By Lina Sennevall
A star from Channel 4’s My Transsexual Summer told KU students that children should be able to have optional jabs to delay puberty while they decide their sexuality.
Drew-Ashlyn Cunningham spoke about the controversial issue in a Q&A at KU this week, after it was revealed that six children in Britain will be given jabs on the NHS because they are convinced they are the wrong sex.
She said: “If you think you are transsexual, pre-puberty is the time you want to start taking jabs to delay puberty because once you’ve gone through it, the physical changes are very hard to reverse.
“I am all for youngsters who are confused being helped to postpone puberty so they can decide what gender they really are. I only wish this option had been available to me.”
Drew-Ashlyn, 23, describes herself as a blonde, tangoed, leggy make-up artist, who wants to live a normal life and pursue a career, but as the programme showed, things haven’t always been easy for her.
After being born a man she came out as a woman in 2007, and despite the support of her family and friends, she still experiences prejudice every day. She said the programme was an opportunity to get people to see the real her.
She said: “I used the programme because I was getting a lot of abuse and I wanted people to look past the label and to see me as a person.”
Drew is now on tour with other members of the programme to raise trans-awareness in the country and especially in the educational system.
“People really need to be more educated about this and I think it’s good to start at an early age,” she said. “I think children should be taught about it at primary school.”
Drew-Ashlyn said that there are not enough trans-people represented in the media and that often the coverage is negative.
She said: “People in the media need to be more careful with the words they use and how they portray people.”
She added that the only way to stop prejudice against transsexual people is to raise awareness.
“People don’t like things they don’t have an answer to,” she said. “But when you educate them about it, it becomes normal.”
The exclusive Q&A session was organised by Will Brooker, head of film and television research, as part of the module Identity and Gender.
“Kingston is a very open and diverse university,” said Will.
“I’m delighted that Drew was our special guest.”