Exmouth teenager: ‘Allow me to live my life as a man’

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 August 2016

Ray Fry, left and his boyfriend, Luke Walker, right

Ray Fry, left and his boyfriend, Luke Walker, right

Archant

A transgender teenage boy claims he has been twice refused a haircut, sneered at and whispered about since moving to Exmouth.

Teenager Ray Fry, from Albion Street, a female to male transgender lad, has made an impassioned plea to the town to accept his new identity and make him feel welcome and wanted.

He hopes openly talking about his gender identity will break down some of the discrimination barriers Ray believes exist in Exmouth.

Since moving to Exmouth in June, Ray, aged 16, said he has faced prejudice for the way he looks.

Ray, who went to school in East Devon and came out as a transgender male when he was 11 years old, 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’m just very sick of people not recognising that even if I do look feminine, I’m trying my hardest to look male and I would love to be treated as male for once.”

He added: “I have struggled to find somewhere to get a men’s haircut. I have tried to go to a barbers shop but I got odd looks. I walked in and said ‘I want to get my hair cut’. I was told ‘sorry we don’t serve women’. I said ‘I am transgender’.

“I went to another shop, which was empty. When I asked, they said ‘we are really busy today’. I walked past half an hour later and it was still empty.

“I left the shop and I was really upset. When I was rejected I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Although I was trying my hardest to portray as male, it wasn’t happening. It felt as though my identity was null.

“It feels like people around here aren’t taking me seriously, so 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. I don’t have that liberty any more.”

Ray, a part-time cleaner and carer for his disabled boyfriend, Luke Walker, aged 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.”


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