Trans woman, 65, earns applause on Question Time with moving speech on social rejection

Nick Duffy October 19, 2018
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A woman got a huge round of applause on the BBC’s Question Time after she busted myths about gender recognition and spoke about her own experiences.

The 65-year-old Question Time audience member spoke as the panel was discussing proposed reforms to gender recognition laws on the show, aired on Thursday (October 18) before a public consultation on the issue closes on Friday (October 19) at 11pm.

She said: “I am a trans woman, and I’ve been like this for 50 or 60 years. I can’t describe the deep pain and depression that I’ve had to go through because people in society rejected me as a person.

“That is almost impossible to describe to anyone. To be rejected is incredibly difficult to experience, and it’s taken me a long, long time to work through the pain to become me.

“It’s only ten years ago that I started to take hormones to resolve this issue, and now I’m actually being me.”

The woman on Question Time (BBC)

She added: “The internet has made a difference. In the 1950s when I was very young, there was no information out there.

“Doctors were actually going to give me electro-aversion therapy to stop me being transgender, so the therapies have change remarkably.”

Explaining the need for change to gender recognition laws, she said: “The problem with the Gender Recognition Certificate is I’m still having to ask someone else permission to be myself.

“It’s a panel of people that I don’t have a chance to see, because it’s all done via forms. I have to pay £140 in order to be me.”

The woman on Question Time (BBC)

“Self-identification [would mean] I can actually have my birth certificate changed. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing for me, because I’m now 65 and that’s not important to me, but for the younger generation coming up, it’s very important that they have their birth certificate changed to match the gender they think they are.”

She also took the opportunity to push back against incorrect claims that children are being given hormone treatment or surgeries.

The woman continued: “Regarding the children having hormone replacement therapy, they don’t have it until they’re at least 16, and any blockers that are required, they only have them when they’re nearing puberty. There’s no operation that takes place until they’re at least 18.”

Addressing the issue, James Cleverly, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “I am a conservative because I believe in personal choice, personal freedom, personal responsibility, and I think this is the natural evolution of those principles.

James Cleverly on Question Time (BBC)

He added: “If a sexual predator wishes to enter a toilet to attack a woman, there’s no need to have any recognition or certificate to do so, that can happen already. If that’s what we’re worried about, we should look at ways of protecting women, rather than dance around the issue and try to make an already-difficult issue even more difficult.”

Labour’s Keir Starmer added: “I hope the debate doesn’t get toxic, because it’s a serious debate we need to treat with real sensitivity.

Keir Starmer (BBC)

“The attitudes that you described, the abuse, and the things trans people have had to put up with, is something we all need to hear. We all need to resolve to do something about it.

He added: “I do think it’s finely balanced in terms of women’s safety.

“Let’s deal with this in a sophisticated, grown-up way, but I don’t think either side can just pretend there isn’t a valid point being made either way.”

More: BBC, conversion therapy, LGBT, Question Time, Trans, Transgender

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