Gender transition can be an extremely difficult and isolating time. Not only is there uncertainty and fear, but blatant transphobia in the media (and all around) and few people, if any, to talk to.
But a group of trans women have lent their voices to a very important cause, reaching out to those going through transition so they don’t have to make the journey alone.
In today’s New Activist episode - released on Trans Day Of Remembrance, which honours the memories of those lost in anti-transgender violence - well-known trans women read essays from a new book ‘To My Trans Sisters’, which contains letters from 100 transgender women offering advice to girls at the start of their transitions.
Charlie Craggs, the books’ editor and star of HuffPost UK’s ‘New Activists’ series, explains to us: “The book is ‘what we wish we knew’... It contains letters from a plethora of inspiring trans women: from trailblazing politicians to celebrated entertainers, pioneering scientists to bestselling authors, and some straight-up trans icons too; women who have literally changed the world... I like to call it an encyclopaedia of trans excellence.”
Here are some of our favourite lines from the reading:
Charlie says: “Initially I thought practical transition tips would be most helpful
to you. Like advice about presenting and passing as female. Styling advice, make-up tips, how to cover five o’clock shadow, the physical side of transition.
But then I realised, as useful as they might be, this is what we get caught up in
so often and what our entire transition and lives become centred around.
When what really matters is what lies behind the clothes, behind the make-up, behind the 5 o’clock shadow.”
Dr Kate Stone, CEO of Novalia, says: “Dear sis, don’t get lost in transition. The aim of transition is to come out at the other side. For too many of us, transition itself can become the focus.”
Rhyannon Styles, author and writer for Elle urges those transitioning to be patient: “Believe it or not a transition can’t happen overnight. You can’t flick a switch and suddenly expect be the person you always dreamed of. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen like that...
“This is a journey of self-love, self-care and self-acceptance. Isn’t that right sister? Stand up, stand out, be bold and be proud. Most importantly, be you.”
Christine Burns MBE, a British political activist, says: “So what wisdom can I offer? The first thing is that people can surprise you. The people you anticipate being the most likely to reject you may turn out to be unexpected allies. I thought for instance that my parents might very possibly reject me. In the event, they turned out to be my staunchest allies and cheerleaders. We became far closer. I had been so, so wrong.”