Britain's first transgender parents want you to know about trans joy
It’s almost impossible to escape the abundance of negative news surrounding the trans community.
In the days leading up to this article being published, Liz Truss has been railing against schools helping pupils socially transition, and it’s been claimed that gender-critical feminists want trans women to show passports in public toilets.
In our latest episode of Mentally Yours, Metro.co.uk’s mental health podcast, Jake and Hannah Graf, Britain’s first transgender parents, address the steady stream of hate towards the trans community – but they also speak about hope.
Jake tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It feels very much like a propaganda campaign against trans people at the moment. It’s a scary time to be trans.
‘We are maligned, we are told that we’re infringing on other people’s rights.’
Jake and Hannah explain that it is ‘hard enough to be born trans’ and that the mainstream hate towards the trans community leaves them feeling ‘battered and bruised’.
‘There’s a real feeling of why? Why are we so hated? Why are we so maligned? Why are we so attacked? Why is it okay?’ adds Jake.
Jake began his transition in 2008 and Hannah came out as trans in 2013. They shared their journey together through the Channel 4 documentary, Our Baby: A Modern Miracle, and have recently released a book called Becoming Us.
The couple met in 2015. The pair flirted on Facebook before their first date, which lasted 11 hours and involved tequila, a first kiss, talks about dysphoria, the stigma of being trans and their dreams, hopes and aspirations.
Jake says: ‘I was Hannah’s first ever date, which was obviously good for me because she had no point of reference whatsoever, and we just clicked.
‘When I saw her, I thought, what a beautiful woman. And that’s very unusual for me. It was wonderful.’
Hannah says that, until she met Jake, ‘the idea of parenthood felt a bit unobtainable’ for her.
‘I grew up learning to feel like trans women were ugly and something to be despised, something to be fearful of,’ says Hannah.
‘So the idea of being able to transition, and then even dating, sounded crazy, let alone getting married and having kids. It was out of my frame of reference for a long time.
‘Then meeting Jake and realising that it was a really big part of what Jake saw for his future, that’s when it started to click as a as a genuine possibility.’
Jake had paused his transition six years in so he could freeze his eggs, and was left with five fertilised embryos to start a family with. But the experience was ’emasculating’ after ‘finally finding [himself] in the right body’.
He says: ‘Harvesting eggs was obviously going to be emasculating. It was going to be difficult, it was going to be invasive, intrusive, uncomfortable, all of those things.
‘But if it gave me even the slightest glimmer of hope that I might one day be a father, then that to me was worth it.’
Jake’s mother helped him privately fund the treatment which wasn’t available for trans people on the NHS, but his friends were concerned he would become suicidal if he came off of his male hormones – which was needed for his eggs to be harvested.
‘I did have a lot of friends who were very concerned for me during that time. I went through the process, and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.’
The pair now share two children together. They welcomed Millie in April 2020, followed by Teddie, in May 2022.
And, despite receiving plenty of hate towards their family – their children and themselves – Jake and Hannah say they still have an abundance of joy in their lives.
Jake shares his moments of joy, saying: ‘After top surgery, I was able to stand tall and wear a tight t-shirt and love it. Hundreds of trans men that I’ve spoken to absolutely love it. That feeling of elation and freedom and being able to take your top off on the beach for the first time after your surgery is utter euphoria.
‘For some people, it’s when they first grow their beard. I remember when I first got my first one whisker and the joy that I felt. Then I got a tiny little bit of a moustache.
‘It’s about making us feel like the gender that we know ourselves to be. The correct gender. Those tiny little things make all the difference.
Hannah says: ‘My euphoria really comes from just this sort of sense of inclusion and acceptance in my day to day life.
‘It’s the way people address you or the pronouns they use – they all make a big difference. It’s a sort of constant state of euphoria when your identity is validated, supported and included.’
A prime example of this was when Hannah walked past a soldier who called her ma’am instead of sir and in that moment ‘her heart sang’.
But if there’s one things that both Jake and Hannah have learned from a life filled with hope, joy and unfortunately, adversity, it’s this: ‘Don’t doubt who you are.’
‘It doesn’t mean you have to come out right now or you have to be something in that moment,’ says Hannah. ‘But don’t doubt who you are, you know who you are.’
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