Transitioning in York

Since I moved to York around a year and a half ago, the support in the city has been instrumental to me navigating my own transition. In 2023 my gender dysphoria became too difficult to tolerate; the pain and distress this caused me made it difficult for me to think, both generally and how to go about seeking help. Outreach work like Generate’s is vital for this reason.

Outreach work like Generate’s is vital for this reason

For me this came in the form of Portal Bookshop/Over the Rainbow café’s social media, where they publicised the rack of gender-affirming clothing they donate to trans people. I love books (and mango sorbet), and was worried about the cost of new, ‘male’ clothes at a point where I felt alone, so it was my sort of place.

This was the first time I had ever been and I got some new shirts, really great advice, and a bit of hope and buoyance. I felt instinctively comfortable enough in the space to say that I’d been trying to ignore my dysphoria to make it go away. It was, kind of stupidly, someone saying, ‘…and how’s that going for you?’ that helped me realise that transition was something that I needed to do for myself.

I was also very drawn to York Pride, which is generally a louder event that I’m comfortable with (though I did appreciate their quiet hour). I went with friends, in a state gender-wise that I was very uncomfortable with, but seeing so much trans joy around me struck a chord and created a yearning to have some for myself. I’m looking forward to going this year and feeling much more comfortable in myself.

A number of months after my experiences at Pride and Portal, I was waiting to start testosterone and my desperation for it meant I needed more support than usual. At university, I was trying to make people aware of my transition, and it was during an appointment to change my gender marker on the system that I was first made aware of the mentoring services offered by Generate.

I’m really happy to have York’s trans and LGBT spaces and can’t wait to see them continue to grow.

It wasn’t support that I ended up needing long-term, since starting testosterone improved so many things, but I was offered a lot, sometimes multiple sessions a week. I was able to do things the way that was best for me, for example being able to have in-person sessions instead of online.

I was offered the kind of empathy and understanding, as well as practical advice, you can only get from people who have been there themselves in transitioning or supporting someone close to them. I also really liked their understanding of intersections, for example how neurodivergence and transness can affect each other.

Around this time, after randomly hearing about it from someone I met at an event, I started going to Colours of the Rainbow choir, which is quite often one of the highlights of my week. I often struggle in groups, but this is the best I have ever felt in one. They’re a lovely group of people and I love both the singing and the socials, and getting to befriend so many people of different ages and experiences.

It has been a great source of gender affirmation, being so supported in beginning to sing the ‘male’ parts as my voice started to drop. In fact it was actually at choir that I discovered I could now sing lower, as my singing voice was easier to deepen than my speaking! It was an amazing moment and I’m so grateful for them as a group.

Especially because they don’t really exist where I’m from, I’m really happy to have York’s trans and LGBT spaces and can’t wait to see them continue to grow. It’s been a beautiful city in which to begin something as extraordinary as transition.

Morgan (He/Him)