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Aaren Gielty

Academy student raises awareness for gender dysphoria

Hanham Woods Academy student picks up BBC Radio One award after speaking about his gender mismatch

Posted by Stephanie Broad | November 14, 2015 | School life

Hanham Woods Academy student Aaren Gielty has been very courageous in speaking out about the mismatch between his biological sex and gender identity - so much so that he was nominated by Radio 1 listeners for their outstanding achievements. In total, three Teen Heroes of 2015 were selected by a panel of judges consisting of Radio 1 DJs and previous Teen Hero winners. Aaren collected his award at Radio 1’s Teen Awards.

Radio 1’s Teen Awards is one of the biggest events in the pop music calendar, with the line-up for this year’s event featuring spectacular performances from top music acts Little Mix, Nick Jonas, 5 Seconds of Summer, and All Time Low.

Aaren was born with gender dysphoria - suffering from depression and anxiety because of the difference between his male gender and biological female sex. He had the courage to explain his situation to his academy counsellor and, when he turned 16 on 1 March this year, his dad sent a text around the family asking for them all to treat Aaren as a boy.

Because of Aaren's courage in explaining and publicly coming out about how he felt, another younger pupil at his academy can now use the toilets and changing facilities of the opposite sex, and change their identity on the school register and exam papers. 

Staff at Hanham woods Academy have also received LGBT training. Aaren hopes other schools in his area will soon do the same. Aaren also uses social media as a way of communicating his feelings and situation to his friends, talking about the issues he faces on YouTube.

Radio 1’s Scott Mills says: “Aaren’s is an incredible story that we haven’t really touched upon before on Radio 1.”

Duncan Mathers, Academy Councillor, said: “The personal courage and determination Arran has shown ‘to be who he is’ is remarkable. This has enabled other young people to take steps, however small, towards achieving their own identity. He is a great role model and a caring young man.”

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