Elliot Page: How London trans woman is helping UK people to transition


Following on from the support shown to US actor Elliot Page after his transition, a 28-year-old British trans woman has revealed how her own difficult transition inspired her to create a platform for discovering pro-trans and non-binary supportive businesses across the world.

Morgan, from Walthamstow in London, created TransFriendly after transitioning in December of last year: “While I knew since I was young that something wasn’t connecting with my identity, it wasn’t until the first lockdown when I realised who I wanted to be.

“I went through my teenage years not being happy in relationships, knowing deep down what I wanted but suppressing it. Like a lot of people, I was given a lot of time to think in lockdown and something just clicked for me.”

While Morgan was finally ready to transition, the urgency couldn’t have come at a more difficult time: “I first looked at what it meant to transition around May/June time. To my disappointment, the state of transitioning in the UK is abysmal – it takes around 3-5 years to speak to someone and the whole process is horrifically underfunded.

“I decided to get everything done privately – soon finding out that pretty much everything you need to transition you can go out and find yourself. The drawback comes in finding businesses that will help you.”

Celebrities like Elliot Page over in the US have been welcomed with their transition, with consultations much quicker across the pond as Morgan explains: “Over in America, as long as you have healthcare and live in an accepting state, you’re actually going to be seen very quickly. Here in the UK, a lot of the private options still have very considerable waitlists due to lack of provision.”

Morgan found many aspects of transitioning difficult due to not knowing how to find pro-trans and non-binary supporting establishments.

“Everything from finding that first hairdresser to getting laser hair removal is really difficult. For the latter, I emailed 30 places – getting two responses. Even getting my ears pierced meant going to a pricey national chain to ensure you’re not being discriminated against.

“It feels like a rejection of who you are, and the whole process is made even tougher with the fact that the part where you’re most likely to be discriminated against is at the beginning of your transition. I’ve been screamed at on the street, one time in central London where a guy on a bike decided to shout, ‘That’s not a woman!'”

With this difficulty, Morgan saw fit to create a platform where other trans individuals and non-binary people could avoid the difficulty she faced and easily find businesses that would be willing to help them.

“I’m not the kind of person to sign a petition and while I believe activism can be very powerful, it’s not the approach we take at TransFriendly. Our approach is to work with and educate businesses and connect them to trans people in order to make a lasting change,” she said, “I believe what we need are partnerships – that’s what creates change. Our platform makes finding businesses easy, not only in an online space but in a physical one too. Businesses that are partnered with us will have a window sticker so that you know that it’s pro-trans.

“All of the businesses on our site are genuinely trans-friendly and pro-non-binary – we make sure of that.”

More than 1000 business have already signed up to the social enterprise platform since it began on the 1st of May, with partners from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and more joining up.

“All the money comes from businesses listing with us, but we never charge trans people or businesses to be partners,” Morgan said, “We’re not the new Yellow Pages, we’re just trying to make it easier for people to accept their gender identity and have an easier time transitioning into it.”