What does it mean to be young and trans? 'Puberty in your 30s, new clothes, new name! Brace yourself,' says our new columnist Rhyannon Styles. In her new series for ELLE UK, The New Girl, she lets us follow her transition — from her days as a young male performance artist named Ryan Styles to embracing the woman she really is. In the coming months, she'll be chronicling her road to gender reassignment surgery (the changing room run-ins, the fashion wins, the emotional highs, the hormonal lows, the NHS wait lists, all of it.) But first, watch this video and then read her primer below.
Being transgender is about overcoming obstacles
'The world is just waking up to us. But the strength you find from living as your legitimate self is limitless.'
Being transgender is about being yourself
'Set yourself FREE! Shake it UP! Be true to YOU!'
Being transgender IS about ‘Gender’
'Surprise! Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity, gender expression or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.'
Being transgender doesn’t mean needing to have any surgery
'Breast augmentation, vaginoplasty, mastectomy, rhinoplasty, phalloplasty, facial feminisation, pre-op, post-op or non-op? Yes, non-op is definitely the choice of many.'
Being transgender is not about sexuality
'It has nothing to do with it. Sexual preference and gender identity are two different things entirely.'
Being transgender and transitioning is confusing!
'Hormones, puberty, new clothes, new name! Brace yourself, you’ve just started living!'
Being Transgender is not a choice
'Whether you decide to transition at 16 or 65, its likely you’ve known since you started walking that you felt different.'
Being transgender is claiming new pronouns
'What pronoun would you like to use? She, He, We, V, They, Miss, Mr, Ms, Mx. Take your pick. Always always ask a trans person what is their preferred pronoun if you’re unsure, its unlikely they will be offended. I’d always proudly reply with "Miss!"'
Being transgender is so now?
'Umm well, not really. Hello Lili Elbe! Chaz Bono! Kate Bornstein! Holly Woodlawn! Buck Angel! April Ashley! Christine Jorgensen! and many more…'
Being transgender is using the NHS
'We are so fortunate in the UK to have this service. You can obtain hormones, undergo surgery and speak to professionals. Use it. '
Being transgender is sometimes about being hairy
'Ouch! probably the most expensive part of my transition so far. I’ve had laser hair removal for two years at a cost of £700 to remove my beard and it's not gone yet!'
Being Transgender is about having a relationship
'I recently started a relationship with a man who appreciates me for who I am. During the dark days, I didn’t think this would be possible. Its absolutely wonderful to find out I was wrong!'