Jessica Lynn- Presentation to Y13-Limitless Learning

A video presentation and question and answer session hosted by Mr Rogoff and Mrs Spicer

On Wednesday the 6th of May at 3:00 PM we were privileged to be able to host Jessica Lynn a transgendered female originally from The USA and now currently based in the United Kingdom. Jessica speaks on her own behalf as an advocate for transgender rights and works with Stonewall a charity based in the UK which focuses on the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This event was one of many to feature as part of the Year 13 Limitless Learning programme at Northwood College for Girls.

She gave a fascinating and engrossing presentation about her life story, coming out, and then transitioning.  Jessica was very open about the trials and challenges that she has faced in her life including legal battles for the control of her children including her youngest child where we learned that a court in the United States ruled against Jessica ever having contact with him again on account of her transgender status.

We learned that Jessica has spoken in over 28 countries and until the lockdown would normally be flying between destinations as part of her speaking tours on around 160 different days of a typical year.

Jessica talked about how her parents tried to involve her in activities traditionally regarded as suitable for boys such as playing football and they discouraged her friendships with other girls which she really enjoyed from an early age. This got everyone thinking about the idea of nature versus nurture and the idea that people thought and many still do that you can raise children to act like a boy or a girl by engaging them with boy or girl friendly activities, toys and pursuits. However, we learned that this approach increased the psychological burden experienced by young people who did not identify with a gender which they were born with.

During her youth we learned that Jessica took up activities such as art and football which served as displacement activities to distract her from her real and growing desire to transition to a woman.

She talked to us about lots of setbacks that she encountered, Including the tragic loss of life of her close partner who was one of the first people to accept her desire to transition.

Jessica has encountered legal challenges in which a judge ruled against her having any further contact with her youngest son on account of her transgender status, despite her being a caring and loving parent. This might seem unthinkable to us in the United Kingdom, but we should not forget that many countries and areas remain prejudiced and ignorant towards transgender issues and rights.

In the follow up question and answer session one of the questions was what advice Jessica would give to any student dealing with the issue of trans gender identity and of coming out and Jessica’s advice was that hopefully students could discuss this matter with their parents and she seemed to think that in about half of cases this is what tended to happen. However, some students would not feel able to be able to do this, which Jessica acknowledged and so she said it would be important to look to the peer group and possibly a school counsellor or psychologist in order to open up and be able to share ones thoughts and feelings.

We were very grateful for her being able to give her time as she did and wish her every success with have advocacy work.

Mr Rogoff and Mrs Spicer

Assistant Directors of Sixth Form