I joined the GenderGP team around two months ago. I started out doing the odd project here and there for the website. I wasn’t overly focused on the subject matter, it was simply another client and an opportunity to put my skills to good use. So I added the “to dos” to my list, alongside the other projects I was working on.
I tend to steer clear of the media and have done so for around 13 years, so I’m really not up to date with current events. That’s not to say I don’t have an idea of what’s going on in the world, just that it isn’t a constant focus for me.
I’d heard bits and bobs about the transgender movement over the years but hadn’t given it much thought. Had I been asked for my opinion on the matter it would have been one of skepticism and disbelief, but I realise now that this was born entirely out of ignorance.
One of my first tasks on joining GenderGP, was to go through all of the pages on the website and tidy them up. As part of the process I ended up reading many of the articles and my entire outlook changed.
There was one article that really touched me: Christmas message from Dr. Helen Webberley
Throughout the process, I learned that ‘this transgender thing’ is about far more than I had realised. That rather than what I had perceived as an exercise in people simply dressing a certain way to shock, or because they did not want to conform, a trans person’s gender identity is as real to them, as it is to any cis (which I have learned is the term for non trans) individual.
I have also learned that simply denying trans people the support they need is not a solution. I have read the history of GenderGP and seen the backlash from outside of the transgender community. I have also seen the warm messages of love, support and thanks from our members. I feel proud to be a part of a service that is actually making a real change for the better.
Without services such as GenderGP stepping forward to offer help and support, where it is so desperately needed, so many people would be simply left to suffer in silence.
People are living their day to day lives with this internal battle and our collective ignorance is only making things worse. So my advice to anyone with an uninformed opinion is read up, get informed, don’t let ignorance win. Only then can you be a true trans ally.