'I don't have to wear a skirt any more – I am so grateful for that'
Published 15/03/2013 | 05:00
James Hudson (16) was born female but identifies as male. Entering his teens, and sensing he was different, James convinced himself he was a lesbian tomboy but the lightbulb moment came when he came across a Wikipedia article on what it is to be transgender.
"It was just one of those epiphany moments when I thought that's it, that's me, that's finally what I have been looking for. That explains everything," he recalled.
That was when he was about 13 or 14 years old. He adopted the nickname Jimmy first and then announced on Facebook that he wanted to be known only as James from then on.
James, who has the full support of his mum, will commence hormone treatment as part of the physical transition when he finishes school later this year, but for now, the Dublin teenager struggles to have his identity acknowledged in the mixed secondary school he attends.
"A year and a half ago I still had to wear the girls' uniform in school. This gave me very severe anxiety. I would just not go to school very often. I just felt so humiliated in it. I finally worked up the guts to talk to my principal," he said.
The compromise reached is that James is allowed wear his tracksuit in the classroom even though PE is not a subject this year.
"People ask me why I'm wearing my tracksuit and I just say I have permission from the principal but I don't have to wear a skirt any more and I am so grateful for that," he said.
He believes he hasn't been the victim of bullying because people don't care enough.
"They think it's a phase, if they actively thought I was serious, there might be a bullying problem, but mostly it's just apathy, because no one cares about my personal issues.
"I would rather have my identity taken seriously than to have it suppressed like this," he added.
His friend, Karl Silver (18), has been by his side, gently correcting people who refer to his friend by the wrong name or pronoun and occasionally getting into arguments.
"At first I was apprehensive. I didn't know how to act but all that happened was that I took one friend from column A, which is girls and put him into column B, which is boys. That is just how you do it and how I have been operating since," he said.