Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. A day where we celebrate and acknowledge the lives and contributions of members of the trans community. This year, we are proud to profile some of our members and share what Transgender Day of Visibility means to them.
DS Christian Owens – Merseyside Police
I have 26 years policing experience. I have been a Detective since 2006, specialising in PVP and I am currently posted to the Community Engagement Unit, but more importantly, I have become ‘me’. A visible and very proud trans man, who is driving positive change to improve the future for others.
I started my career in October 1994, as a 23 year old female police constable. In 2012, I made the biggest decision of my life and embarked on my journey of transition that would finally enable me to live my life truly as me – Christian Owens – a man.
In 2009, I had started to socially transition in my private life, dressing and identifying as a man behind closed doors and publicly on the few occasions when I felt strong enough.
I was leading a double life. A man at home and a woman at work. I was racing home because I was desperate to be me. Then, on 10th December 2012, having started my medical transition 8 weeks earlier, I walked through the doors of Merseyside Police HQ for the first time as DS Christian Owens. It felt liberating to finally be me, but extremely scary. I was scared of being misgendered, not being acknowledged as a man, of being bullied and isolated and losing my friends and colleagues. I got stared at, looked at strangely in the toilets, male colleagues would often awkwardly leave the toilets when I entered, refusing to use them. I heard ignorant comments, such as “I don’t get it” and “is that a man or a woman” and people did fail to challenge at the times that I really needed them to.
But what really matters is what we, as an organisation, have done since that time and how I have grown as a person. I am proud to say that we have progressed, improved and made important changes. Chief Officers are visible and want to raise the levels of knowledge and understanding, in order to empathise and fully support. But this is just the beginning and there is a long way to go. It is so important that we continue the momentum, encourage learning and awareness and listen to lived experiences like mine.
I now provide educational inputs across law enforcement and external organisations, as a visible officer and transgender speaker, to raise awareness of my personal journey of discovery. I live my life to the full and I’m grateful for every single day and it gives me an enormous amount of pleasure and satisfaction to now be a role model for others.
What does TDOV mean to me? Transgender visibility inspires people and gives them hope and strength to be who they really are! Everyone deserves to embrace the power within their true authentic self, live their legacy and love their life. And it makes me proud to be able to inspire others to do this by being visible and out as a very proud and happy gay trans man!