1. ITV Report

Jo-James's story: calls for more support for transgender people in rural communities

A transgender man from West Yorkshire is calling for more support for lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender people who live in rural areas.

Jo-James Booth was born a woman, and says he felt isolated while he was transitioning. Now he's trying to build a support network so others don't feel so alone. This is his story.

Jo-James Booth is working to create a network for transgender people in rural areas Credit: ITV Yorkshire

"I'm Jo-James Booth, I'm 25 and I'm from Sowerby Bridge in Calderdale.

Growing up I was called Joanne. I felt different but I didn't understand why a lot when I was a kid.

Realising I was meant to be a man - it was mixed emotions, both happy and confused. You're left feeling like you're the only one, which I can't be in such a large area - there has so be someone out there.

When I first started transitioning I found there was a LGBT youth group which was brilliant, but once I hit 21, 22, I just felt a bit out of place.

I'd say it's the whole LGBT community that's missing out in Calderdale, not just transgender. Not everybody in the LGBT community wants to deal with it on their own and not everybody outside the LGBT community understands what they're going through.

Adult LGBT people shouldn't be forgotten, and especially in rural communities, who have that option to meet up and support each other."

– Jo-James Booth

Click below to watch James's story:

James now works with other young people to build a support network. One of the people he chats with is 28-year-old Fay-Louise Purdham, who was born male.

"I went to a normal youth group because I was bullied and at the age of 13 I was told I couldn't go back, and after that I had to kind of fend for myself.

I worry that for people who are really really struggling and they look for help and it's not there. It's just like another door closed in your face."

– Fay-Louise Purdham

James hopes that people transitioning in rural parts of the region will be able to reach out through his network and talk through their experiences. He says it would 'mean the world' to him to help people to get the support they need.