A BRAVE man who was born a girl wants to give courage to other transgender people after appearing on TV to talk about his struggle.
Bobby Fransis Barnes, of Diglis, Worcester, was interview-ed by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby live on ITV’s This Morning to talk about his experiences and said he wants people going through the same thing to stand proud against “the haters”.
The 19-year-old, who works as a barber in Lowesmoor, is waiting to have female-to-male chest reconstruction and sex-reassignment surgery on the NHS as soon as possible.
Describing his difficult childhood, Mr Barnes said he used to cut off his pigtails and rip off his girl clothes because he knew he was a boy on the inside.
“I have never lived any other way,” he said. “I had to stand up for myself or I would get bullied. I would be fighting almost every other day and my mum was at school every other week. I tried to control my anger but I came to a point where I thought, ‘I’m not taking it any more, I will have to man up or I’m going to get bullied for the rest of my life’.
“Other kids knew not to mess with me. People said, ‘You have got bottle -– you have got courage’.
“I just want people to stop the hating.”
Mr Barnes, who has 10 brothers and sisters, att-ended Cherry Orchard Primary School in Timber-dine Close, Worcester, and Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in the city’s Timberdine Avenue.
He said at high school he was allowed to take part in school games with the boys but some children called him “a lesbian, a transvestite and a freak”.
And he said he had received some negative comments since his TV appearance.
“After I appeared on This Morning someone said I should have been shot at birth,” he said.
“I just laugh at it. They make jokes but they make themselves sound like idiots. “But Donna [his partner] took it hard but I have got more good comments than bad, more lovers than haters.”
Mr Barnes is now going out with his mum’s best friend, mother-of-three Donna Price, aged 31. The couple have been together since November although Mr Fransis confessed he had a crush on her for a long time, kissing her in the Brewery Tap in Lowesmoor. She has known him since he was a baby and used to change his nappies as a child. He has even set up a Facebook page called Born this way to give people a better understanding of his journey.
A consultation at a clinic in Charing Cross in London in October could provide dates for the surgery he needs to make him male.
He said: “I’m looking forward to that. It’s a long way off but it’s going to be worth it. I just want my op done and dusted.”
He has already had hormone treatment for two years, which means he has a man’s voice.
And he said others going through a similar thing sould not conceal their feelings.
“Don’t be scared to tell anyone because there is support for people out there,” he said.
“It isn’t just you on your own. I want to inspire the young people. People think they’re alone but I have had lots of support from my family and friends.”
He said his mum, Tracey Wood, had been “a rock” to him, as had his friend Gail Braznell, of Droit-wich, who is writing a book about his life.
He said: “My mum risked everything for me. It would have been so much harder if not for my mum.”