In the first of a series of articles by our amazing team of Student Features Writers, Priya Toberman lays down her thoughts on how the stereotypes of women in the media can affect women today.

When I was younger, the girls in the books I read were my heroes. They were tough, they didn’t like the colour pink, and the idea of wearing makeup made them want to puke. They were what we tend to call ‘Strong Female Character’. 

Although well-meaning, the recurrence of this trope has the unfortunate side effect of creating a stereotype of those girls that do choose to express themselves as traditionally feminine. This isn’t because of its existence as a whole, but because it is often twisted into the idea that traditionally feminine values equate to stupidity, vanity and superficiality. The problem with this, is that there is zero evidence to prove that someone’s intelligence is affected by their outward appearance.

This impacted me hugely when I was little. I didn’t want to do something that might make me appear ‘girly’, in part because I thought the word ‘girl’ meant being seen as less intelligent, more incapable and essentially, less of a person who could be taken seriously. What’s worse, is that I would see other girls as lesser for liking the colour pink, glitter, or for wearing makeup. It took me years to change this way of thinking, and I know that it’s not just me—this is true for so many girls.

Stereotypes pervade many of the problems experienced by young women. Telling girls that they should behave in a certain way in order to be taken seriously brings us back to the olden days when women were forced to perform femininity. Moreover, telling girls that if they appear a certain way, they have a certain personality, is reductive–it contributes to the idea that women are a homogenous group without individual personalities. Not real people, but simply a construction of what society believes we are.

The dehumanisation of women is what keeps misogyny on its feet, and is perpetuated by the media only producing the same stereotypical female characters, instead of creating characters which are believable as real people.

The reason tackling stereotypes is so important is because it can easily be fixed by showing children that the way people present themselves doesn’t have to have anything to do with who they are. If these stereotypes can be broken down while children are still children, then the problem would eventually disappear, but because the stereotypes we were exposed to as children are beyond our control, we must re-educate ourselves once we are old enough to properly understand.

I believe that the true issue experienced by young people is the lack of control we feel over our own lives. While the media we are exposed to will inevitably be out of our control, there are other issues within society which affect young people and could benefit from our voices. I’m talking politics, education, basically everything that affects teenagers more than anyone else. Decisions about these sorts of things are usually made by adults who can’t or won’t see things from our perspective. If young people could be included in the decision-making, if we are allowed to discuss problems in our society and in the media which affect us, we would be far better prepared for the future. 

And as for those stereotypes, although there is little we can do to control what’s already been done, I think it’s important that we can move forward recognising these stereotypes so that we, the next generation, can set about dismantling them. I can’t wait until I can finally open any book and discover new characters with fully fleshed out personalities from all genders, races and sexualities, and for that to become the norm. As the writers, inventors and creators of the future, the decisions we make in the future are crucial; it’s our time to set a precedent for what society should be.

Got an idea for a piece? Email [email protected]

“Planet Earth is full of labels. And I’ve never been comfortable with labels”

It’s LGBT+ History Month, and only a few short weeks since Nikkie Tutorials broke the internet with her powerful, heartfelt and emotional video wherein she came out as transgender. We are celebrating all the amazing LGBT people of the world this month, so here is that incredible story for you.

Trans rights are human rights

First off, this. Trans rights are human rights. Nikkie mentions in her video that she was being blackmailed and so decided to take the narrative into her own hands, before she was ready. Let’s be clear on this – coming out should always be down to the person who wants to come out and them alone. It’s a basic right to be able to have some control over who knows what about you, and this was taken away from her. Despite this, she still did it with grace. 

Trans rights nevertheless are under attack the world over, and many trans people live with abuse and fear every day. We teamed up with our friends over at Brandwatch to take a look at transphobic abuse online, and you can read the full report here

F*** the haters, amiright? 

Transphobic abuse is something that trans people have to deal with every single day of their lives. Our research looked at 10,000,000 public social media posts over a three year period, 1,500,000 of which were put on a scale of transphobic abuse. That’s right, it happens so much that there is even a scale for it, going from ‘acts of trans bias’ all the way up to inciting trans genocide. That’s horrendous.

Nikkie’s brave coming out video showed us all just how hard it is for someone to come out, and how that’s even harder for someone who is being blackmailed. Like we said above, it’s the right of only the person who is coming out to control that narrative, and absolutely no one else. 


