From the Guardian by Kate Lyons
Nikki Hayden, 26, psychology student, London
Trans people are the same as everyone else, our ideals in life are to be happy, to be respected, to be comfortable. I’ve had people who have openly said to me that they’ve had prejudices around trans people but as soon as they’ve met me they’ve understood more – it’s who I am and the way that I was born. There’s no real difference between myself and people who are cisgender [non-transgender].
Until I was about four or five I didn’t know I wasn’t a girl, to be honest with you. One of my earliest memories, about five years old, was being yelled at by a teacher for going to the toilet with the girls. About the same age I realized I was different to these other boys. At the age of nine I refused to have my hair cut. I didn’t have it cut until I was 16, because having it cut was such a torment to me.
School was extremely difficult. I got bullied a lot. I was picked on for being too thin, for being feminine, for not liking football, for hanging round with girls, for having long hair. They mocked everything they could think of in terms of gender and sexuality.
I learned what trans meant through YouTube. I knew how I felt but I didn’t know there was a term for it. I was basically just trying to Google what I felt. A light- bulb went off in my head and I thought, this explains all the issues I’ve had as long as I can remember.
I never really told my family. They know, but I just started transitioning. I never said: “Oh, by the way …” My mum asked me if I was transgender when I was around 19 after I’d already transitioned. She said: “Well, are you?” And I was like: “Are you blind?”
On a day-to-day basis I don’t tell people I’m transgender. The thing about trans people is, we feel very normal. It’s the way we are, it’s only when people say you’re not normal that you feel that way.
I’ve always been extremely feminine, I always felt that way. I can’t say that I ever felt like a boy, I just had to live as a boy for the first 16 years of my life.