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Ireland’s transgender children: How ‘Becoming Julie’ author Julie Clarke emerged from childhood

Julie Clarke: “After 40 years of turmoil I’m happy, confident, optimistic and ambitious”

“I grew up in the small town of Callander, in central Scotland. I was aware of being the black sheep of my siblings from as young as four. My siblings sensed my difference, too, as did Mum and Dad. But they couldn’t or wouldn’t face up to it, so it was taboo, never to be talked about.

“In the same sense, going to school became a carbon copy of my home. My classmates could see I was different. Some of my primary teachers developed a different way of dealing with a wee boy who was showing more female tendencies: they embarked on a campaign that would see them bully and victimise me by treating me like a freak.

“I felt completely isolated. I knew from bitter experience that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, as I knew there would be no sympathy from anyone.

“I really don’t like the term ‘coming out’. I was coming out most of my life, as people speculated about me. As the years went on it became more obvious what direction I was going to point, so that it was no longer a secret. I’ve been living as a woman since 2004. I live on the Isle of Coll and work for Calmac Ferries. After 40 years of turmoil I’m happy, confident, optimistic and ambitious. I’m a published author and have two more books planned. It can be done, even with huge odds stacked against you.

“My parents are happy that I’m happy, and three of my four siblings accept me wholeheartedly and without question as their sister. The icing on the cake would be Mr Right: I’m sure he will come into my life just when I’m not expecting it.”

Becoming Julie, by Julie Clarke, is published by Fledgling Press; it is available on Amazon