The support she is getting is giving us all the warm fuzzies

Possibly one of the absolute very best things about this though, is the support we see she is getting from every corner of the internet. Whilst there may be a few haters out there trying to shout her down, we are so happy to see everyone backing her until the end on this one. You deserve the love Nikkie, you are fire. 

Now one of the largest makeup channels in the world is owned by an openly transgender woman 

Visibility can be tough for a trans person, and can often be the last thing they want. But by providing the world with another strong, smart, powerful role model who just happens to be trans, hopefully the world will become more of a kinder place for trans people to exist. We certainly hope it will. 

“This feels liberating and freeing, but I, at the end of the day, am still Nikkie.”

Towards the end of the video, Nikkie states just how much this has been tearing her apart, but also how incredibly liberating it feels to be free of the weight of carrying it around. Coming out can be super difficult, but most people state it makes them feel so much better to be able to live life without the burden of a secret. The most important thing to remember though is that if you are struggling with this, you can come out to whoever you feel comfortable with, and at your own pace. Someone else’s story is not yours, and you get to decide when and to whom you come out. Need some help coming out as trans? We’ve got some top tips for you here

#IamMe

Just hours after the video dropped, the hashtag #IamMe was trending across social media. We are here for it. You are who you are, and that is pretty damn amazing. You are unique and individual, and with that comes so much power to be happy. You are who you are, and whatever you might be going through, you’ve got this. 

So Nikkie, we applaud you for everything you are doing. We stan a strong woman, and we are backing you all the way b. 

You can watch Nikkie’s video below

Feel like you need someone to talk to, but maybe can’t speak with those in your life yet? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors here for confidential support.

Coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual can be difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. However, many people have really positive experiences coming out and often regret not doing it sooner.

It’s really important, however, that you take the time to consider your own personal circumstances when making the decision to tell people close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual. What may be right for one person, may not be right for you. Your safety and well-being should always come first.

Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities have many things in common and frequently align themselves with one another, the experiences of exploring your gender identity and coming out as trans can be very different to being open about your sexuality.

If you are looking for tips on coming out as trans, why not check out this guide written by Lewis Hancox?

Top 11 tips for Coming Out as lesbian, gay or bisexual:

1. Don’t feel pressured.

Everyone should come out in their own time. You may feel under pressure to tell those close to you that you are lesbian, gay or bisexual before you are ready. Don’t. Coming out is about you and no one else. If you start to think about pleasing others you will lose sight of what is really important – your happiness. Focusing on yourself and what’s important to you will ultimately make those you’re close to happier as well.

2. Don’t label yourself if you don’t want to.

Although you may feel ready to come out, you may not feel you fit any particular ‘label’. Using terms like lesbian, gay and bisexual is absolutely fine, but never feel forced to identify as anything. Listen to your feelings and go with them! If a label helps you and feels right then great. If it doesn’t then don’t worry.

3. You don’t have to choose between your faith and your sexuality.

Most religions have groups for their lesbian, gay and bisexual followers. Go online to find a group near you. Having faith and being gay are not mutually exclusive!

4. Read how other people came out.

RUComingOut has over 300 real-life coming out stories as well as interviews from celebrities. Most people who come out go through the same anxieties and they experience very similar fears. Hearing how things turned out for others who were

5. Tell one person.

When you are ready to come out (you will know when the time feels right) – don’t think you have to tell everyone straight away –  it’s not a race! Choose one person who you trust more than anyone else – a friend, sibling, parent/guardian or teacher.

As soon as you’ve opened up to the first person things will seem a thousand times easier and clearer for you. It’s an age-old saying but talking really does help. You’ll also have someone you can talk to and ask advice from when coming out to others.


6. Forget the stereotypes.

When gay people first started to appear on TV and in the media, the stereotypes that were common were those of effeminate camp men and butch women. Some people still think that every gay man and woman have to fit that stereotype.

Others may feel that the stereotypes have flipped and gay men should be muscular and have beards while lesbians should have long blonde hair and wear lots of makeup!

The truth is, stereotypes suck and we all know they do. Being lesbian, gay or bi does not have to define you. If you’re camp, great. If you’re butch, fantastic. If you like going to the gym, good on you. If you prefer a good film to a good run, amazing.

Growing up (and discovering your sexuality) is all about finding out who you are, what you like and how you want to be and it’s an exciting time!

