We met with Amy to hear about what she thinks of the Trans Programme.
Can you introduce yourself and share a bit about your story?
I'm 35, I came out as transgender in my early thirties after a lifetime of gender dysphoria. I've been lucky enough to have the full support of my family, friends and employers throughout. The process is tough and I did find it difficult to find people going through the same journey as me, especially at the start, so I'm really interested in being able to help people at the stage I was at a few years ago.
I am the lead artist at a VFX studio in Manchester called Flipbook. I am responsible for concept artwork and design, story boarding, 3D modelling and animation. I really love my job and it's a great industry to work in for LGBT people. Whilst a lot of my work is done digitally nowadays my degree course focuses on natural media eg watercolours, life drawing etc. I still go to life drawing classes whenever I'm able to.
Aside from all of that I'm hugely into film and animation and have an interest in any kind of visual creativity, I ride motorbikes (slowly!) and I love the countryside and nature. Weekends will usually be spent either at the cinema, a gallery or national trust property, on a hill somewhere or of course the Molly House. I live on my own in Didsbury.
How did you find out about LGBT Foundation?
I first visited what was then the LG Foundation to attend a TREC meeting, and have been to some of the talks there during the Sparkle weekend. TREC came to an end pretty much as soon as I discovered it, but I've kept an eye on the LGBT Foundation's website since.
Can you tell us your hopes for the new LGBT Foundation trans programme?
I'm hugely excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. The support network and events catering to the trans community in Manchester currently suffer from a bit of an image problem, and this has caused some inspiring and passionate people to stay away, and for the attendance of some of the groups to be quite narrow in terms of age and diversity.
I am not a hugely confident person but I see getting involved in supporting other trans people as part of my own growth, and I think it will help build my confidence. I do pride myself on being a good listener and I always try to consider all viewpoints. I hope that this new programme can attract a wider range of people and provide a positive and inspiring community for all trans people. For my own part, I would like to have the opportunity of using my experience of transitioning through the NHS to help those at the beginning of that journey.
What does trans awareness mean to you?
There will hopefully come a day when being trans has no effect on employment opportunities, access to healthcare, basic rights, or ability to have a night out or even just walk down a street without harassment. And those are just the problems trans people face in this country; in others it's far, far worse. I think we need to continue to highlight these inequalities whilst supporting positive representations of trans people. I want a world where a teenager doesn't have to hide who they are, and can come out as trans without fear.
What advice would you offer someone questioning their gender identity or newly out as trans?
Reach out to others, and make sure you have a good support network, whether that be family, friends or a support group. Be proud of who you are and be true to yourself; society can sometimes pressure people to transition from one box to another. And look for positive role models, either locally or in the media, it will really help!
Amy has since become a Community Creative volunteer at LGBT Foundation.