Sunday 18 August 2019

WATCH: Shauna Gartland reveals relief of coming out as transgender on RTE series 'Dole Life'

Jake Gartland who appeared as Shauna Gartland in RTE2's Dole Life before coming out as transgender
Jake Gartland who appeared as Shauna Gartland in RTE2's Dole Life before coming out as transgender
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Shauna Gartland speaks about the relief of revealing she is transgender to friends and family on tonight's final episode of Dole Life.

The RTE2 documentary has been following the trials and tribulations of several Irish twenty-somethings struggling to find work.

Shauna (21) from Dublin had been having a tough time finding and keeping a job, but tonight she reveals she's been struggling with another massive issue in the background.

"My auntie and my dad and mum were like, 'You need to fix your image so you can get a job' and stuff like that, so I just put up on Facebook, I said, 'Look, I'm actually sick of people telling me what to wear and, while I'm at it, I'm actually trans," reveals Shauna in the episode.

In the course of the series Shauna, who has since become Jake, had been criticised for losing a job after being late four days running, but he feels life is more positive now that the issue is out in the open. 

"It was so hard when I first realised [I was trans]," he says.  "It was horrible.  I kind of clicked stuff from my childhood and stuff from now and just put them together and I was like, 'Right, I'm definitely not just gay'

"[It's] just small little things.  I don't really see myself as a girl.  I'd love to have a flat chest.  I hate the fact that I have a chest.  That really annoys me.  I wear a binder to like flatten myself down, which I feel better about."

Speaking about the fact he revealed his news on Facebook, Jake adds, "If I hadn't have said it on Facebook I wouldn't have said it to my family at all.  I'd have been afraid to say it.

"At least now my family can see it.  I'd say my dad had an idea. He rang me and said, 'It's not the kind of thing you talk about on Facebook' but to be honest it is.  It's where I have all of my friends, all of the people I care about.

"The feedback I got was really good, really supportive, which was a really nice thing."

He adds, "It's a really nice thing, it's deadly to finally be true to who I actually am and have other people know how I'm feeling about myself, because literally I can't put into words how horrible it is to be in a body you're not comfortable in.  I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin."

Tonight's third and final episode of the series also follows Trinity graduate Lloyd who started job-hunting again after calling time on his micro-business making soup.  However, he turns down a job offer to seek adventure abroad instead.

Over in Rathfarnham, family connections have finally paid off for Louis and he has the offer of bar work, but somewhere far more exciting than Dublin.

Meanwhile, in Athy, things are on the up for single mother Kelly, whose search for a solid, stable job takes a turn for the positive.

In Clondalkin single mum Katie's dreams come true and in Smithfield, Avril’s temporary placement with Jigsaw, a youth mental health service, bears fruit.

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