Hi there, I’m 15 years old and I’m FTM Trans man.

I came out earlier this year around January, February time; just after my 15th birthday. All through my life I grew up with having all boys for friends, I went in the boys bathrooms at primary school, I’d wear boy’s uniform to school, trunks when I went swimming. What I could never understand is why I felt so out of place and uncomfortable in the girl’s bathrooms. One of the teachers when I was about 5 or 6 told me I couldn’t go in the boys anymore, I had to go in the girls, this was a task so my solution was to go when everyone was either in class or outside playing so no one would see me in the girls bathroom. School showed me gender roles and what boys and girls “should” be like. This would complicate things allot because when they say split into boys and girls for team games in like sport for example I’d  just be there like, which side do I go on. I would get so confused and upset. This is before I knew anything about what transgender was. I felt quite alone to be honest.

When I was around 8, I thought right. Got to be a girl and do girl things, so I grew my hair out started to attempt wearing girl’s clothes, try to fit in more basically, puberty kind of pushed me towards having to do those things, I did this until I reached about, 13, 14 this is when I thought about what I would wear more. When people would describe me, tomboy, would be the word that was used.  14 was the age I came out as a lesbian, being attracted to girls was never something that I had been confused about really. After I came out I thought the thoughts for me being uncomfortable, angry and confused would stop. But they didn’t so I started again. I went on YouTube and read up allot about what I was feeling like and they all seemed to point to the same thing. Being transgender. My girlfriend at the time had a friend that was transgender so I and he talked and he told me about YAY, he told me to come along to one of the gender sessions. I did and I’m so glad I did. I got to talk to someone who had gone through their transition and others who were going through what I was going through, everyone was at a different stage in their transition. It helped me because I finally had something in real life I could interact with, people I could talk to and get real advise from. I had friends that understood what it was I was going through and that was the thing I think that made up my mind on who I was and gave me the confidence boost to do what made me happy. And their always there if I need help, someone to help guide me. Their only I quick phone call or Facebook message away when I need them.

Since I’ve been at YAY I’ve been to the gender identity clinic in Exeter and have had 2 appointment so far, 3rd one later this month. Hopefully at the end of this year I’ll be on hormone blockers and testosterone by the end of next year, fingers crossed. 

There will always be people around that tell me that it’s a faze, or “I’m going to hell”, its discussing, a behaviour or an act but I’m not acting anymore I’m free from the fake smiles and uncomfortable feelings and anger at myself for who I am. As cliché as it sounds I wouldn’t be where I am today or as confident as I am without the whole team at YAY supporting me through my transition. They’re there to tell me those mean messages are wrong. I’m just really grateful their around.  

Young Person 15 yrs old ... “YAY helped me discover who I was. It helped me to realise that there are other people going through similar things to me and helped me to come out to my friends and mum. At the moment YAY is the only place where I can truly be myself. YAY gave me the confidence and resources to come out to the psychologist I was seeing and pursue appointments at the gender identity clinic. YAY taught me it was ok to be who I am and let me meet other people who have experienced similar things to me and what I hope to experience in the future. Going to YAY gives me hope that I will be accepted and helps me feel less alone. It gives me courage to be myself. Before I was out to my friends and family I never felt truly alone because I had YAY. I use to have a lot of suicidal thoughts about being trans, but being able to be myself at YAY has lessened the intensity and frequency of these. Everyone at YAY is always helpful and they are son generous to give us their time it and it has definitely helped me and I know its helped others too.” 

Andrew: The thing that hurts most is the feeling of aloneness. That there is no one that understands you. Heteronormality surrounds you. You feel trapped in a lie. This is why organisations such as LGBTQ Youth Cornwall are so valuable - I am not alone, and that is the best feeling ever. I haven't been going to Yay Cornwall for very long, but I already feel more comfortable in myself. The resources, advice and help from the workers and other attendees are invaluable.  

A young man who attended a school drop day session with his class contacted us after the session and said:

'Thank you for the talk you did at our school it really helped some people realise, what people like me feel when names are shouted at us, I just wanted to email you saying that the talk we had after your presentation made me feel better and made me realise there is people out there that can help someone like my self.'

