'It's not something that's taught': Trans man says lockdown gave him space to find true self
Jay Lockhart speaks to ITV Channel TV's Diversity & Inclusion champion Jessica Tidswell
A transgender man says the coronavirus pandemic gave him time and space to step back and learn who he is.
Jay Lockhart identifies as a transgender man and uses the pronouns are 'he' and 'him'.
Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth.
"I first realised I was trans at a very young age, but I didn't know what the word was for it," he said.
"So basically I had this question mark above my head over gender for a really long time."
Jay said he was told by a friend that when he was about 12-years-old he turned to her and said "I think I'm a boy".
It was then that Jay's friend said: "Well you know you'll have to come out".
Jay described the idea of having to tell other people was "really overwhelming".
"It just so happened that I think at the time I just felt so young and I just felt like I could push it further down the line."
In 2016, Jay changed his name to align with his gender identity.
"It wasn't until the pandemic hit and we were all kind of in lockdown that I looked within myself and was like hang-on a minute, let's figure this out.
"And with the help of the internet I figured it out.
"I grew up knowing that I had a different sexuality to other people, and so I thought that the feelings of gender were very much just me questioning my sexuality, and that can make things really complicated, especially as a kid, not understanding either of these things really.
"It's not taught, you don't grow up hearing about famous people who are transgender, or gay, lesbian, bisexual, you don't hear about it."
"I so desperately wanted to feel like a girl so I could match my body"
Jay says there was a period of time in his life when he went "extremely feminine".
"When I first came out and I started binding, and I started wearing masculine clothing and I cut my hair.
"I was out with some friends and we were drawing on my car with paint pens and my friend Izzy turned round to me and she said 'I've never seen you smile like that before'.
"And, honestly that happiness, it moves throughout my entire body."
Jay says: "All we [trans people] really want is to live our lives and be comfortable within ourselves.
"We'd love to be able to go into whatever bathroom we feel comfortable using, we're not here to be that person and be creepy, we're just trying to live our lives and be our best selves."
To Jay Pride is a time of year where trans people can "step-up and be like 'this is who I am, I'm proud to be me'". He says: "We still have a very long way to go, to bring us from where we are, which is actually quite underground, to the light where we can be ourselves, and not be scared to go out as our preferred gender."