TransEthics: When did you begin your transition?
Leah Crowley: I initially began to transition during the last few months. Before this time I kept myself a secret for quite some time. I used to always be concerned of what other people would think of me.
TE: What changed?
LC: I became too tired with trying to keep myself inside. I’ve always known I was trapped inside myself for a long time but through life’s journey I began to realise more that it wasn’t phases, etc… It was an awakening which was also a huge sigh of relief of knowing this, but with the dysphoria side of things and how it emotionally crushes you and each hour feels like a whole day has passes with mental and emotional exhaustion. I knew I had to be myself. Life supposed to be a reward and to make you happy, but I knew that by coming out it was a step closer to be the person who I am.
TE: How long were you hiding your true self away?
LC: I knew I didn’t fit in from when I was a child. I felt very uncomfortable to be around other boys and play football, etc… It was a very conditioning environment. I knew I was different to other boys before my pre-teens but as soon I reached my pre-teens I began to have more interests in female clothing, makeup, etc. Each day I admired how beautiful the women were on television and magazines, etc… I wanted to be like them. I knew what I exactly wanted from the first year in high school when I was 11 but the exploration began to grow in myself, feeling before this time. My first boy crush I was six years old.
I think I was hiding myself for about 30 plus years to my family and the outside world. A few girl friends knew how I felt in high school and college and sometimes we would get together and try various makeups, etc… and discuss boys. (Haha.) Later in life I came out I was gay at 18 years old. But inside myself I didn’t class myself as gay because when I had male relationships they always treated me like their princess which was very comforting.
TE: How do you respond to critics who say that trans women are “in fact just extremely gay men”?
LC: I would say they need to understand and educate themselves about how gender dysphoria affects people. If people took the time and listened they’d surely understand how gender dysphoria can affect someone. For example, One of my followers left a comments on one of my posts asking me how do you know you feel this way, what makes you feel like a female. I was calm and polite in my response and I told the person exactly how gender dysphoria affected me through life. It only took five minutes to answer the person’s question and she fully understood soon after. Five minutes can make a whole difference.
TE: There’s an onslought in the United Kingdom’s media right now targeting trans people (mostly trans women). How do the continuous attacks by anti-trans pundits affect you and the trans people you know?
LC: There will always be haters to someone or something and I believe that you have to keep your head up and be positive. Times are slowly changing in parts of the UK but we need more people willing to speak up. I believe strength in numbers and a positive voice can go far.
A trans sister friend of mine was affected recently by some of the media and I just told them we know in ourselves who we are and these vicious bigots, critics only attack someone to feed their super hero egos and once they get their scores they move onto something else or someone else. I also think that people who do attack our community are incredibly insecure and weak individuals and they either choose to understand and be aware or they’re just selfishly conditioned. Never feed their egos or fuel their fire.
I have been assaulted more than five times in the last year because of the small-minded street I live on at the moment. I was affected and afraid for sometime because of it. I had urine soaking me from a super-soaker gun, eggs thrown at windows, ice cubes thrown at my face, glass bottles, etc.. But where I live is next to a notorious pub where alcohol can fuel their egos. I still go outside now and I have to put those times behind me but it’s a vicious circle on my street. At the moment if it was visible that I was dressed as Leah someone would assault me from the pub again.
To be safe I am very careful the times I leave my apartment, but soon I shall be relocating. Each week I campaign and promote for equal rights and I will always do so. We are role models to people and we inspire people and the next generations to come. We have to set a good positive example and step by step things will get much better.
TE: You’re an award-winning author of poetry and horror stories. How has this fact affected your transition?
LC: It is only recently I began to write horror again and it helps with the dysphoria and those dark times of feeling low. I have written about transgender characters in a few previous literary works –some clues about who I am now and how I saw myself. But it wasn’t just horror stories where I gave clues.
Some of my poetry have personal accounts of how I feel and I wished I looked and how society wished I looked at the time. For example, I wrote a verse titled “Dancing Under Waterfalls” which is about me and how I saw myself as a female and I celebrated the body I always wanted whilst away from the artificial conditions in modern society. I’ve written many pieces of a similar theme too. It was mentally rewarding and a positive escape from the dealings of gender dysphoria. Writing as helped me because with how the emotions and feelings through dysphoria and to write those down and turn a negative moment into something positive it was a creative relief.
TE: All your works are printed and credited under your deadname. Will you be releasing new editions of your works (where you’re able) under the name Leah Crowley?
LC: I did contemplate renaming them now but I decided to leave them be because some of the book releases included contributions which was featured in magazines, anthologies and also appeared on radio shows.
I think my writing career is now fresh and how I’ve always wanted it to be. I have no regrets with previous writings I have written, but I guess that was the journey to where I am now. I have already began to have contributed works in recent months such a verse, titled “Oxygen” which appears in Poetica Volume One and “Embryo” and “Echoes From The Womb” which are featured in the latest book anthology, Womb-Celebrating Mothers. I feel more at home and at ease now I’m writing under a positive outlook.
TE: All this makes your transition very public. How do you respond to those who might say this is “a publicity stunt” or some such transphobic nonsense?
LC: I would say never judge a book by its cover, no pun intended. But honestly I have dealt with much drama from the writing industry, media industry and daily life and now I’m at a very positive stage in my life and I am healthy. I’ve been writing since I was a child, and professionally for the last eight years. Writing is not just a passion but it’s also part of your life. Basically, I was born into writing. I have done other jobs previously but writing and creating has always been there for me and even through bad times, good times. It’s a creative marriage.
TE: What advice would you give to people in their 30s or 40s who want to transition, but feel they are “too old” to do so?
LC: Live your life, be yourself because you matter, you are important. Your journey needs a destination and the destination is to be who you are. Houses are built by hardworking hands and focus; once finished your comfortable abode is waiting for you.
TE: Any future projects in the works right now?
LC: In the coming weeks hopefully at some point I will be creating a YouTube Trans Community channel which will feature videos with advice, beauty tips, cookery, plus much more. I think it would work as a positive base for other trans sisters and brothers but also for the wider community to show them that we are just respectable people wanting to be ourselves. We are just like you.
Secondly, I have my next poetry collection due out this year, titled Battle Hymns which is themed around historical moments and events and also the effects of loss and war. I am also writing another poetry collection titled Equal Writes. There are several projects I’m working on, but those are just a few of them.
TE: We’ll certainly be looking forward to them. Thank you for spending some time with us today.
LC: Thank you so much, Victoria. Thank you for having me. It was an honour and a pleasure.