Transgender young adult fiction writer Juno Dawson has spoken out about the violence and abuse faced by trans people in the UK.
“I’m finally who I was supposed to be,” she said. “On a physical, emotional and spiritual level it’s enormously freeing. Pretending to be a boy almost pushed me to the edge. But it is gruelling practically. No one enters transition for the lolz.”
Dawson, who grew up in West Yorkshire but is now based in Brighton, continued: “The worst part is the fear that you might be battered or murdered on the street. Groups of men can be very unkind.”
A 2017 report by the charity Stonewall highlighted high levels of abuse and discrimination against the trans community, with more than two in five trans people saying they avoid certain streets because they don’t feel safe.
Dawson also talked about the “horrible” trolling and abuse she has faced online, including from other women.
“It feels like bullying. I haven’t done anything to harm anyone and don’t intend to,” she said.
“I don’t think they’re feminists, I think they’re prejudiced. If you make sweeping statements about minority groups, you’re a bigot.”
In 2015, Dawson announced she would be undergoing gender transition and detailed her journey as a trans woman in a column for Glamour magazine.
“I never thought I was a boy. I was a small child, so forgive my limited view of gender, but boys were rubbish,” Dawson wrote in one article.
“Their clothes were dull and their toys didn’t even have hair to brush. But people told me I was a boy and, as I had never seen or heard of a trans person, I just accepted it.
“It didn’t stop me day-dreaming, though. As I’d schlep around Tammy Girl or C&A with my mum and sister, I’d pick out a fantasy wardrobe and wonder how I’d wear my hair if I were a girl.”
Dawson, who worked as a teacher before becoming an author and journalist, wrote she was “keenly aware” that “something was just out of reach.”
“No matter how much I achieved, or how handsome my boyfriends were, something always felt out of sync. It was me, I was out of sync with myself.”