Dysphoria, Incongruence, Identity, Agenda
Whether gender is a construct, neuroscience or biologically determined, I’ve always felt incongruent with my birth-assigned one. Not that it was that easily determined either. At birth, I was designated female and called Katherine but an hour or so later, doctors decided I was male and my parents renamed me Jonathan.
I spent my school years from primary through secondary internally feeling like I belonged elsewhere, to another gender group, that of girls, or more accurately, to neither. When puberty was significantly delayed, no doubt due to atypical hormones and stunted development, I suffered psychologically, along with bullying for not being manly enough. Ironiclally, I now get jibes about not being feminine enough from some trans people, whilst I’m quite happy being somewhat butch, despite my love of long hair and bangles – yet another stereotype to defy.
As an adult I struggled with my gender, denied and buried it with marriage and evangelical Christianity, only for it to burst out with repressed vengeance years later.
So at aged 40 I began transitioning, transparently as Katy Jon. I went into psychotherapy, explored sex and body workshops for self-development, and experimented with various styles and expressions, until I found myself, my confidence and my congruence between inner and outer selves, and the various parts of who we are that go towards making us who we can be.
Going on female hormones was one of the happiest moments of my life that on the day I got them I bought a new classical guitar and challenged my then girlfriend to hug a 100 random strangers in London on my behalf – she did as well, surprisingly 95% accepted.
Having been on this path many years now and worked in other areas of diversity (around faith groups and foreign nationals) I became inundated with requests for support and to offer training, give talks and lectures, about being transgender.
Hence, GenderAgenda was born. Through this agency I’ve delivered training and talks to City & County councils, HM Prison Service, Police & Fire Services, Job Centres, Unions, Colleges and Universities. Recent talks have covered more than just transgender though and have ranged over the full LGBTI human rights spectrum, as I firmly believe that gender education is about more than being trans or intersex, and that diversity is about more than sex(uality) and gender. We need an intersectional programme of human rights and respect that recognises inherent and individual human value, dignity, and autonomy over our body, freedoms, and expression.