Personal Column: Trapped in the wrong body – Interview by Julia Stuart

Jenny Kirk, 27, almost felt jealous when she heard that a 12-year-old in Germany had been diagnosed as a transsexual and was receiving treatment

When I read about a 12-year-old being given hormone injections to stop her development as she had been born in a boy’s body I almost had a pang of jealousy. I hadn’t had the courage to speak out when I was that age. I knew there was something different about me from very early on. Even by the age of two I had more in common with girls than boys. Boys were much more aggressive and competitive. I would play with my sister’s Barbie toys and imagine myself as a girl.

I went to an all-boys school when I was 11. I couldn’t talk to other people about how I felt because it was a very aggressive, competitive environment. I was bullied. I used to get tripped up and was accused of being gay. I knew puberty was taking me the wrong way. It was hard to cope with getting body and facial hair and my voice breaking.

When I was about 13 or 14 I saw a documentary and learned about people being gender dysmorphic. It was a relief in a way to know that there was a condition for how I was feeling. The first person I told was a lesbian friend in the sixth form. People tend to view transsexuals almost as though they were freaks, so I was very careful in my choice of who I told. Thankfully she took it in her stride.