7. You’ll be protected at school, college and university.

Every school, college, uni and even workplace has a legal obligation to ensure that every one of its students or employees is treated fairly and offered the same opportunities. Many schools realise the importance of making sure their staff are trained to tackle homophobia when they see it.

Lots of schools even have their own LGBTQ student groups where students can meet and make friends. You should never feel pressured to join a group like this, but you may find that you meet loads of other people who have been, or are going through, similar experiences as you.

8. Think about the positives.

It is very easy to let the anxieties and fears around coming out completely take over the experience. But remember, coming out is one of the most amazing things you will ever do. You will finally be able to be your whole self and it WILL change your life.

Those butterflies you feel in your stomach – see them as excitement rather than nerves!

Here are some lessons you may find useful that Max Hovey learnt from coming out.


9. Some people do have negative experiences.

There’s no point denying it. That’s why it’s important that if you decide the time is right for you to come out, make sure you have a safety net if things don’t go to plan. There is support available if you find yourself feeling lost or alone.

10. Give people time.

You may have had years to get to a place where you are comfortable with being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Just think though, those people who you will be telling will have a split second to give you a reaction. Give them a chance to digest the news. It may come as a complete surprise. Surprise and shock doesn’t mean disapproval from them.

They may have questions, so pre-empt what these could be and be prepared to support them too. They may need your support as much as you need theirs!

11. Start living!

You will be amazed at how free you will feel once you have come out. Obviously, the experience is different for everyone and at times it may not go as well as you’d like.

Just remember that you are doing the right thing, you are allowing yourself to be who you were always meant to be and this means you can start living YOUR life! Remember to create that safety net around you though, just in case things don’t go exactly to plan.


Can we guess where you are on the gender scale? Take the quiz >>

Wayne Dhesi is a youth manager at UK-based LGBT charity, Stonewall. To find out more about his work follow him on Twitter.

So today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is a pretty big deal for trans people and allies all over the world. But why do we need this day? It can seem like there is a day for everything, but trust us, this is one of the most important ones out there. That’s why we put together this list of all the reasons why this is a day we all need, not just trans people, but all of us. 

1) Transphobia is still everywhere, especially online 

So we recently put our heads together with our friends over at Brandwatch and we put out a report about transphobia online. They analysed social media posts over three years and found some pretty nasty stuff going down. There were over 1.5 million of transphobic comments across all kinds of social media. That’s ridiculous. You can read our full report here

2) In fact, some are even inciting the murder and genocide of trans people online 

The same report found that there was a scale of online hate directed towards transgender people. It went from ‘acts of trans bias’ all the way up to inciting trans genocide. That’s horrendous. Plus, there was a whole bunch of anti-trans slurs used online. The most common slur we found was the term ‘tranny’ or ‘trannies’, which was cited 1.2 million times, and accounted for 80% of the abuse that we found. Other terms were ‘Shemale’ at 156,000 times, ‘Gender-bender’ at 56,000 times, ‘transtrender’ at 32,000 times, ‘chicks with dicks’ at 26,000 times, ‘Heshe’ at 18,000 times, ‘Ladyboy’ at 6,000, ‘Shehe’ at 3,000 times and ‘trap’ at 450 times. 

3) Trans people of colour are a specific target

Race was a huge motivator in the abuse, and trans women of colour were a huge target especially. There have also been some pretty high profile cases in the US of trans women of colour being the victims of violence. Literally because they are living as their selves. We know, it seems wild right? 

4) Trans people are still having their rights attacked in public spaces

Global politics are also a big motivator for anti-trans speech. Like when Trump was elected and inaugurated, there was a big spike in transphobic stuff going down online and in public. Things like the military ban on trans people in the US and Ricky Gervais’ new transphobic material are all quietly attacking the rights of trans people to live a normal life. 

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5) There is no safe space 

Pride was always a place where anyone in the LGBT+ space can protest, celebrate and remember those that lost their lives fighting for the rights and freedoms that LGBT+ people can enjoy today. But, London Pride in 2018 was hijacked by transphobic radical feminists, suggesting that trans issues made women’s issues less important. Pride was supposed to be a safe space for anyone who needed one, and even that was taken away. 

6) And it doesn’t look like any of this is going to change anytime soon

Our report found that not only is transphobia a huge issue online, but it also found that it is steadily growing. Transphobic violence is up as well. Unless we all join forces as allies against this kind of abuse, it isn’t going to change. 

