Lauren Harries describes her own battle to be accepted as a transgender woman after Caitlyn Jenner's moving speech

'Being born in the wrong body is like being trapped in a burning building'

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The Independent Online

Lauren Harries described her own battle to be accepted as a transgender woman after the former Olympian athlete Caitlyn Jenner gave an inspiring speech vowing to fight for trans rights.

Harries appeared on numerous television shows as a child and had gender reassignment surgery to become a woman in 2004.

"Being born in the wrong body is like being trapped in a burning building, you get out or die," she told Sky News.

"I was suicidal and couldn't wait the six years until the NHS deemed me eligible for gender reassignment operation. I raised the £12,000 and had the operation when I was 22.”

Harries said she raised some of this money by hiring the now disgraced PR guru Max Clifford to publicise her story. But after going public she was verbally abused on the street and called abusive names by passersby.

"We would also have bricks thrown through our windows, some had notes with diabolical messages attached,” she said.

Jenner has propelled the issue of trans rights into the forefront of the public consciousness after unveiling her new identity on the cover of Vanity Fair. Her transition has been supported and praised by thousands across the world, marking an important moment in the transgender battle for acceptance.

Harries credited figures such as Oscar Wilde and the MP Leo Abse for fighting to decriminalise same-sex relationships, but said she believed trans people would have to wait years before being fully accepted in society.

"As a result now gay people are accepted," she said. "I believe it will take many many more years for people, especially heterosexual men to accept female transgenders."

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