(excerpts from the interview) - Stephanie, 'Finally I am a woman!'
What is transgender and why are they called transgender?
Trans implies having switched, changing over, that’s where the trans word comes from, obviously- gender. So transgender, switching gender.
95% of the time what it means to be transgender is the person feels that they were born with the wrong outward appearance.
In my case I grew up, developing through puberty as a boy. But I never felt I was that boy. And then I tried to live as a man. One of my partners considered that as an excuse for infidelity, because I wasn’t man enough. My answer to that one is that I never was a man.
How did you know that you are transgender?
I knew when I was eight years old, but that was in the seventies, so it wasn’t recognised in the way it is now. Which has been portrayed by Jazz Jennings, the sixteen year old trans girl and her show. Back in those days that, as well as homosexuality, were taboo subjects.
They weren’t discussed or recognised as well as they are now. I knew at eight years old that I didn’t feel like a boy, I didn’t feel that being a boy was right.
Do you think that being transgender is genetic? I read somewhere that gender Identity seems to be fully formed before the age of six, and then it becomes very difficult to change. So is it genetic?
Yeah, the way I would describe being transgender is that during foetal development, months five to nine, a little switch didn’t quite click the way it should have. One quirky chromosome caused my body to go one way and my mind to go another way.
What do you mean, is there a conflict between your mind and your body?
There was. There was. A major conflict, and it can be a root cause of depression in many transgender people.
But how could of such a young boy - you were only eight - realise that he is not a boy, and live with this kind of understanding, or awareness?
Your awareness isn’t fully formed at that age. You know you don’t feel right, you’re not as aware as an adult would be, but you know there is something. And trying to articulate those words, especially at a young age, at five through till puberty, it’s very hard to find those words and articulate.
So at eight years old I was told by a child psychologist it was a phase, I would grow out of it. Whereas at nineteen years old - although I knew , and I’d looked into it, and understood what to being transgender was - I was still being told by a locum in a hospital in Aberdeen ‘you’ve not lived as a man yet, or been a man’.