7) We need to stop this from happening…

Transgender Day of Rememberance is all about remembering those that were victims of transphobic violence and murder, or those who took their own lives. We need to stop this from happening to more trans people across the globe. 

8) …Because EVERYONE has the basic human right to be who they are…

Every single person on the planet has the right to live their truth, no matter what gender they were assigned at birth and what name they choose when they are ready for a new one. They deserve to go through life unharassed, unattacked, and free from hate. 

9) … And we are ALL better than this.

If an alien came to the planet, what would they think about the way we treat this vulnerable portion of our population? They’d probably find it crazy that we would even dream of harming other human beings like this. We are all better than this, and we can always do more to be an ally. For some top tips on being a trans ally, read our article here

Been affected by transphobic hate? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors here for confidential support and advice. 

So it can be pretty easy in 2019 to believe that gender stereotypes no longer exist. Hell, the women’s World Cup last year was the most successful it’s ever been, meanwhile Queer Eye is tearing up a storm on Netflix. So how can they still exist, right? When the world is looking pretty wonderfully gender fluid from where you’re standing? Well, we know that the planet still has a long way to go to get rid of gender stereotypes completely, which is why we threw together this list. 

1) That ad about the bad dads

Did you see that ad on telly where the dads get so distracted by how good their cream cheese is they actually leave their babies on a conveyor belt? Well, for one we aren’t sure cream cheese is ever that good, but it also raises a few questions about how we look at mums vs dads. Like, would a mum ever do that in an advert? Probably not. Plus it’s pretty rubbish because it assumes kids raised by a same sex male couple would basically be lost to dairy products within the first few years of their life. We love dads, and we know that they can be pretty damn incredible parents. 

2) All ads for washing up liquid or laundry stuff

On the flip side, tell us an ad you’ve seen for washing up liquid or laundry tablets that has a guy in it. We’ll wait. Yeah didn’t think you could get one. Basically every tv ad for these kind of household products still show a woman doing the job. And we’re all just over here like “it is not the 1950s anymore”. We aren’t saying that being a homemaker isn’t legit, our point is that women can be anything, and ads like that are much more likely to make little girls (rather little boys) feel like their only value is doing the laundry.

3) Speaking of kids, toys are a wild ride in gender stereotypes 

Remember when you were a kid and your parents would let you make out your birthday list from Amazon or the Argos catalogue. Well wherever you got your swag from, a hell of a lot of it would have been geared to you based on gender. Most “boy” toys are to do with war, violence, sports or traditionally “male” jobs. Things like laser guns, action dolls, football toys or playstation games are all geared towards boys being boys, and growing up to be men in the most traditional sense of the word. But what about the boys who like to play with makeup, enjoy art, or love animals?

4) In fact, a whole bunch of job roles are still pretty sexist

10/10 we would put money on your school crossing guard being a woman, or your bin men being exactly that – men. That’s because we grow up calling people lollipop ladies, bin men, postmen and milkmen. Even when you’re 12, your first ever job is probably influenced by which gender you are.

Nannies and babysitters are much more likely to be girls whereas those with paper rounds and doing odd jobs for cash are much more likely to be boys. Why? Because women and girls are supposed to be maternal and super in to childcare even from a really young age, and guys are supposed to be strong, athletic, handy and practical. 

5) Same goes for relationships 

Ever wondered why married women end up being a mrs, but guys get to be mr forever? Yeah that’s all to do with the outdated idea that a married woman becomes her husband’s property. Pronouns are a little more fluid today, and loads of women opt to be a ms, but it’s still a bit rogue that it still exists as even an option. 

6) Same-sex relationships also bear the brunt of it 

“Who wears the trousers?” “Who’s the man/woman in your relationship?” Yeah these are real questions that real people in same sex relationships get asked all the time. It’s pretty rubbish to be asked this kind of stuff as it basically completely ignores how far society has come, and implies that same sex relationships are not as valid as heterosexual ones because these roles are not fulfilled. The fact is, no one has to fulfill any of these roles in a relationship, because you can make your relationship into anything you want it to be, and that’s the real T. 


Basically, we think that it would be much better for everyone if gender stereotypes were cancelled. They put everyone into boxes that will never make them happy, and makes us all have to put up with a little more criticism and negativity in our daily lives.

The only way we are ever really going to bury them for good though is to keep living our best lives exactly however we want to, and the more we do that, the more the rest of society is just going to have to deal with it.

You do you, no matter who you are. We’ve definitely got your back. 


