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: