North End teen's battle for his own body: ‘I just want to be seen as Charlie’

Charlie Beech has wanted gender treatment since the age of about 13. He was in year nine, uncomfortable in his female body, knowing that this was not him and that his mind didn’t align with the body he lived in.

By Hollie Busby
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:10 pm

So Charlie took to the web, scrolling, searching, clicking, to garner results for testosterone therapy, realising this was ‘exactly’ what he wanted.

And when a friend pointed out that top surgery – a procedure to remove breast tissue – was an option, it sounded ‘perfect’.

However, it’s been five years and Charlie, now 18, is still waiting for the treatment that can help give him his life back as a trans man.

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Charlie Beech has been waiting 3 years to discuss their treatment options with the NHS and next Firday, will have their opportunity. A Go Fund Me page has been set up as a back up to help finance the treatment privately if the NHS decline to proceed. The lengthy wait time has caused many issues which Charlie hopes wont happen to others in a similar position. Pictured - Charlie Beech will soon find out if the treatment will be offered through the NHS. Photos by Alex Shute

Charlie says more needs to be done to help trans people transition, without the stacks of paperwork and evidence needed to provide to health professionals.

He says: ‘I just want to finally be comfortable in my own body.

‘To be able to go out and not worry about what people think, like being called miss or anything like that. For me it was finally living in the body that my mind can relate to. They're separate for me.’

Charlie contacted his GP to discuss the male transitioning therapy. But three years later, progress was as stale as when it first started, so he took it into his own hands.

Charlie Beech has been waiting 3 years to discuss their treatment options with the NHS and next Firday, will have their opportunity. A Go Fund Me page has been set up as a back up to help finance the treatment privately if the NHS decline to proceed. The lengthy wait time has caused many issues which Charlie hopes wont happen to others in a similar position. Pictured - Charlie Beech will soon find out if the treatment will be offered through the NHS. Photos by Alex Shute

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‘My GP set me up with a place in London ‘ explains Charlie, from North End.

‘But it's been three years and I haven't heard a single thing.

‘I decided to finally take it into my own hands. I got in contact with a gender place who help you with your transition and surgery or testosterone – or whatever you want.

‘You would have to pay for it but I thought that this was such a quicker route.

‘At the end of the day, I know I can get what I want within this year rather than waiting even longer. I thought I'm going to do it. It's my time now.’

Luckily, Charlie does have a step forward to achieving the body he wants.

The Portsmouth City College pupil has an appraisal for Hampstead gender clinic in London which is the oldest and largest gender clinic in the UK.

However, this doesn’t stop him from wanting to address the issues on lack of education for people in understanding the battles Charlie, and others like him have to face on a regular basis.

It’s not just treatment, it’s making trans people and LGBTQ+ members of the community feel accepted for who they are.

Growing up, Charlie experienced what it was like to be trans from a young age and it wasn’t an easy ride.

At school, Charlie often found himself struggling to fit in.

His peers ‘belittled’ him as he came to terms with his identity, changing his hair, binding his chest and being who we knew he was.

But with that came the insults, torment and name-calling, from peers who just didn’t really understand. ‘I always had quite a hard time at school,’ he says.

‘I didn't really fit in with the popular girls. They'd always find a way to belittle me.

‘There would always be intrusive questions about my body. I would get into arguments and fights with people and they would call me a tranny or a f**. It's never really affected me but the fact is that they don't see me as a guy. I don't want to ever be seen as Charlie the trans guy. I just want to be Charlie.’

Suppressing Charlie from a right which he says everybody should have if they want it – pushed him to breaking point.

The NHS waiting list seemed endless.

Charlie explains: ‘It's really painful because you have to keep lying to yourself about this whole thing saying that it will happen one day, but that's the thing, one day. I don't know when that day will be.

‘I don't know how long I'll have to keep binding for and hurting myself because of that and how long I'll have to try and present myself the best I can when I’m really not feeling it, especially with my gender dysphoria – I’m constantly feeling awful and it's affecting my mental health even more.

‘It's really painful because I know I'm not the only person and I think that all trans people need to be heard more, especially by people in the government and your every day people because it's a real struggle. ‘It really hurts. Even though my friends do see it, my mind believes that people will not see me as I am.

‘People mixing up my pronouns or someone saying my birth name is the worst thing ever especially if I'm in a group of people I know. It's so horrible and it makes me feel kind of sick.’

Since coming to college, Charlie noticed peers are more accepting of who he is.

The slurs stopped and Charlie says he is open to educating people on what it’s like to be queer if there’s something they don’t understand.

He’s more comfortable in his skin now but that doesn’t mean he’ll give up his fight for gender therapy, speaking out on the difficulties obtaining it.

‘I’m frustrated,’ he says.

‘The government need proof that you’ve been living as a trans person for two or three years and you have to have proof from people in your life.

‘You need documentation or doctors visits that you are that person. To me this is incredibly stupid. I don't know why I have to prove to you that I'm feeling this way when I've gone through all of this to get to this one place.

‘I shouldn't have to prove to anyone who I am.

‘It's a heart-breaking thing to go through. It’s impacting my life more than anything I have to wait years for this treatment. I don't understand why there aren't more resources for trans people.

‘The waiting list is so long and I feel like an object to them. I'm not seen as a person. They're just like, “here's this little trans thing that wants all this done”.

‘But I'm a person with a real genuine need.’

Charlie lives with gender dysphoria, which leaves him with discomfort or distress that comes with identifying differently from their sex assigned at birth.

Since deciding to go private with his treatment, he has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise cash for starting the process of top surgery and testosterone.

On thinking about how it will feel when Charlie finally receives the treatment, he says: ‘It’s probably going to be the most life-changing thing.

‘Even when I was a kid, thinking that I could get all all this done, thinking that I can finally be myself was such a comforting thing to think about.

‘I won’t have to worry about what people say and I can look in the mirror and see who I really am and be happy with that and not have to worry.

‘I won’t have to lower my voice on purpose. For people to use the right pronouns when I’m out is the most brilliant thing to me.’

Charlie is still desperate for government to take trans people more seriously, so that the provision of LGBTQ+ learning resources are more readily available in schools so trans children don’t feel neglected.

‘I know my mind and I know how painful it is for all those trans children to not be heard or be given what they want,’ he says.

‘It's a human right to be treated the way you see yourself. I think people need to start recognising that and allowing children, teenagers and adults to finally just be who they are.’