Have you been affected by bullying? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors for confidential support and advice here.

So, guys, we have done a bit of digging with our partners over at Brandwatch. Well, actually, a lot of digging. We joined forces to analyse 10 million online posts over the past three and a half years to explore a really serious issue affecting hundreds of thousands of people every day: transphobia. 

The issue is growing with every year that passes, so we wanted to better understand what is driving transphobic hate speech online so that we can evolve and develop the support that we offer, and lead the charge in the fight against it. Because of this, we think everyone should be a trans ally. 

So, what did we find out? Well, here are some of the key stats and issues our research highlighted. Before you read on though, we know that this subject can be difficult for some to deal with, especially if you’ve been the subject of transphobic aggression or abuse, you can speak to one of our trained digital mentors in confidence here

1) There were over 10,000,000 examples of transphobia in just 1,230 days

10 MILLION! Just let that sink in for a second. That’s three times the entire population of Los Angeles. That’s more than everyone who lives in London. Trans people have been constantly under attack for three years, and the numbers do not lie. 

2) That’s an average of more than 8130 examples of abuse per day

Every day, 8130 social media posts or comments were posted attacking trans people and trans rights. This goes from acts of trans discrimination all the way to inciting murder and violence against trans people, simply because they are who they are and are living life as their authentic selves. 

3) There are as many as 9 slurs against trans people that are used often 

Basically this means there were nine insults constantly and repeatedly used when talking about trans people. The most common slur we found was the term ‘tranny’ or ‘trannies’, which was cited 1.2 million times, and accounted for 80% of the abuse that we found. Other terms were ‘Shemale’ at 156,000 times, ‘Gender-bender’ at 56,000 times, ‘transtrender’ at 32,000 times, ‘chicks with dicks’ at 26,000 times, ‘Heshe’ at 18,000 times, ‘Ladyboy’ at 6,000, ‘Shehe’ at 3,000 times and ‘trap’ at 450 times. 

That’s a lot of abuse. 

4) Global politics has a direct impact on the abuse 

We all know that we live in times of a lot of polarised views. But political events like the Trump inauguration and Brexit saw a huge spike in anti-trans sentiment. Not only this, but policies that had a direct impact on trans rights such as the bathroom bills, the Trump military ban and Trump gender bill have all had a direct impact on the ability of trans people to go about their daily lives. If this wasn’t enough, it caused a huge increase in the number of anti-trans speech online. 

5) Trans people, especially trans women of colour are a specific target 

A huge amount of the abuse that we found was directed specifically towards trans women, and that number increased further still for trans women of colour. 

To read the full report, click here

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6) Basic rights are still under attack

It would be hard to have missed the fact that in the last three years, tran rights have been under attack in politics and in the public space. Since the Bathroom Bills, Trump’s military ban and the Gender Bill, the rights of trans people to simply make decisions and go about their daily lives have been under threat. Imagine having to deal with that, as well as all the online abuse that we have found. 

7) Even Pride was taken over by transphobic abuse 

In 2018, Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists took over the London Pride march to express their anger at the inclusion of trans issues in feminist discussion. As a result, anti-trans sentiment spiked in the UK, and more and more people started to voice negative ideas about trans people. It was Pride, a space that was supposed to be safe, to protest about equality, loving yourself, and to not repeat the past. 

8) Acts of violence, and incitement of violence, are growing 

A few months ago, the third trans woman of colour was found murdered in Dallas, Texas alone this year. The death of Chynal Lindsey only shows just how much more at risk trans people are of being injured or killed by violence, and for trans people of colour that risk is higher still. Our research found that transphobic violence was a common theme, which covered everything from threats, calls for violence, vandalism, terrorism, assault, sexual harrassment and more. This is not ok. 

9) Being who you are is always the right thing to do 

Here at the Ditch the Label, we think everyone has a fundamental right to be exactly who they are, free from prejudice and free from hate. Being who you are and living as your authentic is always the right thing to do. One more time for the people at the back. 

Always. The. Right. Thing. 

 10) And we need to stop the hate 

Obviously, lots of work needs to be done to address the growing problem of hate speech online. We want to help. Nobody should be subjected to any type of bullying in any space. Ever. Periodt. 

