What you always wanted to ask a transgender, but probably shouldn’t

Laith Ashley De La Cruz is under the model management Slay.

Laith Ashley De La Cruz is under the model management Slay.

Two transgender awareness promoters are to speak at KU tonight about their life stories. Follow the River’s live blog if you are not able to attend.

The New York based trans model Laith Ashley, 26, had his big break in 2014 only months after he started his transformation. He is a social media star with 57,000 followers on Instagram, and is managed under the agency Slay management. He also works with homeless LGBT youths.

Natalie Roberts, who transitioned in 2014, is a transgender woman working for Bishop Auckland College in North England.

Natalie Roberts tells her inspirational story on how she transformed from a "lad's lad".

Natalie Roberts tells her inspirational story on how she transformed from a “lad’s lad”.





Discussion around trans issues are more prevalent than ever in the media today, but for true progression, spreading awareness and knowledge is crucial.

Read on to learn the unique perspectives of the speakers.










Josephine Platt March 8 20167:49 pm

A lot of people showed up to the transgender awareness talk tonight. The talk has just finished. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:47 pm

“How many bits of the alphabet do we need before we dilute it so much,” Natalie said about the term LGBT.

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:37 pm

Natalie is a member of the Unison LGBT committee. Here is a slide she used when she talked about her journey. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:31 pm

“Hardest part for me is how we associate men. Before, if I wanted to cry I could cry. Some of my guy friends would say ‘you can’t say that anymore, you’re a dude now’ and I would say ‘I can say whatever I want’. I define my own masculinity and it is something I try to push a lot, we do not necessarily have to be bound by this idea of what it means to be a man,” Laith said. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:28 pm

Natalie got asked what the hardest part of being a woman is for her: 

“Lack of sleep, because I need an hour longer in the morning. Lack of money because i spend more on cosmetic and clothing. But to put the joke aside that is what i have always wanted to do. 

“Hardest part of being a transwoman is shaving facial hair. It has been reduced significantly but it frustrate me.” 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:23 pm

“I am just a woman and like most women very insecure about how I look on the outside. You always want to try to look your best,” Natalie said. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:21 pm

“Transpeople’s purpose is not to deceive,” Laith said. 

He acknowledges that it is easier to transform from female to male than to go from male to female. 

“Three months after starting with testosterone my voice dropped and I grew facial hair,” Laith said. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:17 pm

“I can’t change the psychical things, the size of my hands, my voice or the size of my feet,” Natalie said about the fact that some people still identify her as a man. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:12 pm

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:12 pm

Natalie said she is not hiding away from her old self. And that her mum looks at is as if she had twins, one girl and one boy and that the boy went somewhere. 

Laith said he looks at old photos and thinks that it is not his previous self but young self. He is 26 and transformed when he was 24.

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:07 pm

To the question about a bright future for equality for transgender people they both say yes. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:05 pm

Laith works as a full-time model under the Model Management Slay.

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:04 pm

“We live in an age where people are more ‘out’ and visible, but there is still violence, 

There is a difference between transwomen and transmen. I can walk anywhere and i do not have any issues but it is not the same for a transfemale,” Laith said. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20167:02 pm

“How do you speak to a transperson? As you speak to everyone, I am a human being,” Laith said. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:50 pm

Laith said that he first came out as gay to his parents when he was 17, he never said lesbian because that means female and he did not feel like a girl. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:48 pm

Laith Ashley is the next speaker, doing his first public talk. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:46 pm

Natalie pulled up a list of ‘Do and Don’t’. 

“Don’t refer to someone as a thing that is quite hurtful”

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:45 pm

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:37 pm

Natalie she felt confused. Questioning if she joined the air forces, fought martial arts and got drunk to hide from the real her. 

She reached “crisis point” in 2009 “choice between accepting ‘own’ status or suicied. 

Later in 2009 she visited a GP to ‘self-refer’. to Northern Region Gender Dysphonia Service. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:32 pm

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:30 pm

Natalie lists 10 questions she get’s asked a lot. 

1. What’s your name? “Natalie” No. What’s your real name? 

2. Which toilet do you use?  

3. Have you had the full-operation?

Laith interrups and asks if a surgery is necessary to define someone as one specific sex?

4.Why did you turn gay? 

“If anyone sees me previously male and now that I am female I am obviously gay,” Natalie jokes.  

5. You were handsome as a man, why did you have to be a woman?

6. Can i feel your boobs/penis? – early asked as people just grab them!

7. I know some drag queens like you, do you know them?

“It is like asking someone in pop if they know everyone in the pop industry.”

8. Do you go with men or women 

9. Are you the man or woman in bed

10. When/ where did you decide to be trans?

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:24 pm

As part of its Academic, Multicultural and Diversity Programme (AMDP), Kingston University is holding a series of free inspirational talks open to the public. Today they have invited Natalie Robert who transformed from male to female August 2014 and Leigh Ashley who started his transformation from female to male in January 2014. 

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:20 pm

“Gender transition is a personal journey – everyone’s experience are different,” Natalie Robert said. 

She talks about assumption and that people should not assume anything about what a transgender person wants, because “one size doesn’t fit all.” 

Josephine Platt March 8 20166:18 pm

First speaker up is Natalie Roberts, she speaks about barriers for LGBT people. Saying transphobia/homophobia/ biphobia, bullying, harassment and discrimination and coming out or being outed are some of the biggest issues LGBT people meet.

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