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  1. ITV Report

Trans woman on why she is working with police to tackle hate crime

Teraina Hird lived as a man until she was 67-years-old. Photo: ITV Anglia

Teraina Hird spent a lifetime living as a man. It wasn’t until she was 67-years-old that she finally became the woman she wanted to be.

It was a change that cost her livelihood and very nearly her life. Now she is campaigning for trans rights and working with Bedfordshire Police to tackle hate crime.

Teraina first realised she was a woman when she was 17, but the idea terrified her. Credit: ITV Anglia

The biggest obstacle to her transition was her own denial. She first realised she was a woman when she was 17 and the idea terrified her. She got married, had a son and set up a successful business as a car mechanic in Leighton Buzzard.

But when her wife died in 2008 her repressed feelings started to surface and two years later she paid to have gender reassignment surgery in Thailand. She had been told she’d have to wait 18 months just for her first NHS appointment.

Teraina has been working with Bedfordshire Police to tackle hate crime against transgender people. Credit: ITV Anglia

"Coming to terms with what I was really was the hardest part after 50 years in denial. It was worth losing all the money I lost over it. It was worth spending all the money I spent.

"I just hope God grants me a few more years on this planet to make the most of it and hopefully do some good."

– Teraina Hird

When Teraina began dressing in female clothes at work many of her customers stopped using her garage.

A national newspaper ran a story with the headline "Mechanic loses nuts and customers bolt," and Teraina reluctantly sold the business at a fraction of what it was worth.

She reported the article to the police as a hate crime. She says several of her trans friends have been physically abused.

Teraina says biggest obstacle to her transition was her own denial. Credit: ITV Anglia

"Cross-dressers and transvestites are [seen as] fair game.

"There's still a long way to go in that respect. Two of my friends were abused. One in Luton on the day of the EDL march. She was abused and assaulted.

"We as transgender people are in the same position as gay people were 20 years ago and we need to catch up."

– Teraina Hird

Click below to watch the full report from ITV Anglia's Clare McGlasson.

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