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Katie Neeves

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Katie is a woman on a mission! But not just any woman and not just any mission, Katie came out very publicly as being transgender in 2018 after living for 48 years as a man. Katie ...

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Who are you?

Hi, my name's Katie Neves and I'm a trans ambassador in this experience. You can ask me absolutely anything about being transgender.

What does it mean to be transgender?

To be transgender basically means that there's a difference between how you feel in your head, on your heart, IE, your gender identity as opposed to your primary sex characteristics and the label that you've been given at birth. But I feel I also just explain that a bit more and expand on it more. So brace yourself for a long answer. So basically, when a baby's born, the doctor or midwife looks between the legs of the baby. And in the UK they have a choice and it's a binary choice. It's either boy or girl, that's all they can put down. But in many countries that's changing now and there's not a requirement to put a sex of the baby down. But in this country, there still is. But the thing about nature is it's very messy and it doesn't like binary things, and so many people have an extra chromosome. So it is not as straightforward as just xx and XY chromosomes. As we're all taught in biology classes at school, you can actually have up to five chromosomes, but many people as they've got an extra chromosome and they have this condition called intersex. And so for instance, they could have a vagina, but then they could also have internal testes. So, but of course when they're born, only the vagina is seen so that baby gets put down as a girl. But then it's often not until very much later on in life when the internal testes are found, when internal scans are being done. And that's just only one of these things. And this affects more people than you think. It's about 2% of the population. So in the UK it's roughly about the same number of people who've got ginger hair, not necessarily the same people. So don't go jumping to any conclusions, but that gives you an idea enough to quantify it. So that's the primary sex characteristics. Let's look at the secondary sex characteristics. We're all used to a whole range of that, and we're all completely cool with that. So for instance, just think of the typical alpha male. He'll be tall, he'll be broad, he'll have big hands, big feet. He'll drive A BMW where his indicators don't work. Oh no, I'm going off on one now. But not all men look like that. Many men are small and they've got small hands, small feet, they've got heart shaped faces. But then let's look at women. Not all women look like the stereotypical Barbie doll. Many women have a much more masculine appearance. So we're used to that whole range and we're completely cool with that. But all of that, that's just about sex. That's got nothing to do with gender. Gender is effectively the sex of your brain, and it manifests itself in how you feel in your head and your heart. You just know it. Just the same as you know, whether you are left or right-handed, it just feels right or whether you know who you're attracted to sexually, it just feels right. That's how it feels with gender. It just feels right. And just as sex isn't binary, gender isn't binary either. There's a whole range as well. And it's not linear either. Many people are what's called a gender, so they don't have a gender at all. But just for simplicity purposes of the time, Think, think of it as being linear with a hundred percent male at one end, a hundred percent female. At the other end. Nobody's a hundred percent of either. It's just that most people who are not trans tend to think of themselves a hundred percent of either. And we're all on this spectrum somewhere. But for the people whose gender identity doesn't match their sex characteristics and the label, they begin at birth. They're called transgender.

What does hormone therapy do?

Hormone therapy has lots of different effects. And so for trans women, so that's people who've transitioned from male to female. So I'm a trans woman, the effects of that are you have redistribution of body fat and so you grow breasts. You can have more rounder hips, you get less body hair and less facial hair, although it doesn't have as much of an effect on your facial hair as body hair. And you have a massive reduction in muscle mass as well. I've noticed that a lot. My job throughout the years as a photographer, for instance, I've got a huge bag of lights that I've always found heavy, but now I can't lift it. I have to put it on wheels. It's on a trolley now. So it is a huge reduction in muscle mass. It's very, very noticeable. And then for trans men, they have a growth of body hair and they put on muscle mass and within about three weeks of them being on testosterone, their voices start to break. It's really, really noticeable. Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way around and that's why still sound like a chain smoker of 30 years. But that's the effect. It has also the effect of the testosterone. They'll start to get male pattern baldness as well. So there's massive differences between the two and it's very, very powerful. Also with, often used with hormone therapy, you have hormone blockers as well, and they're often used in conjunction with, and they stop your existing hormone. So in my case, it's testosterone blockers, and they do things like they shrink your genitals and basically you then have a loss of libido associated with that. But then it has the opposite effect for trans men. So in their instance, in their case, they would have an enlarged clitoris and they tend to have more sex drive as well. So that's the effect of hormones.

Did you have hormone therapy?

What bathrooms do transgender people use?