A young woman who has been attending the group for around 3 years provided a report on recient activities said:

'Being the oldest member who currently attends YAY I have always found it quite difficult to engage with the younger members due to the huge age gap, but the day helped bridge the gap between us and encouraged a new member to attend regular group sessions' 'I think, for some young people, going out as an LGBT person in public can sometimes be quite petrifying especially if homophobic remarks have been made towards them before but by going on these trips it has helped us to build up our confidence and stand united as a group, together.

A young gay man who we have been working with for over 3 years.

This young man first attended the group in 2009, aged 16 he was incredibly shy and hardly spoke in the meetings. The young man had been sexually abused at a young age and received little support from his family. He was receiving 1-1 support from the Intercom Trust and Healthy Gay Cornwall whilst attending the Yay Youth group.

Through years of confidence and self esteem building the young man expressed how he now felt like a completely different person. He had the confidence to look for work and apply for college courses which he said he wouldn’t have been able to do in the past. Part of him coming to YaY was to also meet with other LGBTQ young people and make some friends.

In 2012 the young man is now in a stable relationship and quotes “I couldn’t have done anything without the support of YAY, I owe them so much and appreciate everything they have done for me”.

He is now moving to Bristol with his partner to work towards his ambition to become a photographer.

Another young person has said:

'I remember being in school and just not fitting in with the other girls in my class, I just wasn’t interested in the boys like they were. As I grew older I started to worry about my sexuality, I started to question myself and I began to feel really anxious. I went to see a school counsellor because I was getting bullied at school and being called names. She was far from helpful and instead of empowering me decided to take the Freudian approach to determine if I was ‘gay’ or not! As time went on, so did the questioning and so did the bullying but I got through it and had some good friends who stood by me and just learnt to ignore the name calling and tried to just ignore my sexuality! It took me a long time a lot of confusion and a lot of courage and I decided to come out as Bisexual when I was 22, although most were accepting, some people were not as accepting as I had hoped and I was very careful who I told and that’s when I got involved with YAY.
I was really nervous about going to YAY, would I fit in? Did I have to have a label? Would I be judged? It was amazing to meet other young people, to build up myself esteem and confidence which had been taken away from me from being bullied for so many years at school and to actually begin to feel a sense of pride about my sexuality. I learnt from others around me that actually its ok to be me and that i am OK. 
YAY not only supports me with LGBTQ stuff but also other issues that I have been facing, the Youth workers are amazing and are really supportive and I know I have somewhere and someone to turn to when things get tough to sign post me in the right direction or to be a listening ear when I need it.
Off course, I still do sometimes question my sexuality but YAY has helped to realise that actually it doesn’t matter whether I am BI or Gay, that I don’t have to find myself a label and if choose to have on, I’m not stuck with that one label for life, that that one label does not define me but can become part of who I am and it’s about what I feel comfortable with and just to be proud of being me.
And I am!

This young person was one of the first young people to come to the group and he stayed with us until he went to university he said:

When YAY started up I had only recently moved to Cornwall in order to do a college course. I was lacking in confidence and found it difficult making new friends. When I first started attending the YAY meetings, there were not many members (as it had just been set up), which gave me a chance to talk to more people my own age and make friends. I was able to talk to the people that ran the group about my issues I had with moving on my own and slowly began to build my confidence up. As time went and members increased, my confidence and friendships grew, as well as a feeling of being a part of something. Sadly when I finished my college course I had to move from Cornwall in order to do my degree course. However, the help in improving my confidence and the accepting environment, at YAY, has been crucial in giving me the confidence in myself and talking to new people both in my life in and outside university.

A 15 year old person has told us:

Before I came: Suicidal, not wanting to continue, Difference YAY made: helped me to deal with school (and still does), and pulled me back from the brink of suicide, The best thing about YAY: calm, listening, supportive, and helps me be who I really am.

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Last night was absolutely a blast!!! Watched Rocky Horror Picture Show ... tomorrow's pride planning woooiooo