Dagenham’s Kirone goes from little girl to big man
PUBLISHED: 13:37 28 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:37 28 September 2015
A man who was born a woman and was forced to endure years of bullying now hopes to teach schoolchildren about transgender people.
Kirone McCaffrey, 26, said he always knew he was different before eventually undergoing gender re-assignment surgery – but wishes he’d had more support and understanding.
“I would always hang around with the boys, so it was clear I wasn’t like most girls,” he said.
“But I got constant abuse – we had to move out of one area because I was picked on so much. I have been beaten up a good few times, had my car windows smashed.
“It was hard enough growing up with confusing thoughts in my head, and I didn’t even know what being transgender was until I was 14 – I just wish it was more out in the open.”
Kirone, who lives in Becontree, would now love to pass on what he has learned.
“If I did a workshop at a school, I could help people,” he said. “It makes your life hell when you go through it alone.
“It’s very stressful and depressing not having the body you feel you have. It’s like you don’t own your own body.”
The warehouse worker, who was born Kiri, said he was lucky to have family support growing up – and was even aided financially by an ex to get breast reduction treatment.
“Not long ago I met my grandparents for the first time in 19 years,” he said. “They were shocked, but very supportive.”
Kirone has encountered many people who are similarly understanding – but it isn’t always so easy.
“Some people really don’t understand,” he said. “And I don’t blame them – i’s a lot to take in. But it’s even harder actually going through it yourself.
“Overall, things are improving. It’s much more out there in the media nowadays.”
On his recent first holiday in 14 years, Kirone felt liberated to take his shirt off.
“Nobody questioned me,” he said. “Considering once I wouldn’t even leave the house alone, this felt great. Miles Berry, my plastic surgeon, did a really great job with my breast reduction.
“I’m so happy and confident now. But it was painful. And after I had my phalloplasty, it was strange wearing jeans. I used to sit down without remembering – big mistake.”
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