A lot of people are surprised by the fact that I didn’t realise I was transgender until I was 18-years-old. I think when Caitlyn Jenner came out, I, as well as a lot of other people who were questioning their gender identity, finally began to understand myself that little bit more. With Caitlyn putting the spotlight on transgender issues, it meant that there were a lot more voices being heard around gender identity. Which really was a blessing, because up until then, the representation (as far as I could see it) was really less than stellar.
There has been widespread praise for North Wexford teenager David Beattie who shared his transgender story with Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show last Friday night.
The 19-year-old journalism student told Ryan that he realised he was transgender two years ago, and he has now begun his journey to become female, and will be known as Laylah. He estimates it could take up to five years for the transition to be complete, and he still identifies as male.
“I’m speaking out on this issue because I care about this issue. There is no hidden agenda or anything. I just care. My name is David Beattie, I’m eighteen, I live in Dublin and I’m transgender. I’m not going to sit here and try an represent the entire trans community because everyone has different preferences. I just want to tell my story and maybe I can help someone. The thing is I was born a boy but that’s not what I need to be. I am going to become a woman. Not because I’m being dramatic, attention seeking or anything like that. This is just what I need to do. For a long time people assumed that I was gay, myself included. But I never really felt like that was a label that fit me. I didn’t feel like a boy at all. And that’s because I wasn’t. For now I identify as a boy. I use masculine pronouns and my name is David. But after my transition has progressed to the point where I feel like a woman, I will be a woman. For me this isn’t a big deal. Once I realised that this was what I needed to do, I was okay with it. If people choose to still call me a man and use masculine pronouns then that’s their issue. If you choose to do that then you’re an asshole, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I won’t need anyone to confirm my identity. I know that I’m a woman and I don’t really care what anyone thinks of that. I’m not asking anyone to believe that this is real. It is real. This is what I need to do and I’m telling you that this is real. It’s as simple as that. I don’t understand why people don’t believe it. Why wouldn’t you? Seriously. Who is going to do this for the fun of it? This isn’t a joke, or a lie, or a form of deception. It’s a real thing that real people are going through. If you haven’t gone through this, I don’t get how you can say that it isn’t real. That would be like me saying that breaking your leg isn’t real because I haven’t broken my leg. It is a big deal for some trans people and that’s okay. But it doesn’t have to be. In my mind it’s as simple as this; This is something that I’m currently unhappy with. And once I’ve fixed it, I can move on with my life and everything will be fine. I don’t think anyone else needs to be affected or worried about this to be honest. Unfortunately, because of Ireland’s current policies, my transition has to be delayed until I have been diagnosed by a psychologist. I hate this, it makes me feel like I’m not trusted to make my own decisions around this fact that I’ve very much come to terms with. It also adds so much unnecessary time to my transition that really could be avoided. Apparently this is to prevent me from doing something that I’ll regret. But regret isn’t common amongst individuals who have transitioned. When it does occur, it seems to be because of an individual’s situation rather than a misdiagnosis. Changing your gender is not something you do on a whim, and it’s not an easy thing to do. But when a person’s quality of life worsens as a result of their transition, it is understandable that they would regret that transition. Some people find themselves shunned by their loved ones after they have expressed a need to transition. Often, people aren’t accepted into society after they have transitioned. In light of this, people are generally correct when they believe that they have gender dysphoria. In my opinion, people regret the decision to medically transition because of the people around them, not because of themselves. People die way too often because of transphobia and society’s refusal to accept us. This is disgusting. If you’re really concerned with something as trivial as the gender that a person is, then you should ask yourself why? Why does it matter to you what another person needs to do? Asking me not to transition is like asking me to sacrifice my chance of being happy. Do people really expect me to be unhappy because something makes them uncomfortable? Don’t be an asshole to people who transition. Ask yourself why you feel the need to put others down and fix that within yourself. Even if you somehow can’t wrap your head around this, then, why do you care? Somebody else’s transition has no effect on the way you live your life. This isn’t me asking people to feel sorry for me. I’m fine. But I would like to be given the freedom to make my own decisions, around my own treatment. We need to feel sorry for the people who have died because of this. We need to feel sorry for the people who are suicidal, or who are in danger.”
The term heteronormative is heard more and more in modern society, but what does it actually mean? Is it a ridiculous concept thought up by the youth of today or could it actually be a genuine affliction that our society suffers from? In a nutshell, heteronormativity is the implication that it is correct and normal to be cisgender or heterosexual.