Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Transgender & Violence Awareness

Connie, a young transgender (male to female) was starting a new chapter in her life by becoming room mates with a young man named Joseph.
Despite only meeting previously, Connie placed all her trust in Joseph and hoped their living arrangement would be a success.
However, during the first night in her new room and while she slept Connie was violently attacked by her new friend and room mate.
Joseph violently attacked Connie with a hammer.
Later it was emerged by Connie's solicitor that Joseph's attack on Connie was motivated by hostility towards her sexual orientation.
This was an attack motivated by homophobia.
Connie was in a coma for a whole month, a state of deep unconsciousness which was caused by the severe injury she experienced.
Since the attack Connie had to undergo rehabilitation, where she not only learned to eat again but she also learned to walk and talk again.
Rehabilitation does not reverse or even undo the damaged caused due to illness or in Connie's case; a trauma.
However it helps to restore a person and their body to health and a functioning state.
Since the attack Connie has been diagnosed with epilepsy which was triggered due to the attack.
It is a disorder that is neurological.
It causes sudden and very frightening episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness and/or convulsions.
Connie now has trust issues as a result.
The justification of this is rarely questioned.
Connie has built a wall of protection around her in order to protect her from being hurt again.
Connie can't control or even predict whether or not she'll experience hurt in her life, no one can but her wall is built regardless.
Connie doesn't trust many people and she doesn't especially trust black people (Joseph is black), this however doesn't make her a racist so please don't judge her.
During 2014 Joseph was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 19 years in prison.
This doesn't mean Connie is now back to her old self, sadly its far from it.
Connie's life has changed in many ways.

Connie kindly agreed to an interview with me in regards to what happened before and after the attack.

For Connie and all other transgenders, I want to raise awareness.
Bullying, hostility, discrimination, violence etc needs to STOP!


Connie's Interview:

What is your name and age?
My name is Connie, I am 21 years old.

At what age did you become aware that you were "existing" in the wrong body?
I was 14 years old when I realised I was in the wrong body?

When did your transitioning period take place?
Did you undergo hormone treatment?
If not, do you plan to?
Did you undergo gender reassignment surgery?
If not, do you plan to?
All my sex changes are happening now.
I plan to have surgery, a breast operation and take hormones.

Have your family and friends been supportive?
Yes, my family and friends have been supportive.

Being transgender is about expression and gender identity, not sexuality however now that you are a woman do you feel sexually attracted to men?
I feel very sexually attracted to men, probably more than I should.

To those reading this blog who feel they are "existing" in the wrong body, what advice would you give them?
Don't move to Margate, be careful who you trust.

When did you meet Joseph?
I met Joseph a couple of weeks before I became flatmates with him, 3 years ago.

What was your first impression of Joseph?
My first impressions of Joseph were okay, there didn't seem anything to worry about, no alarms rang.

You became flatmates with Joseph and on the first night as you slept in your bed you were violently attacked by Joseph, what exactly happened?
The first day I moved in with Joseph as flatmates, he wasn't home.
I unpacked.
I met with friends who came to help tidy, we spent 6 hours cleaning the place.
I had a takeaway with my friends then walked them to the station.
I came back, had a cigarette with my best friend Abbie then set up my TV.
I put on a DVD and fell asleep.
As I slept I was violently attacked by Joseph, with a hammer.

You were in a coma as a result, how long for?
I woke up from a coma, a month after the attack.

Doctors should you the x-ray of your skull, it showed a hammer lodged deep inside?
What was your initial reaction?
The doctors showed me my X-Ray and I honestly felt sick.

How long were you in hospital for?
I was in hospital in total for 9 & 1/2 months.

You went through rehabilitation, what was the process?
I had to learn to eat again, plus walk and talk again.

In 2014 Joseph was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 19 years.
Do you think his sentence was right or wrong?
I think Joseph's sentence was wrong.
If we still had the death penalty, that us what he should have got.
Or send him somewhere it is done.

How has your life been since the attack?
My life is pretty strange since the attack, I can't trust a lot of people and I don't trust black people (which Joseph is).

Do you have any lasting health issues due to the attack?
I now have a weaker right side and I have epilepsy.

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