The truth behind what it’s like to grow up as a trans woman

Carbon’s lifestyle writer Tatum chats to Jordan Burrows, one of Solent University’s final year fashion media students and creator of Transpire, a magazine created to provide accessible knowledge to people regarding being trans and how to show support.

I was really excited to do this interview for Carbon Magazine because I think it is really important that we can give a voice to everyone, considering how diverse our students at Solent are. As a cisgender woman, I learnt lots through speaking to Jordan, and hopefully readers of this can too.

Firstly, what was it like growing up as trans?

‘It had its ups and downs. At the beginning, when I was too afraid to tell people, I remember crying and being so upset that I felt like I couldn’t openly be who I wanted, and it was really tough to have to hide who I was. I would do small things to hint to people – for instance show a large interest in womenswear and would be obsessed with high fashion. It became much easier when my friends were told, and I told my parents as it kind of opened that door to start my transition!

Did you have a support network around you when you were younger?

The first person I told was my best friend. I’ve known her since we were 13 and she has always been so amazing. After I told her she did research and did everything she could to ensure I felt my best. She always listened and was a shoulder to cry on! Then my parents were kind of taken back, but they always let me be who I wanted. My dad especially has always said that due to the fact I always get on with things and succeed in whatever goals I have, he knew that I would be okay by taking the steps to start my transition and be who I really wanted to be!

Are there any services/websites you would recommend to young trans people?

There are more services that ever right now and I think it’s because trans issues are starting to be spoken about and recognised in society. Mermaids is the number one organisation for transgender people, and it has amazing information. There is also Stonewall, which offers information, advice, statistics and more information. Finally, I have recently started my own online, one-stop organisation called “Transpire”. I really wanted to create an online platform that has information and guidance to educate all demographics. There is information for youths, adults, parents and teachers who all may need some guidance. We also have a zine that consists of shopping pages and issues from the trans community!

From your own personal experience, do you have any advice to young trans people?

I would just say, make sure you trust who you are talking to. It is still quite a taboo topic. Even though it is more accepted now than it ever has been, people can be really mean. Whoever you wish to come out to, tell them in your own time and don’t put a deadline on it. Ensure you do your research and just be authentic to who you are! Make sure you be you, and don’t hide this because society may think it’s “abnormal”. Trans is beautiful and you should be who you want to be.

How can Carbon readers support or help their fellow readers who are trans?

Knowledge is power. Carbon readers should ensure they are informed on trans issues and things such as the importance of pronouns. Make sure you are sensitive and understanding. I think just ensuring you are educated is extremely important. Also sign petitions and make a real change! Whether it is banning conversion therapy or signing petitions to help trans people in the military, or to end discrimination, sign petitions and spread the word.

Can you tell us a bit about Transpire? What made you want to start this and what will Transpire include?

‘So Transpire started as a magazine for my project in 3rd year. I realised the gap in the market for a publication aimed at transgender youths and young adults. There is currently no magazine aimed at these demographics. I decided to make two separate zines. One aimed specifically at youths, and the other for young adults aged 18-25. This then later evolved into an online website with information readily available for these two demographics, along with parents and teachers who may need help and support. I found on forums and from research that a lot of parents and teachers were uninformed and struggled with the next steps – so Transpire is here as a helping hand to guide parents and teachers when it comes to their child or pupil coming out.

Finally, how will Carbon readers be able to access Transpire magazine?

Our website is now live! We are working on content all the time and we are updating the website weekly. There is information on pronouns, what being transgender means, and there are more fun articles such as book recommendations for the trans community. We will soon be uploading the Transpire Youth and Transpire zines so they will also be available to read.

You can follow us on:

Instagram: @transpirezine Twitter: @transpireweb and Facebook: Transpire

Please visit and support our website at www.transpireonline.org

A huge thanks to Jordan for being brave enough to share her own experiences with Carbon magazine and its readers to help support and raise awareness for trans communities, we are excited to see what is to come for Transpire magazine and are incredibly proud to have someone like her in our Solent community.

Written by Tatum Farmer