Trans teen has been documenting his journey since age 9: ‘What we are creating is helping so many’

Trans teen Kai wears a white shirt and tan coloured jacket as he is interviewed for a film project by Fox Fisher and My Genderation

A trans teen who’s documented his transition in a 10-year film project hopes to start a “fresh chapter” now that he’s turned 18.

Kai was just nine when he first came out as trans.

Shortly afterwards, he and his mum began documenting his journey with activist and filmmaker Fox Fisher and their My Genderation project. After releasing a number of short videos to YouTube over the years, this year will see the completion of a long-form film, Life of Kai.

The 10-year project has been a “life-changing experience” for Kai.

“Having the opportunity to document and reflect on my journey throughout the years, while also knowing that my story has helped people over the years, fills me with joy,” Kai tells PinkNews.

“Also knowing that what we are creating is helping so many people makes me even more grateful for the whole project.”

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In the film, Kai discusses the power of having access to puberty blockers, how love and support from his mum bolstered him and what it’s like to be a trans person growing up in a time when the UK media and government are increasingly hostile towards the community.

He also touches on his struggles with dysphoria.

“Growing up, I struggled with my body, feeling distressed and disconnected from it,” Kai says.

He has been wearing binders for years, which “provided some relief” as he faced down a long road to access gender-affirming healthcare in the UK.

But Kai feels he’s lived with the “physical discomfort and limitations they impose” for too long, and now that he’s 18 he’s pursuing top surgery.

“Top surgery has always been an essential step in my journey,” Kai says.

Trans teen Kai wears a white shirt and tan coloured jacket as he is interviewed for a film project by Fox Fisher and My Genderation
Kai wants to start a “fresh new chapter” in his life by getting top surgery in Turkey. (Youtube/My Genderation)

“From a kid, I hated looking down at my body. I started puberty very young, and I knew something was not right. 

“Not wanting to get dressed, have a shower, telling my mum at the age of 10 that I wanted to cut off my chest growth because I knew it didn’t belong. It was hard.”

In the UK, top surgery is made available to adults on the NHS through referral from a gender identity clinic, but waiting lists span years.

Having the procedure would open new possibilities for Kai, and he’s excited to start this “fresh new chapter” in his life where he can finally feel “free to not hide [himself] away”. 

“I just can’t wait to never have to bind again to be able to start the gym or just walk free on the beach,” he says.

“Top surgery would not only alleviate this pain but also mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life, giving me more confidence.”

Faced with NHS wait lists, Kai and his mum created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his surgery. They’ve raised half of their £9,000 goal – his mum has promised to shave her head if they hit the target.

Kai hopes that LGBTQ+ people, especially trans folk, who watch his film “experience a sense of hope and happiness”.

“The message to take away is that, despite the numerous challenges, the support of just one person can be enough to overcome any obstacles,” he says.

“My mum has been an amazing support over the years.”

To him, trans joy is the “overwhelming sense of unity and celebration we experience in our community”, especially at events like Trans Pride. 

“It’s the freedom to be ourselves without fear of judgement, knowing that we are surrounded by people who understand and support each other’s journeys, whatever that might be,” Kai says.

Trans lives are under attack

Transphobic hate crimes have surged across the UK in recent years, and it’s coincided with a rise in articles centring on the so-called ‘debate’ on the lives of trans people started in the media. 

The murder of Brianna Ghey, who was stabbed to death in a Warrington park, rocked the LGBTQ+ community in February. Mourners at vigils for the trans teen warned the UK is a “dangerous” place to be trans as the country heads towards a “crisis point”. 

Just days after Ghey’s death, Conservative party deputy chairman Lee Anderson argued the Tories should fight the next election on ‘culture wars and trans debate’

Prime minister Rishi Sunak denied that trans women are women during the 2022 leadership race, following Boris Johnson’s departure from Downing Street. He’s also toxically talked about “biological sex”, trans rights and penises as his government has moved towards banning trans people from same-sex spaces.