Stephanie Hirst says a doctor warned her she ‘wouldn’t have a successful life’ if she made the transition

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Stephanie Hirst has revealed a doctor warned her against transitioning from male to female when she was a teenager because it would affect her relationships and her ability to have a “successful life”.

The BBC Radio Leeds host, 47, who announced she was going to undergo a gender reassignment in 2014, told the Loose Women panel about the challenges she faced before she was given the chance to make the transition.

She claimed to have known from the age of three that she was in the wrong body, but it wasn’t until a teenager that she told a doctor about having sex reassignment surgery.

Revealing that the doctor had warned her not to go ahead because she would ‘lose family, friends and not have a successful life’, viewers realized Twitter to congratulate Barnsley-born Stephanie on continuing her transition decades later.

Stephanie (pictured) said her mum swept her desire to be a woman ‘under the rug’ and thought it would go away

Stephanie spoke candidly to the panel about her experience of wanting to change gender, while having no point of reference because the internet did not exist at the time.

Stephanie said: ‘I’ve known for at least three or four years because when you’re in school they put all the girls on one side of the class and all the boys on the other. I would just default and go sit with the girls.

“They were like ‘No, you belong there’ so they would do it again and my natural flaw was just to go sit with the girls.

“It became a bit of a problem and was reported to my mum, but there was no internet or referral points.

“I think the kids at school figured out I was different before I figured it out myself to be honest. I was quiet, small, very girlish, I liked Shakin’ Stevens. There were probably a lot of things. I’m still a Shakin’ fan.

“The children saw a vulnerability in me. I didn’t walk through the school gates with everyone, I stayed in the library reading books.

Stephanie Hirst (pictured) has revealed a doctor advised her not to transition from male to female during a panel discussion on ITV's Loose Women

Stephanie Hirst (pictured) has revealed a doctor advised her not to transition from male to female during a panel discussion on ITV’s Loose Women

“I saw something one day, and it was a little paragraph and it had the words ‘believe, achieve’.

‘I used to tell myself this all the time, ‘believe, achieve’, while tapping my forehead on believing and pointing at achieving.

‘It pushed me, it helped me, because I always wanted to be on the radio. I think radio is one of your first freedoms in life.

“When you get your first radio, you tune in and you can go anywhere.

“It’s like when you get your first bike, you go to the end of your street and then you get a little braver and go straight on. You feel like you’re on vacation.’

Stephanie admitted that it was difficult to discuss her gender identity with her mother because she did not understand her desire to be a woman.

Stephanie said: ‘I think she brushed it under the rug a bit, she just thought it would go away. I think a lot of moms did that because there was no information.

Stephanie said she had had suicidal thoughts before revealing her gender reassignment plans in 2014. Pictured: Stephanie (left) before transitioning with Stephen Nolan

Stephanie said she had had suicidal thoughts before revealing her gender reassignment plans in 2014. Pictured: Stephanie (left) before transitioning with Stephen Nolan

“The Internet, for good or bad, has changed a lot of things. It made us feel more connected and it sure did for me when I was growing up and had the internet.

Reflecting on her teenage years, she went on to say, “I remember I had just passed my driving test, you get some courage.

‘I went to see [the doctor] and I told him how I felt, he said something like “I strongly recommend that you don’t take this path in life”. You will lose your family, your friends and you will not have a successful life”.

“I remember getting back in my car and just crying. That’s when I went, “Well, radio, that’s it, because I’d worked at my local radio station since I was 12 making tea for the DJs.

“At this point I decided the radio and the music were the only things making it go away. That was the band-aid. I decided in my Vauxhall Nova in that parking lot, the radio is the thing which makes it disappear.

“I got into my career and had an amazing career, it was amazing.”

Stephanie explained that she decided to be open about her desire to be a woman in 2014 because living in the wrong body made her feel suicidal.

She said: “I got to a point where I couldn’t go on anymore and I was constantly thinking about it. I did the biggest breakfast show outside of London, a huge show with lots of people listening but I went to work every day feeling traumatised.

Stephanie (pictured) said her college friend Kate was the one who encouraged her to see the doctor again

Stephanie (pictured) said her college friend Kate was the one who encouraged her to see the doctor again

“I was on my way back and there would be a certain point on the M1 where the carriageway near my house is higher than the other carriageway. I’d like to turn my car into a booking centre, I’m not kidding, every day for more than a decade.

“I got to a point one day where literally one arm was pulling it the other way and the other was pulling it the other way. I ended up going out to lunch with a friend of mine Kate, who I told when I was 17 right after going to the doctor for the first time.

“She brought it up weirdly in conversation and we hadn’t talked about it in years. I told him “I just couldn’t live, I want to die, I can’t do this anymore, I’m living a lie. It’s not true”.

“But I have this amazing career, the radio station I worked for was pumping six figures into the bank and there’s an Aston Martin sitting in the driveway, all that trinket.

“But it’s not authenticity. We all have to be authentic and it was Kate who pushed me to go to the doctor.

“I went to the doctor and I guess in some ways I was very lucky because when I was seen by my gender identity clinic I was referred within about nine weeks. .

Stephanie (pictured second from right) told the Loose Women panel it only took nine weeks for a recommendation

Stephanie (pictured second from right) told the Loose Women panel it only took nine weeks for a recommendation

“Whereas now if you go to your doctor and are referred to a gender identity clinic, it’s between three and five years because the system just isn’t in place.

“Someone maybe looks up today and says ‘I feel like this’. Well trust me, if you think it will be okay, it really will be.

Sharing advice, Stephanie added: “You have to be authentic, you have to be ready to jump through hoops of fire. If you are going to go through something like this.

“It shouldn’t be automatically easy that you can all of a sudden decide that you’re changing your gender and instantly identify yourself.”

“But you know, get the right people, get the right help and the right professionals. Talk, talk to people. Psychotherapy worked wonders for me because it helped me make the right decision.

Panelist Janet Street-Porter asked if having money in the bank was helpful for her journey compared to those wanting to change gender on the NHS.

Stephanie replied, “I lost everything. Financially, there had been money coming in and I wasn’t crazy about it. I had always saved because I knew I was going to one day.

Stephanie (pictured) said she saved as much money as possible before having sex change surgery

Stephanie (pictured) said she saved as much money as possible before having sex change surgery

“I was trying to save as much as I could. I know people who have made the transition without having a lot of money in the bank or anything like that and they’ve done it wonderfully.

“The one thing I’ve tried not to do is be a victim. We should all be authentic, we should all be allowed to be our real authentic selves and get on with our lives.

‘Biology sometimes I see him, he gets a little drunk and puts things in the wrong order. My soul and brain formed the opposite of what I came out of.

Stephanie’s appearance on the panel left viewers emotional, with some calling for her to be a permanent addition.

One person wrote: ‘Big fan of @StephanieHirst. Wonderfully honest, accessible and clear. Great discussion on @LooseWomen for anyone who feels like they were born into the wrong body. So moving to hear him talk about his dark days and come out the other side.

Another said: “Stephanie is so engaging and speaks with incredible articulation. Maybe a potential new panelist? I wouldn’t be made for this #LooseWomen’

A third added: ‘@StephanieHirst loves your #LooseWomen interview. Such a brave person throughout your life and you look absolutely amazing’

A flood of viewers took to Twitter to praise Stephanie for sharing her experience and encouraging others who may be considering making the transition.

A flood of viewers took to Twitter to praise Stephanie for sharing her experience and encouraging others who may be considering making the transition.

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