Kirsten Ruth Bayes
Born: June 1967
Occupations: Elected as a councillor and deputy leader of Kirstens’ gender/sexuality title: Kirsten likes to refer herself as – trans history which is a way of distinguishing where she is in her life compared to somebody currently going through transition.
Through her experiences of her early life as a trans person, Kirsten experienced many forms of bullying at school, this was due to her being effeminate. This led to Kirsten taking up martial arts which gave her the self confidence and also the ability to protect herself.
Into adulthood Kirsten, realised there was not much of a scene in Reading for the Trans* community, so she would go to London and visit the scene there. On one occasion Kirsten passed a line of men dressed as fisherman outside a club, out of curiosity, Kirsten approached one and asked naïvely if there was an event going on. The gentleman replied “ Where do you think we have told our wives we are?”
Kirsten had contemplated suicide at times, however when those dark times had reared their heads she asked herself one day, had she contributed enough to life yet? Kirsten also explained that she found living as a man stressful, and the transition is very hard. She believes that while conformity to the new gender role is something required by gatekeepers to transition, she views gender as essentially fluid (noting that conformity to binary gender roles is imposed by force in our society). So she feels no special pressure to conform to any particular supposed aspects of what it means to be a woman.
Looking back over her times Kirsten can see that her sexuality and gender identity had not impacted on her career.
Asked what has been the biggest change for the LGBT community, her reply was: The changes to employment rights, which includes the right to not be sacked for being LGBT, has led to individuals feeling more relaxed about coming out.
Asked who she looked up to she replied: Laverne Cox – black and trans, Jan Morris – travel writer, and Eleanor Roosevelt. With her hero being Carol J Adams-writer of Anti-women violence.
Kirsten has shown that her sexuality and gender identity has not impeded in her career and life, she is one of Readings Hidden Voices that has helped shape the community and further a field to be what it is today.