre of politics and there's no dress rehearsal.

So if you want a small government, low taxes, size 10 jeans, whatever floats your boat, first you have to start the with yourself. 

Even a journey of a hundred miles starts with a single step. And that small step is to ask yourself what small things can be done to chip away at the mountain you're trying to move. If they're small things we can all do, then we can work together to move that mountain pretty fast.

If you're interested in politics and the world around you, you don't need to get elected to start making a difference. There are many things going on around you in your local community that you can lend a hand with, and many hands make light work.

I enjoy spending maybe a couple of evenings a week with local community groups, a couple of hours here and there on a weekend helping out with bits and pieces in my local area. 

Hardly much to mention, but little and often can make a big difference over time. If you can learn something, teach something, fix something or feed something, then you've taken some weight off the state and you're building your own skills at the same time.

When we delegate to the state, we strip ourselves of the fibres that weave the fabric of society. We take out all the goodness, like an over-processed loaf of bread. It satisfies the stomach but it doesn't do us any good.

Start switching to wholesome whole grain, butter up your community and use your loaf. It's been the staple diet of self-sufficient society for civilisations. Let's us shape our future, knead it, bake it, keep it where it works best - in our own hands.