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Q & A with Melissa Griffiths Q - Is there conflict between the various communities of LGBQTI or is there usually solidarity? Whilst on the surface may appear there is solidarity in the LGBTQI community the sad reality that there are some divisions. We all have a common purpose to create change and make it better for our community however politics gets in the way. If someone doesn’t particularly like your point of view or it doesn’t suit their agenda then you will be snubbed or tolerated at best in the LGBTQI community. If we are to create real change in society then we have to put aside our politics and work together however sadly I fear we are a long way off this. People are too focused on getting their grants and pushing their agendas instead of changing society to normalise transgender people. Q - Do you feel that people look at you differently to other people? Q - If the answer is yes – in what way does it feel different? People look at me differently because I am transgender and some just percieve me as a “man in a dress”. I was in the gym today and two guys saw me and I watched them talk to each other and laugh after they saw me. Proof in the pudding. Society treats you as a joke, an oddball. I have people in my workplace not acknowledge me or giggle at me when they see me in the life and I can do or say nothing. When you are at the bus stop people in the street will walk past you and either smile, say hello or look at you with look as much as to say - “You are an alien, evil, the devil”, a look of anger event. People in their cars will drive past and stare at you as if you are from outer space. Though society is slowly changing, I find that it depends who you are with or where you as to how people treat you and whether they look at you differently. Q - Are Transgender people allowed to adopt children? Whilst legally transgender people can adopt children the reality is totally different. Even to foster children if you are transgender or LGBTQI is difficult because of the stigma around LGBTQI people. There is the discrimination that exists whether real or perceived around transgender people fostering or adopting children and lack of understanding around this. The government is yet to really address transgender rights properly which then flows onto other areas such as adoption by transgender people of children. Q - Do you ever want to reverse the process? As far as reversing the process this is something that I used to get often asked when I transitioned if I would ever change back. This question always used to puzzle me, as if I am been a girl just for a temporary thrill or some other reason. The reality is that I am a transgender female and I have the gender identity of a female even though born in a body of a male. Whilst it has been tough transitioning and society not necessarily accepting me or understanding me I have no regrets. Q - How firm is your handshake? Q - Are you attracted to women? I have good handshake and as far as my sexuality goes I am openly bi-sexual which is different from my gender identity as a female. Often people like to merge the two together and put everything together in a neat box. Society still has a way to grasp the idea that the two are different and that been transgender automatically makes you gay. Q - What if anything do you miss from your previous life as a male? I don’t really miss anything from old life as a male apart from those mornings when you get up and miss you didn’t have to rush to put on make up. I love wearing make up however as a male you don’t have to think about that or worry how you look or what dress you wearing. Males have it easy, females have a lot more pressure to look good when they should just be themselves. Q - Are you a coffee or a tea person? I drink a bit of coffee however not a huge coffee drinker, tend to drink water when get up and throughout the day. Q - Any regrets? You can never any regrets being yourself and coming out to the world as who you are. I never regret coming out as a transgender woman and living true to myself. If you don’t live true to yourself then you are living a lie and what is the point of that. I am more confident, happier and stronger than I have ever been in my life living as a transgender woman.