“When I was 21, I met Charlie, he was happy, relaxed and looked free. I met Charlie when I needed him most. I was slowly running out of labels to help on my way to be happy, tomboy, lesbian, butch, female…. Charlie opened my eyes and showed me the way. When I was 21, I had my life planned, id graduated from university, was taking a gap year to continue my youth work journey and then go back to university to be a social worker. At 21 I knew the labels given to me by me and others did not fit, I knew the label I needed but I fought it. It caught up with me and it was time to accept that if I wanted happiness, I should embrace the label. At 21 I said it, firstly to my friends, then my sister and lastly my parents, I wrote it down because I was still to scared to say it. The media does not think I should exist, what if my parents want to send me to “conversion therapy”, what if they do not want me around anymore. My friends and my sister said it was ok, so why am I still scared to say it out loud. So, at 21 I wrote a letter, I wrote it down “I am transgender, I am male and my name is Charlie”. At age 21 I met Charlie, at age 21 I met my true self. I was finally happy, relaxed and I was free, at age 21 I did not have my life planned out, my life was only just beginning, and it was getting exciting. At age 21 I don’t know why I was so scared, now at 25 I know that they year I met Charlie was the best year for me.”
Thank you to our colleague Charlie, for sharing a small part of their journey.
Charlie has some practical tips for supporting people: Campaigns like Transgender Awareness Week present opportunities to celebrate, promote and support the community, whether that is in a small or bigger way. Workplace support can come in many forms, such as asking before assuming gender pronouns, using peoples’ preferred gender pronouns and using gender neutral terms, correcting people who may mis-gender and avoiding asking for dead names. Outside of the workplace it’s important to keep the same energy of support and if you see someone struggling, let them know they are supported and that it gets better.