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Home Casestudy Trans student: Casey’s experience

Trans student: Casey’s experience

Published: 07/07/2014

Casey's experiences as a postgraduate student at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Background >

I began my postgraduate program at Central School of Speech and Drama in October 2011. I identified myself as genderqueer and the third person pronoun to be used: ‘they’, rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’.

My current university, Central, is by far the most supportive uni I've been at. It has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a drama school. Studying costume at university (prior to being at Central) is a very girly space and I felt a little bit marginalized.

It’s a very specific situation as a postgraduate student. The learning centre and mentoring at Central have been very good and tried to do as much as they can to make stuff work. It’s been exemplary.

I gained access to support via the learning centre at Central for a range of different needs around my previously diagnosed attention deficit disorder. In November 2011 I was offered a mentor to help explore some of my options with regard to my gender identity.

Changing records >

The registration process at Central (as with other institutions) requires a student to identify as male or female and I did not know which one to select on the form. Shortly after starting at Central I was looking to obtain a deed poll or statutory declaration to change my name and undergo my social transition.

I wished to change my email address at Central accordingly and my registration documents. My mentor assisted me in informing the course support office and academic registry about this.

Informing peers >

These practical arrangements were put in place to start once I was ready to disclose to my peers on the program and to relevant staff.

My mentor and I spent some time together drafting an email to be sent to my course leader that would then be passed on to the rest of my student cohort. In the email there was an emphasis on my preferred pronoun use of ‘he’ or ‘they’.

Mentoring >

I discussed my desired medical transition during sessions with my mentor. I felt that negotiating a medical pathway as a person who identifies as genderqueer could be difficult due to the lack of understanding by medical practitioners. I expressed some deeply held negative feelings I have about my voice and my desire for hormone therapy (testosterone).

By early February 2012 I was waiting for an appointment with my local mental health team to see a clinical psychologist. From there it was likely that I would be referred to a gender identity clinic.

My mood was up and down in relation to the long wait. My situation was made more complicated by other health problems and I was finding it difficult to think through who was responsible for the various aspects of my health.

Impact on studies >

Disclosing my trans status to my family was difficult. It was particularly difficult communicating with my mother and father and for them to have a clear understanding of how I perceived my own gender identity and sense of self.

Consequently my studies were getting on top of me and I decided to withdraw temporarily from the course. I returned after a term. Having decided to socially transition it’s a difficult time. My family life is probably one area of life which is to the detriment of my mental health.

Impact on employment >

My employment was another area of life which was proving to be increasingly difficult. I had told my employer of my change of name and trans status, but staff in the workplace constantly used the incorrect pronoun and were not respecting my request for them to use ‘he’ or ‘they’. I was not clear about what information had been passed on to the rest of the staff team in my workplace about my trans status.