To read the full report, click here

Need some tips on being the best trans ally you can? Read this

If you have been affected by any of the type of abuse highlighted in our study, or need someone to talk to, you can speak to one of our trained digital mentors in confidence here

I’m Lewis Hancox – filmmaker, comedy writer, aspiring actor and a transgender advocate. I’m passionate about seeing more trans representation in the media. I love creating comedy sketches and films, writing, directing and acting in them. I’m co-creator of the My Genderation documentary project, telling the stories of the trans community.

I’ve worked with Hollyoaks, Lucky Tooth Films, Channel 4 and All About Trans. My work has featured on BBC3, Latest TV, The Guardian, DIVA Magazine and more. I’m an ambassador for All About Trans and patron for the National Diversity Awards. I don’t pretend to be an expert on trans issues. Coming out is different for everyone, all I can do is draw from my own experiences and if these nuggets of advice help just one person then my job is done!

If you would prefer the easier to read version – please click here.

1. Come Out To Yourself

They say ‘how can others love you when you don’t love yourself?’ It can be hard enough just to accept yourself, never mind love yourself! But self-acceptance is the first step towards living your life authentically. I used to be really embarrassed of feeling like a boy when my body disagreed. So I bottled everything up throughout high school and college. It took me time to realise that being transgender didn’t make me any less of a guy, or more importantly, any less of a person. We’re all different in our own right and we should embrace those differences. You should feel good in knowing that you’ve figured out the root of the problem – it’s all uphill from here.

2. Make Connections

It’s good to chat with other trans folk and what better way to do this than from the comfort of your own home. There is a multitude of vlogs on YouTube and loads of support groups on Facebook, full of people eager to make new friends and talk all things trans. The tiny Northern town I come from doesn’t have any trans support groups – in fact, most residents probably don’t know what the word ‘transgender’ means! Luckily, I discovered a whole community of gender variant individuals online. I got chatting with some inspirational people and, ultimately, it feels great to have a support network from the off.

3. Family Meeting

Okay, so it doesn’t have to be as formal as a ‘meeting’… but gathering your family (or close friends) together to explain your situation means you don’t need to go through the nerve-wracking process as many times. It also means you can do a bit of a ‘Q & A’, because there will be many questions! Equally, if the thought of being in the spotlight is daunting, just tell one person at a time – whatever feels right. Try to remain calm and explain yourself as best you can. Consider referring them to videos of trans people and educational sites. If those who care about you react negatively, it may be because they’re scared for you. By introducing positive representations of trans people via vlogs and films, you’re showing them that transitioning can lead to a happy, healthy life.

4. A Little Patience

You have to prepare yourself for some not-so-positive reactions. Not everyone is going to understand straight away. The hope is that those who know you the best will realise you’re being true to yourself. Other people may think you’re confused – when really, it’s them who are confused! Further down the line when those around you see how much more comfortable and confident you are since transitioning, they’ll surely realise that this was right for you. And if they don’t, maybe they’re not worth being in your life. Even some of my best friends struggled with calling me by my new name and male pronouns at first. It’s not only people you need to be patient with – it’s the whole journey. As soon as I discovered that I was trans, I wanted to snap my fingers and be fully transitioned! The reality is it can take a few years to get hormones and surgery. Not everyone wants to medically transition of course. You are who you feel you are, regardless of the physical.

5. The Name Game

My first thought was that ‘I’m male’… Only later in life did it hit me that in order to ‘live in society as male’ I’d have to change my name. You may have a nickname, or you may be happy with your birth name and not feel the need to change it at all – if you have a gender-neutral name, that’s ideal! If you do want to change it however, you can do this for around £30 via deed poll online. But do take your time in choosing a name! It could be something similar to your original name, to make it easier for others (and yourself) to adjust. I went from Lois to Lewis… not much of a change there! Some people want to change theirs to something completely different. Why not ask opinions from friends and family to make them feel included?

6. Call The Doctor

Physically transitioning begins at your local GP. They can refer you a local psychologist who can then refer you on to the Gender Clinic. I hadn’t been to my GP in years before that all-important appointment. I was terrified and didn’t know how to explain myself. If I could go back in time, I’d say it with confidence and make sure I got what I needed. More often than not doctors aren’t so clued up on trans issues. They need to respect that this is not a lifestyle choice – this is how you were born. There are even studies that show the white matter in a trans man’s brain resembles that of a biological male’s brain, and vice versa for trans women. But let’s not get too scientific… just get that referral!

