Words: Steve Brown
A non-binary teenager has won the top prize in a national creative writing competition aimed at creating better support for vulnerable older children.
Jamie Moody, 16, was inspired by their own struggles with gender identity, who began identifying as non-binary when they were 13.
Jamie’s story, ‘My Name is Connor Mayhew and I Am a Man’, was the joint winner in the 16-25 category of The Children’s Society’s Seriously Awkward campaign, and was inspired by how toxic masculine stereotypes make it difficult for boys to come out.
Jamie said: “I’ve always wanted to write stories like this and help put more of a spotlight on this issue but I never thought I could, so I was surprised and excited to win.
“I never felt I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, or thought, ‘that is for boys’ and I’d never really been into feminine things.
“But a lot of other young people didn’t understand when I came out and there were slurs, name-calling and insensitive questions.
“I didn’t go through domestic violence like Connor, but it can be dangerous if you question your gender and do not have open-minded parents.
“I’ve heard of people facing emotional and physical abuse and trying to arrange housing in case things turn really nasty.
“A lot of support comes from the community, but I do think there is support needed from statutory services, with more specialist staff trained to understand these issues.
“It’s really vital for young people to get the support they need because without it there can be a big long-term impact.”
The winning stories can be read here.