Transgender teen’s plea for acceptance in Devon
PUBLISHED: 07:06 19 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:15 19 August 2016
A former student at The King’s School speaks out in bid to break down discrimination barriers
A transgender teenage boy has spoken out about prejudice and discrimination he is forced to endure in a bid to break down barriers.
Ray Fry, a former student at The King’s School, says he was well supported at the academy, but claims that since a recent move to Exmouth, he has been twice refused a haircut, sneered at and whispered about in the town.
The female to male transgender lad has made an impassioned plea for people to accept him and hopes openly talking about his gender identity will break down the discrimination barriers he believes still exist.
Ray, 16, attended The King’s School from years seven - 11 and says although he did face some bullying, it was swiftly dealt with and he credits the ‘amazing’ support from teachers in helping him achieve good GCSE results.
Speaking about the prejudice he encounters now, Ray said: “I’ve been rejected at barber shops, sneered at, whispered about and, when myself and my male partner are out together, we receive a lot of silent discrimination. I feel like nobody wants me to be what I should have been. It’s really distressing. It makes me feel like I don’t want to be in Devon anymore. I want to be somewhere I will be accepted.”
Ray came out as a transgender male when he was 11 years old and said he did speak to someone at secondary school who ensured he had access to the right support.
He added: “Once I was in gender therapy, teachers were made aware of my new name and 90 per cent were absolutely fantastic. I did struggle with some bullying, but it was quite effectively dealt with. The teachers wanted to ensure my education did not suffer because of it. I was never very good at making friends, so the friends I did have were very close-knit and very supportive from the beginning.
“To anyone else, I would say if you are struggling with your sexuality, you should talk to someone, because the worst thing you can do is hold it all inside.”
Ray, a part-time cleaner and carer for his disabled boyfriend, Luke, 19, has invited people to talk to him about his gender transformation rather than shy away from the issue.
“Allow me to live an authentic life as a man and not judge me for it,” he said. “I would rather people tried to understand than just went away being confused in silence. I would much rather people came up to me in the street and became informed.”