7. Living Proof

When I was first told by the Gender Clinic they needed proof in the form of documents I was ‘living as male’, I was dumbfounded. I retorted that I’d lived my whole life as male because I WAS male! Looking back now, I do understand why they need proof. It’s helpful that they push you in that direction because that’s generally the aim anyway, to transition in all areas of life. So, you need to make sure that once you’ve changed your title and name, you alter your ID and also inform your school, college or workplace so that they can change your details there too. This doesn’t mean you need to come out to the whole world, just tell those who are in change and can sort out your documentations. Take it all at your own pace and remember there are laws in place for discrimination, so no need to be scared.

8. Press Play

I put my life on pause for years because of transitioning. I pushed all of my ambitions to one side and couldn’t focus on anything else. Now I have a lot of catching up to do! If there were only one bit of advice I could give to someone trans, it would be to not let transitioning stop you from achieving your dreams. Foremost, I’m a filmmaker, writer, actor, boyfriend, best friend, son, coffee-drinker, doodler, daydreamer… being transgender is such a small part of who I am and the same goes for you. So invest your energy into something worthwhile. Why not get creative, use your experiences to inspire you – write a blog, a song, a script. Make a film, a comic, a collage. Keep positive and don’t lose yourself. Yeah, it can be a difficult and frustrating journey but everything is hard before it gets easy.

For more inspiration and to keep up with Lewis, don’t forget to follow @MrLewzer on Twitter.

Can we guess your gender? Take the quiz and find out >>

Do you need to talk to someone about your gender? Got anything else on your mind? You can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you.

trans ally

It’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia! Here at Ditch the Label, we definitely think this day is a pretty important one, as loads of people all over the world still get targeted daily for being gay, bi and trans. Here, we want to focus on tackling transphobia, and so put together this quick guide to being the best trans ally you possibly can!

A trans ally is someone who is cisgender but fights alongside the trans community to tackle prejudice and promote equality. So, whether you’re already clued up about transgender issues, or you’re not so sure and are always worrying that you’ll say the wrong thing – we’re here to help…

1) Backhanded compliments suck and need to stop…

“I never would have known you were trans…”- translates as “well done on passing as ‘normal.'” Newsflash: there is no normal! Also, this insinuates that if you had known, you might have treated them differently. Even if you meant it in the best way possible, just steer clear of things like this…

There are unfortunately many, many more of these so-called ‘backhanded compliments’ which most trans people will probably be familiar with. Steer clear of stuff like this, they have probably heard it all a lot and it certainly isn’t very complimentary – it usually comes from being uninformed or prejudiced. If you hear ‘compliments’ like this, try to challenge it by asking why they have said that.

2) See the person

Do you regularly ask everyone about what’s going on in their pants? The size, shape and history of their genitals? Didn’t think so! Please, pretty please don’t ask trans folks about it either! It’s deeply disrespectful and not ok…EVER! See the person, get to know them for who they are, being trans is only one small part of a person’s story and not their entire identity.

3) Don’t make assumptions about a transgender person’s sexual orientation

Gender identity is different than sexual orientation. Sexuality is about who we are attracted to, whereas gender identity is own personal sense of being male, female or outside the gender binary. Transgender people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual or heterosexual. Something else to remember is that it’s really none of your business what sexual orientation someone is until they decide to reveal it to you.

4) Ask questions rather than assume

If there is something you’re not clear about, most people will be open to answering your questions as long as they are polite, respectful and not too intrusive. So for example, asking someone which pronouns they use is usually fine (she/he/they). If you have anything else you want to ask, try having an open honest conversation in a safe space, and let them know that you have some questions, but they do not have to answer them if they don’t want to and that you mean no harm in asking them.

5) Shut transphobia down

When you see transphobic abuse, report it. Stand up for your friends and stand up for strangers when it feels safe to do so. No one deserves to be abused because of who they are and/or how they identify. By not saying anything, you are effectively justifying their prejudice and betraying your own beliefs in equality – standing shoulder to shoulder with the trans community to overcome hate and ignorance is the best thing you can do.

6) Do your research

Know about trans issues and current affairs. All you have to do is go online to see what’s going on in the world. Simply being in the know is a good place to start. Form your own opinion and go from there.

7) Be Yourself

You don’t need to be anything other than yourself. If you are a true ally, you believe in equality and overcoming prejudice, then that’s all you need to do: stand up for what you believe in and support others in the face of adversity.

There you have it! Seven quick tips on how to be the best ally to the trans community as you possibly can!

