Wales

Transgender teen: 'Never been so sure about anything'

Llyr Image copyright Other
Image caption Llyr dressed as a boy until last year when she started wearing girls clothes and make-up to school

Llyr, who grew up as a farmer's son in rural mid Wales as part of a close agricultural community, is transgender. Aged 16, she is one of 75 children and young people from Wales referred to a specialist NHS clinic as a result of transgender feelings last year. Here Llyr tells her story.

Looking in the mirror as a child I felt gross when I was growing up. I hated it. I didn't feel I looked like who I was.

Being transgender to me is like I feel completely different inside to what I looked like outside. I thought everyone hated looking at themselves in the mirror like me.

Growing up on a farm near Aberystwyth it was very rural, you look out the window and it is just fields and mountains, it is lovely in that sense, but there isn't that much diversity around here.

Throughout my childhood I was always allowed to express myself in any way I wanted to. Sometimes I would take dolls to school but I quickly realised it wasn't the done thing in this area for boys to do.

I have always been the odd one out, and was very confused by it. I felt like - why can't I run around in a tutu? What is wrong with it? It was just something I wanted to do.

It was very painful to feel that confusion, until I came across transgender people on YouTube. They were really cool, the more they talked about the trans part of their life it intrigued me.

Then I watched a documentary about a young trans girl and things started to make sense to me. I found more people online and learnt more about it.

Image caption Llyr said her parents have been very supportive of her transition

The more I read and watched, the more things made sense. Then I realised - this is who I am.

But I lived in a conservative place where many people didn't know what trans was - the west Wales farming community is not the easiest to come out as transgender to. It took four years for me to talk to anyone else about it.

I told my dad I wanted to be a world-famous drag queen, and we laughed about it, but I couldn't go any further and tell him the whole truth.

I was already being badly bullied at school for things like my haircut, and the way that I walked. I hated it as it was just how I was, who I was - so I dreaded telling people.

The first person I told was my mum. I was just on the bed in my room with her chatting, and I confided in her.

I can't remember what I said but I have always been extremely close to my mum so it was very casual, I didn't feel nervous about telling her.

It is an extremely hard thing to go through, with or without support around you. It makes it an easier journey if you have people who you can talk to about how you are feeling. And that is what I have with my mum.

Image caption Llyr first went to the Tavistock centre aged 15 and is now having hormone treatment there

My dad is really supportive now too. It took him a little while to understand, as he had never properly heard the word transsexual before and didn't get what it meant, but that is understandable.

I talked him through how happy I am with it, and now he is the most supportive person out there.

We went to the GP and I eventually was referred to the Tavistock centre in London, and have had counselling and treatment there.

There was one appointment where I just sat and cried for the whole hour, and I don't think I realised how much emotion was built up in me until that appointment. So that surprised me.

My close friends knew, but to most people I was just another boy until I started dressing as a girl a year ago.

I just thought, you know what, I might as well do it now. I had grown my hair out so I could have hair extensions, and that was a major tipping point for me.

And little things like wearing make up to school made me feel more confident.

Image caption Llyr helped her father on his farm and told him she wanted to be a world-famous drag queen

I am comfortable with the name Llyr right now - even though it is a boy's name. It really doesn't bother me whether I get called a he or a she or a boy or a girl. But when the time is right I will say I want to be referred to as a "she".

Looking at old photos is weird because it doesn't look like me anymore.

It was quite nerve-wracking to have the family community see this side of me because they have known me as Llyr since I was born, and I have grown up around these people.

But farming is so important to my dad, it really is his life, so I went to an agricultural show with him this year. It was quite a big deal because physically I had changed quite a bit from last year.

I was not expecting everyone to understand it, but I was stressed and a bit nervous of what they would think as I didn't want anyone to say anything to my mum and dad.

Some were very unsure, some had never heard of trans before, while others have been supportive and amazing. Those who get it say to me - you are not harming anyone.

But like with everything, there is a group of people who are negative.

Image caption Llyr is one of 2,016 people under 18 to be referred for specialist treatment for gender identity issues last year

Now I'm on the path to transition I am having testosterone blockers, which will slow down the boy puberty. In around a year I will start taking oestrogen, which is the female hormone.

I view it as doing what I need to do to get to the point where I am the most-happy person I can be.

Eventually I think the right thing to do would be to go down the operation route just because I think I would just feel a lot more comfortable in the long run.

You do get some people asking: what if you change your mind one day? But I think, unless you're living it, you don't really understand how it feels - like you have never been so sure about anything.

I think it is a positive doing it so young because I have my whole life ahead of me as a woman. I have always known I have to do this. I don't see any other life for me but this.

  • Sweet Sixteen: A Transgender Story is on Tuesday 9 May, BBC One Wales at 22:40 BST

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