I met Matt Ellison through a mutual connection on LinkedIn. He reached out to ask my advice on getting out there as a public speaker.
Whenever I speak with Matt, I am in awe of him and the journey he has been through.
I find him both inspiring and thought-provoking so I asked him to share his journey with you.
I’ll hand over to Matt….
Gender Transition – an amazing journey
“I knew from my earliest memories that I was not a girl, but it was at age 5, after some things I said, that I learnt this was ‘not acceptable’ and decided to keep quiet and hide my feelings.
I’m Matt and I’m a transgender male who transitioned from female to male in my late thirties.
I went through life struggling. There were so many aspects it affected from toilets, to clothes, my career path (due to clothes), sports, relationships, my social circle, plus so much more. I’d cry myself to sleep and prey I’d wake up a boy – imagine my disappointment every morning.
Depressed, I wished I’d never been born. It seemed all of life’s problems could be attributed to my gender issues. Yet to the world around me all was well, I was a tomboy…….but so are many girls – right?
The Turning Point
When I finally decided at 39 I needed to do something I had so many fears. There were hundreds of people in my life and the realisation that every single one of them would learn my deepest darkest secret that I’d hidden for nearly 4 decades was terrifying. What would they think? How would they react? Would I lose family and friends? Would my business fall apart? This was a huge risk, but one I simply had to take.
I’m pleased to report that none of my fears came true and in fact the opposite happened and I now feel closer than ever to my family and friends having shared such a personal journey. I feel so much more comfortable as a human being and those around me can see this.
The relief is immense, transition has removed a lot of stress; no more pretending – I can wear what I’m comfortable with and act how comes naturally to me. I love my deeper voice and facial hair, and will never tire of the shape of my body due to hormone treatment. I have a lot more confidence and feel I can achieve anything.
Often even the most supportive people think the journey of medical intervention is the hard bit. After all who would choose to go through all that (?), but in fact they’re wrong, that’s the most exciting part. It was the first 39 years of my life that was difficult, just no one could see that!
I’ve seen my body turn into what it should have been all along which has been the most life affirming experience one could possibly imagine. Surgery was life changing and an amazing experience. For me it was akin to someone having a medical condition, such as a large benign growth that you feel the world is staring at (even if they’re not), and finally a surgeon comes along and says “Hey I can fix that for you”. Yes I’m left with a scar, but that’s no problem and far preferable to the alternative.
What I Learnt
This journey has made me a stronger person and I have learnt many a life lesson.
Firstly the seemingly impossible is often possible; we all have things we’d like to change in our lives but feel it’s too difficult. You just need a little courage to try and then to keep working away at it.
I also learnt that many of the things we’re scared of probably won’t actually happen, or if they do are in fact easily overcome.
And finally, that there are a lot of lovely and supportive people in this world. I now truly know who my friends are……as it turns out, all of them!”
About Matt Ellison
Matt was co-chair of FTM London (FTM = Female-to-Male) for two years, probably the UK’s largest support group for transmen. He’s participated in meetings with NHS England to help improve trans care and is a public speaker.
He runs a successful guitar school, is a qualified horse-riding instructor, holds black belts in both judo and ju-jitsu (has run clubs in both) and hobbies also include weightlifting and kickboxing.
With the number of people coming forward to transition doubling every three years Matt feels this topic is relevant and he is passionate about helping transgender rights move forward.
Get In Touch With Matt
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About Gina Battye
Described as “Britain’s equivalent to Oprah Winfrey”, Gina Battye is one of the world’s hottest rising stars.
Gina has a special ability to help those who are ‘lost’ find their way home.
Gina is the leading voice for LGBT self help. She is the creator of The Soul Work, TV show host, author, columnist for Curve and Diva and an internationally sought after & award-winning coach & speaker.