If you need support from a digital mentor or are dealing with transphobia or related issues, join the DTL community. There are a whole bunch of people who can help you today!

So you think you might be bisexual? Or maybe you are just here for fun. Either way, questioning your sexuality is a completely normal thing to do and a lot of us do it. In fact, our research shows that over 50% of us don’t identify as fully heterosexual. And our research shows that most of us don’t identify as being 100% hetrosexual. How cool is that?!

A quiz can only do a bit of the work, and the truth is your sexuality is something that will evolve and it’s normal to explore and question your sexuality. Right now, you don’t need to rush through any firm decisions. When you know, you will know.

This quiz is just for fun, and remember no internet quiz is going to be able to tell you who you are. Your sexuality is unique to you, and is a spectrum that everyone sits on.

Am I Bisexual Quiz


Thanks for taking the quiz!

If you feel like you want to talk to someone about your result, or if you feel like the quiz got it wrong, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

There are trained Mentors that can offer you advice and support about this and loads of other stuff. You can also connect with other people going through similar things.

How do you know if you’re bisexual?

You’ve taken the quiz and want to learn more about bisexuality?

Bisexuality is a sexual orientation where somebody is attracted to more than one gender. Some identify as bisexual, while others use pansexual, queer, fluid, or no label at all to describe it.

This identity is so powerful. You’re ready to be open and honest about something you value. It’s ok to start off slow – you may not be ready to tell the whole world! We’ve written 13 different tips for coming out as bisexual to help you decide who, when, and how you might tell someone.

We have lots of other guides and advice below. Check out these below for some more info on bisexuality:

Woman in girl power t shirt

Feminism gets a bad rap most of the time. Making headlines for transphobia, man-hating and bra burning, loads of people today don’t even like being associated with the term ‘feminist’. But, it’s not all bad, and in fact most feminists do not agree with any of the stuff that you might have heard. That’s why we scoured Google for the biggest (autocomplete) myths about feminism, so that we can prove them wrong #thefutureisfemale. 

 

1) You can’t be a guy and be feminist

Literally everyone can be a feminist, and many guys out there are. In fact, feminism at it’s heart believes in equal rights for men and women, meaning men can benefit from it as well through things like equal maternity and paternity leave. Let’s hear it for the boys!

 

2) All feminists hate men

Feminism is literally about equal rights for everyone. That’s it. That is what it all boils down to. Hating the systematic oppression of women in society, hating catcalling and sexual harassment, hating the pay gap, is definitely not the same thing as hating men. 

 

3) You can’t show skin and be feminist 

A lot of people think that being a feminist is incompatible with showing skin. This thought assumes all women bare their flesh to make a man happy or to attract one, which is just wrong. Sometimes it’s just a hot day, sometimes we aren’t in to guys, sometimes we like our outfits that way, and sometimes it can be empowering AF to be free with our bodies.

 

4) You can’t be a feminist and be into beauty/fashion

Being a feminist does not have to dictate what you wear, how you wear it, how long your hair is or if you like to wear make-up. In fact, the best thing about feminism is that it fights for a woman’s right to choose to do what they want, whenever they want, without prejudice or judgement. Plus make-up isn’t just for women – everyone can use it! So if you want to watch hours of make-up tutorials on Youtube and spend a little too much money on an eye shadow palette, then you do you.

 

5) You can’t be a feminist and listen to rap music

Dude. Seriously? So, we get where this is coming from, given that many lyrics in rap music are pretty sexist. But this totally disregards all the women in rap, hip hop and RnB that have worked incredibly hard on their music and built a career in a male dominated music genre.

 

6) You can’t be a feminist and get married or be a mum

So many feminists are married and have children, and in fact advocate for mother’s rights and for the rights of their children to live in a world free from prejudice. Dealing with issues such as breastfeeding, returning to work after kids and choices around raising children all can have a feminist perspective. Check out Chrissy Teigen and Amy Schumer, who give us some seriously powerful feminist mum vibes.

 

7) Feminism isn’t needed anymore 

‘You have the vote, you can drive, what more do you want?’ There are so many things feminism has yet to tackle. The gender pay gap, pervasive sexual harassment, unequal maternity and paternity leave to name only very few. Plus, not all women have equal rights around the world, and that is a hugely important thing to remember when asking if feminism is really needed.

 

Equality is awesome. For more content on equal rights, love, inspiration and more, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

Join in the conversation now and join our community here.