Interview: Reality star Chelsey Harwood on online abuse and trans visibility
Reality star Chelsey Harwood speaks to PinkNews about her new relationship, Caitlyn Jenner and embracing our individuality.
TV star Chelsey Harwood has been in the news recently after going public with her new boyfriend Donny.
She was inundated with vicious comments from internet trolls after posting a photo on Facebook – but the 28 year old Hollyoaks beauty has came out fighting.
In an interview she spoke openly about her new relationship, and her decision to be out and proud of who she is.
Harwood, who transitioned at the age of 19, first posted a video a 4 years ago because she wanted to “tell people myself, tell them everything I’d done, what my previous name was.”
She said: “I explained every operation and put it out there then it went viral, this is what got my following started… since then times have evolved and I like to think I have been a part of that”.
The brave reality star went on to say: “People shouldn’t hide in the shadows and be afraid to be who they are, because that is what is holding society back.
“I want to say yes I am transgender, I am proud and this is me, this is who I am, nothing you say or do can affect my life”.
The TV star has never shied away from speaking her mind, and never hesitates to speak out in favour of trans rights and visibility.
When women tell her that she will never be a real woman because she doesn’t bleed or have a womb, she hits back: “Let me tell you now, I bled blood sweat and tears and put my heart and soul into being what I want to be”.
She added: “There’s genetic women who cant have kids, does that make them any less of a female?
“What do people want me to do, carry on being a boy and be unhappy and kill myself, that’s what many people would want transgender people to do.”
Harwood is a trailblazer in the local community, inspiring people with her new relationship.
Of Caitlyn Jenner, she said: “She was rich and famous before she had the surgery, well done, because that means that now you’re bringing more attention to the cause. people say she’s only been a woman 5 minutes, no, that person has may have always felt that way but blended into normal society, maybe she wanted to have kids before she transitioned, you don’t know the individuals reasons so people need to stop judging each other”.
She talked candidly about her new boyfriend, his “dignity” and how “his terms to me are, as long as you’re happy I’m happy, so that takes a really special lad I think”.
They met on Facebook, after Donny made several attempts to contact her, she responded months later and the two began texting until deciding to meet one evening.
Chelsey insisted it not be a date, and just a chance for them to see if they like eachother before he would be pushed into the public eye, but after turning up at his house he asked her to go for drinks.
“I think he was pleased”, she added.
The couple decided to go public with the relationship after a series of lengthy discussions in which she realised he was the one, since previous boyfriends would backtrack following any negative responses they’d receive from family or friends once they found out, but Donny is different.
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“He’s introduced me to his parents, I’ve been out for drinks with him and his friends, he hasn’t kept me away from anybody, he’s been really understanding” and even though the couple have only been together for a few months, she says “he’s the lad I’ve wanted to find and now I’ve found him”.
A lot has changed since she first came out about her transition, trans visibility is increasing with the likes of Jenner and Laverne Cox.
However the star still thinks we have a way to go as far as trans rights are concerned, “you still have bigoted people who think oh you were born a man you will die a man” but there is hope “if people start to normalise being transgender, then in a few years time it will be like now were there’s not really any bigotry towards gay people, it’s widely accepted and if someone says anything against it you have 100,000 people signing petitions like they did against Tyson Fury”.
“Times have evolved and changed, this is the new normal, individuals can be different and everyone should embrace eachother’s craziness”.
Harwood has continued to be defiant against the haters and is letting her happiness do the talking, speaking about her romance she said “He’s so lovely, I just wish people would stop making things up, like is this a publicity stunt, if people could see the text messages between us and how we are together, we are the most silliest couple you could ever meet”.
It seems Chelsey has met her match.