Three years ago, when I was sixteen years old, I took a huge step in my life: I went to prom. I went to prom, like hundreds of thousands of school leavers that year, and, just like so many others, I wore a dress to prom. That's how I came out as transgender to my conservative private secondary school.
Three years is both a very short time and an eternity. In those three years, I've grown, I've become a trustee of Coventry Pride, a registered charity, and been involved in organising our local LGBT+ celebration since 2015. I joined the Green Party, was elected chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens, and now find myself the equalities spokesperson for the party. I've grown. I've progressed. I've achieved. I am still growing.
It's not all smooth sailing though. When I told my head teacher that I wanted to wear a dress to prom, she threatened to ban me from the event. When I told my family I was trans, my grandparents said they found it hurtful, asked if it was attention seeking. In the streets, on the bus, and online, I face harassment and abuse daily. The police are starting to take this seriously, but social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook still continue to let down the trans community.
Recently, we've seen a myth spreading, claiming that trans children get loads of medical treatment and surgery right off the bat - but it's so incredibly wrong. There is a lot of waiting, a lot of talking, and a lot of requirements first.
Hormone replacement therapy, often simply referred to as HRT, is generally not given to those beneath 16. Hormone blockers, which effectively act as a pause button, and are reversible, are given to those above 12. Surgery is dealt with by Adult Gender Identity Clinics.
Many people who fight against us say we should try to "cure" our transness first, some even put it more bluntly, saying we should go through conversion therapy as if to say we are broken and need fixing, but the medical community knows it doesn't work, the scientific community knows it doesn't work, the trans community knows it doesn't work, and its consequences can be and usually are fatal.
On Thursday, the BBC aired a faux documentary titled Transgender Children: Who Knows Best?. There were a number of issues, but these are best summarised by Stonewall, and Trans Media Watch. Quite frankly, it's frightening that our national broadcaster thought it appropriate to bring people's identities into question, that they thought it appropriate to continue to peddle well-discredited myths that only end up harming trans people, including trans youth.
Trans people, including trans young people, don't want to face abuse, we don't want to have our identities questioned on national media, so why on earth do people still believe we "choose" to be trans? Why would anyone choose to go through all this?
What we need is support. We need allies, we need our human rights to be respected.
My name is Aimee, I'm 19, I enjoy photography and PC gaming, I'm a trustee of Coventry Pride, I'm a Green Party Spokesperson, I am more than transgender. I am achieving