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Ordinary people living extraordinary lives: Kate Hutchinson

Alison Laycock

We introduced a new section in March as a way of highlighting the ordinary people in our communities who live extraordinary lives or have extraordinary stories from the past. We are continuing this series with an interview from when I sat down with Kate Hutchinson on Monday 11th June 2018.

I feel lucky to have seen Kate delivering some amazing workshops to students through her role as Regional Officer at Diversity Role Models. She also delivers training sessions to teachers, NHS health professionals and also campaigns for Trans Rights. Her desire to have a positive impact on others is certainly inspiring.

Read on to learn more about Kate.

AL: There are a lot of people out there living extraordinary lives without others knowing them or their stories. Do you agree that you belong in this category?

KH: Previously, I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues due to a lot of things in my life but especially due to being trans and hiding that. I never felt like I was reaching my full potential but now my life has changed. I don’t think I do anything extraordinary, however I am now doing more work that I enjoy and which I hope is helping others.

AL: How would you describe yourself personally and professionally?

KH: Personally, I think I have more confidence than I used to but I’m also aware that I can appear more confident than I actually am at times. I love my life. I try to be open, compassionate and mindful. I enjoy a wide variety of interests, but being in the company of good friends and good music is where I’m happiest.

Professionally, I love the work I am now doing and am confident in what I do. I believe I’ve been called to do this work although I would never have thought this would be the kind of work I would end up doing. When I was in school, I was told I was suited to teaching which was furthest from my mind, however I am now educating young people and adults. As a musician, I’ve found that public speaking is similar to performing and I find that my nerves will disappear whilst on stage in whichever role I’m doing.

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AL: What’s a typical day for you, if there is one?

KH: No, there isn’t a typical day due to all the different roles I have. Flexibility is key to each of those roles and I enjoy that aspect of my work as well as the challenge it offers. I’m now more confident in that side of things and when I am faced with something new, I approach it with the attitude of ‘OK so what can I do with this?’ My day could consist of delivering workshops in schools to students or teachers for my work as Regional Officer for Diversity Role Models, training healthcare professionals for the NHS in South Wales to know how best to help transgender patients or perhaps working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people in one of my other charity roles. My voluntary roles also offer a wide range of work such as being a committee member of ‘Schools Out’ who originated LGBT History month in the UK, which meant I was busy delivering speeches around the country in February. I also work with ‘All About Trans’, an organisation working with different media organisations to try to improve fair representation of trans people in the media. I’m also Director of ‘Wipe Out Transphobia’ which is a Not-For-Profit organisation aiming to increase transgender awareness. For ‘Pride Cymru’, I volunteer as their trans community outreach officer and am helping to ensure the community are well represented for this year’s Pride event in Cardiff on 24th, 25th and 26th August.


AL: Out of all your achievements, what are you most proud of?

KH: I’m proud I finally embraced the authentic me and stopped being afraid. This happened when I was really ill in hospital and I thought to myself ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen to me in life? Well, I could die and no-one would see the real me.’ That was the moment I decided to live authentically and my anxiety gradually fell away.

AL: What are you currently involved in?

KH: Currently, there is my work as Regional Officer with Diversity Role Models, a charity whose main aim is to prevent homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. This is done through educating students and teachers to celebrate the differences between us all rather than persecute people for being different. It’s our diversity that makes the world go round. Through the volunteer role models going into school and talking about their lived experiences as part of the LGBT community or as allies, the students and teachers get to hear real stories which has a greater impact than simply telling the stories. I was a volunteer with Diversity Role models for 2 years before applying for this post and I love my work especially now being visible as a LGBT person within schools when I felt I had to hide that part of myself as a student in school.

My voluntary work for Pride Cymru is important at the moment as we are planning for this year’s event on the 24th, 25th and 26th August in Cardiff. Last year, it was attended by around 40,000 people and we are hoping this year will be even bigger. This year we are looking for Pride support for trans people in line with the consultation regarding reforms for the Gender Recognition Act. Reforms that may simplify the process for transgender people to have their identity recognised legally. As Pride started as a political movement, we are aiming to stay true to that with how we mark Pride Cymru this year. We are therefore encouraging people to bring the trans flag as well as the rainbow flag to show their support for trans people. Our campaign hashtag for this year is #proudtobeme.