When most people think of transgender people, the first idea that will normally come into their head is a male to female transition. There are a few high profile trans females out there already. I first met my next interviewee over 10 years ago when they were a female student of mine. Let me introduce my friend, Killian Broadley.
Name: Killian Broadley
Killian, you have been through quite a transformation. Take us back to the beginning and tell us how it all began.
I grew up feeling different and like something was wrong. It got worse when I hit puberty. It took me a long time to figure out why. A few months ago I learnt about transgender and that you could transition. I went to see my GP and am now on a waiting list for Leeds gender identity clinic. The waiting list is about three years long so it will be some time before I can start hormones and have my surgeries.
What sort of experiences did you have during puberty that made you feel different?
I started to develop into a woman, I grew breasts and got my period. All this felt wrong and like it shouldn’t be happening. Before puberty there aren’t really any visual differences between males and females. I looked like the boys as well as the girls. So when I started to develop it was different. It wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on just what it was that was wrong. I should look like a boy as well as a girl. I shouldn’t be getting periods. They make me feel disgusting and like my body is betraying me
Were you attracted to men and did this further add to your confusion?
I was and still am. It was confusing. I thought that as I was a “girl” it was normal for me to be attracted to men and that it made me “straight” but I didn’t feel like a straight woman. It was a very confusing time. As soon as I found out that trans people existed I knew why. I’m a gay man.
People commonly confuse gender identity with sexual preference. Has this misconception affected people’s attitude towards you?
Yes it has. My mum for one doesn’t seem to understand. She thinks that because I like men I must be a woman and that if I am indeed a man that I should like women. She and the rest of my family still refer to me by my birth name and use female pronouns and this hurts.
I am going to come back to attitudes. At what point did it become clearer for you that your issue was one of gender identity?
When I saw a TV program on trans people. I realised that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way and that there was something that could be done.
Tell us about your first thoughts and feelings after seeing that program.
It was like a weight had been lifted. The reasons why I felt the way I did became clear. The reasons behind my dysphoria became clear. I didn’t hate myself as much anymore. I knew I was a trans man and that I could transition into a male body.
How was your first appointment with your GP?
I asked what they do. They said they would refer me to the GIC (Gender Identity Clinic) and a few days later I got the letter from Leeds GIC saying I was on the waiting list which was for three and a half years. So now I just need to wait for that. It’s been eight months and it’s dragging.
What support have you received if any?
I go to a support group in Leeds on the first Monday of every month. It’s run by trans people and we just talk and try to help each other. I also get support at work. They allowed me to change my name badge and ordered me a male uniform. Last week I went to Sparkle Transgender Awards and ASDA actually won “Transgender Work Place of the Year” we beat the NHS and probation service.
You mentioned the lack of support from your family. Tell me more about everyday attitudes from friends, family and the general public. What is it like to be a f2m trans?
My friends have been great. They started calling me Killian right away and using male pronouns (he/him/his). It’s been the same with my work colleagues. My family are a lot less supportive sadly. I think they’ll come around though. As for the general public it’s a bit of a mixed reaction.
When I’m working on my checkout they’ll say things like “hi love” which means they see me as a female. But every now and then I get a “hi fella” I’ve also found that kids are a lot more accepting. They often correct their parents and tell them that I’m a man. Other kids ask if I’m a boy or a girl and they accept it when I tell them I’m a boy. I use the male toilets when I’m out and about and have never had a problem so I must pass on some level.
It’s hard work being f2m trans. Everyday I get up and I bind my chest which takes a while as I’m large chested. I position my packer (a fake penis) and then get dressed. I style my hair to make it look as masculine as I can and then I start my day. I dread waking up to find I’ve started my period. It’s one of my biggest fears in a way.
Since I had the contraceptive implant put in my arm I’ve only had about 10 periods in the past 4 years which has helped greatly. But I still do get them and it makes me feel disgusting and wrong. I get feelings of cutting it all out so it can’t happen ever again. I’ve never acted on these feelings but am scared that one day I will. When I start on Testosterone my periods will stop completely and that makes me happy
Now that you are taking steps to be the man you have always been, has your thinking changed about any other aspects of your life?
Not really. I do everything the same I always have done. I suppose I’ve thrown out all my girl clothes etc and now I only wear men’s clothes and use men’s deodorant now.
So what advice would you give to anybody who is feeling like they don’t belong in the gender ID they’ve been born with?
I’d tell them to go to see their GP so they can be referred to a GIC where they will get the help they need. If they are not ready to go to their GP yet I’d advise them to go to a support group of some kind where they can get more information from like minded people until they feel they are ready. Perhaps talk to friends and family too.
How do you think support could be improved in the UK for transgender people?
I think the subject should be taught in schools. That way it becomes more accepted and young trans people may discover themselves earlier on in life and hopefully not have to go through the wrong puberty.
If you had an opportunity to give talks in schools, would you?
Yeah I would. It’s an important subject.
What plans have you made, if any, to get involved in activism in the future?
I haven’t made any as yet.
What does the future hold for Killian Broadley?
Hmm well I’ll have my appointments at the GIC, start hormones and have my surgeries, finally be the man I’ve always been, progress in my martial arts and other areas of my life.
Thanks very much for talking to me, Killian. It is a pleasure knowing you and I am sure, with your determination, you will do well with whatever you want to do!
I have known Killian for over 10 years and had no idea what he was going through until relatively recently. People who are suffering from dysmorphia are suffering in silence a lot of the time. As attitudes change and as the Killians of this world stand up and speak out, life can be a little kinder to everyone, not just those who fit into the expectations of the majority. Thanks very much to Killian for doing this interview. Remember, caring is sharing so shine a little light on the transgender issue by sharing this interview.
I work with people, teams and groups to help change mindsets for the better using a mindfulness based coaching approach. If you are interested in finding out more, get in touch.