Local trans people have discussed the importance of local Pride events and shared their  experiences of coming out.

Everyone’s experiences of coming out and living as a trans person are uniquely different, and is dependent of multiple factors, such as where they live, who they have around them, how old they are and when it was that they came out.

Lorelei, 26, is from Bolton.

A radio personality at Bolton FM and other stations across the North West, Lorelei initially came out as a gay man at 18, before later coming out as a trans woman a couple of years later.

She said: “I knew something was up before that though. As a kid I identified with female characters in comics and games. I knew when I was five or six.”

The Bolton News: LoreleiLorelei

Lorelei, who has been on a waiting list for gender reassignment surgery for seven years due to the 'underfunded and understaffed' gender identity services in NHS, had mixed reactions when she broke the news.

“The few friends I had couldn’t care less. Some friends at university alienated me, though.

“Mum was fine. Dad took some time out to think for a couple of hours, and we didn’t know what was going through his mind.”

Their relationship is okay now, although he ‘dead-names’ her from time-to-time – the term used when someone uses a trans person’s former identity.

“People shout at me in the street,” she said, “I’ve been assaulted more than once and attempted assault a few times. I’ve had to defend myself.

“Bolton is not a very friendly place at times.”

She added: “General attitudes are getting worse, and the current government is definitely to blame. Even look at the two leadership candidates and the anti-trans rhetoric they’re using.”

Pauline Smith, aged 74, had a much different path to coming out that Lorelei.

Born in Manchester, she also says she knew since a young age, but did not come out until she was 49 and living in the Netherlands.

She says she was lucky in a lot of ways, as the Netherlands have much more liberal views towards LGBTQ+ people.

The Bolton News: Pauline SmithPauline Smith

She said: “Growing up in Manchester in the 50s and 60s, being LGBTQ+ was regarded as a mental illness. I grew up as a boy and went to an all-boys school so there was nobody I could go and ask questions to. Not teachers, not parents, not your friends.

“If you said to your friends ‘I like wearing girls’ clothes, they’d think you’re mad.”

Although she has experienced hate crime, she says it has not happened in 'five or six years'.

She said: “As you become older you become more invisible. Especially as a woman.”

With Bolton Pride this upcoming weekend, both Pauline and Lorelei stressed the importance of local events like this.

Pauline moved back to Greater Manchester 14 years ago, and now resides in Bury. She said: “Local Prides enables people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum to have at least one day when you can be yourself and be accepted as who you are.

“What I like is that they are small enough to that you can still see people. You can see families and there too, not just families with LGBTQ+ families either. They have a community feel.

“The key is that you’re part of a community. It is a day where you can go out and be yourself.

She added: “If you’re a teenager and you’re trying to figure out who you are and you see older people who are the same as you it shows you that you’re not alone.”

Lorelei said: “In my opinion Pride is still a protest and will continue to be so until we have equality. Not just for trans people, but for gay people, lesbian people, bisexual erasure is on the up. There is a massive lack of awareness.

“Pride is an opportunity to get those voices heard. It’s a change to make a stand and to educate.”