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Following a year of intense debate around ‘gender recognition’, five trans young people speak to Caitlin Logan about what it really means to be trans in Scotland today
CAMERON was 14 years old when he first had the language to pinpoint why his mental health had deteriorated two years earlier as puberty came knocking: he was trans. Now, an 18-year-old computer science student, he sits in a bustling coffee shop next to a table of burly men and speaks with the good-humoured ease of any other boy his age.
“I’m trying to listen to their conversation – they’re talking about a sport but I can’t figure out which one,” he says, eyeing them over his shoulder.
We’ve met together with Emily, a film and media student, self-proclaimed fashionista and video games aficionado with whom Cameron came into contact through LGBT Youth Scotland after getting involved with the charity last year. Emily jokes that she’s a “dinosaur”, having joined one of the youth groups five years ago at age 15, before she yet understood that she was trans.
“I had come out as some level of bi or queer or whatever, and I was like, oh, here’s a trans identity knocking on my door. That was really helpful because otherwise I would have never known what I was going to do, or how I was going to handle coming out as trans. It sounds dramatic, but it saved my life,” Emily explains.
The past year has been a difficult one for Cameron and Emily, along with the three other trans young people who agreed to speak me, as the Scottish and UK Governments’ consultations on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act have opened up an unprecedented level of scrutiny to trans rights and identities.