By Sharon Wilson, NCTJ Journalism student – Darlington College

Ellie Lowther founder of Trans Aware and Essential Learning Curve delivered an inspirational training session for Health and Social Care and Childcare Students in the Gateway area of the college on Wednesday 6th. Using a mixture of personal history and music Ellie entertained, educated and sparked vibrant discussion amongst students.

“What does a trans person look like?” She asked. The answer: anyone because being trans gender is not about the clothes we choose to wear or the accessories we use but about the person inside.

Ellie Lowther

A trans person (someone whose gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth) may not dress differently or ‘cross dress’ but may simply just not feel right in their body. Students may find children or future clients describe themselves this way long before they access any therapies or hormone treatments. It’s vital not to ignore someone who claims a different gender identity, she says.

Ellie bravely shared her personal history describing her life before therapy as “Like trying to make a cake in oven gloves – you make an awful mess.” She laughed.

For Ellie this mess included dropping out of secondary school, using drugs, failing at married life and suffering from mental illnesses. Help finally came for Ellie in the form of talking therapies which helped her to accept she was indeed on the Transgender Spectrum. It was at this point that life changed for Ellie. As she says, “Once you know yourself you cannot unknow yourself.”

Despite rejection from some of her family and her church, Ellie found her way to her true gender and happiness, especially as Nan Nan to granddaughter Lily Rose. She now delivers bespoke sessions on trans gender awareness around the country and was nominated for a National Diversity Award in 2019. But it is the satisfaction of helping young people who seek her out after her sessions which drives Ellie on.

“I think the workshops are brilliant,” said Elisha Farrell who is training to be a teaching assistant, “I think it is absolutely fantastic that you have come in.”

“I think it’s informative” said Kaye Jagodzinski, “Some people may not have even thought of the issue.” Kaye is studying at Level 3 for her teaching assistant’s qualification.

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