Fife trans group aims to break down barriers

Tanja Franz and Jayden Kruger.
Tanja Franz and Jayden Kruger.

Fife Centre for Equalities held a conversation and chat with people from across Fife about topics such as gender identity and trans issues last Saturday in Kirkcaldy.

T with Trans is part of the equality collective initiative to include and engage with all the diverse voices in Fife.

Kalena Bell.

Kalena Bell.

The collective aims to help make communities, and the region, a more inclusive place that appreciates and respects everyone living, working or studying here.

Pat Greenhough, engagement officer with Fife Centre for Equalities said: “T with Trans hopes to open up a real conversation about what it is like when you are transgender and transitioning.

“It is about trying to get people to understand that being trans is not as simple as what people think it is.

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“People who are transgender don’t choose to be transgender.

“We are assigned our gender at birth, that is what goes on your birth certificate but that is not necessarily what our gender is.

“People are brought up to be boys or girls, then you have the identity of what is really going on inside and that is where you get transgender.

“It is like a jigsaw, trying to break down barriers and to help people understand.

“T with Trans is opening up these topics to have an adult conversation about it.

The event was attended by a number of different people from the transgender community.

Jayden Kruger (18) who is a transgender male was there with his mother Tanja Franz.

Jayden said: “I came out when I was 15, but my first memory of wanting to be a guy was when I was about eight years old.

“I was watching a movie and I was watching the male character dancing with the girl character – and thinking that I wanted to be him.

“I just thought that this is what I see myself is, why does no one else see me like that.

Tanja who has supported Jayden since coming out said: “At first I thought it was just a phase.

“I always knew Jayden was always more interested in boy’s things and even when I was buying him clothes.

“I would get girly stuff and you could see it in his face that he was unimpressed.

“We have shared a lot of tears together – it wasn’t easy at times.”

Among the visitors at T with Trans was Kalena Bell (37) who is a transgender female.

She said: “I started going out dressed as a woman in 2005.

“I started going out more as I became a bit more confident and a bit more sure that I could survive the anxiety of going out like that.

“In 2008 I was getting more involved in transgender communities mainly on the west coast as I was a little bit scared of suffering from discrimination where I live.

“I was living a double life.

“Monday to Friday I was living as a male and at the weekend I was living as a female.

“By 2011, I had told my family that I was struggling to live my life as a man and told them how I had been presenting myself as a woman.

“I wasn’t allowed to present myself as a woman in my mum or dad’s house as they had said that it was too difficult for them.

“In 2017 I had changed my name and sought private treatment to start transitioning.”

Nathan Gill (21) was also at the event at the weekend, he said: “I have always felt that I know who I am.

“I’m lucky because I have always been perceived as male, I have a really neutral face and my voice is neutral, I didn’t have to fight against what people thought.

“I’m more feminine now than what I was before I was on hormones, I felt I had to fit into this male role and that I had to act really masculine and not necessarily myself.

“I don’t need to do that, I have people around me who care for me and like me for being me, I don’t need to fit into a box trying to be like a man, I just need to be myself.”