Transgender women speak about Toon life

Friends Brooke and Justine take a selfie
Friends Brooke and Justine take a selfie

Two transgender women have spoken about their experiences living in the Blue Toon in the wake of recent newspaper publications.

Brooke Olsen and Justine Smithies have given their thoughts on what it’s like to live in Peterhead as transgender women after certain newspaper articles painted the Toon in a transphobic light.

Brooke, who plans to move to Brighton at the end of 2016, said: “What they have said is true and the experiences they have said is true but they’re focusing too much on the negative I think.

“They’re making it out like everyone is out with pitchforks chasing the ogre but it’s not like that.”

Brooke, who starred in a BBC 3 documentary , said she does suffer abuse on the streets of Peterhead but that she also gets a lot of support too.

She said: “It’s because I’m out there a little bit more, when I’m out clubbing that’s when the abuse kicks in, when guys have a drink in them, although it has happened during the day before.

“I said when I did the TV show that it’s 50 per cent - I get a lot of hate but I get a lot of support too.”

Justine, who was invited to be a keynote speaker by Stonewall, a national LGBT rights charity last December, says she has a very positive experience of living in Peterhead.

She said: “I’ve not had an issue, I’ve made more friends now than I’ve ever had”

She added: “If I had to do it again then I would do it here rather than the bigger cities.”

Justine thinks that people just need a bit of education about things they might not understand.

She said: “You can be black, white, thin or fat people are going to say stuff to hurt you.”

Justine, who has set up the website justbeyourself.org.uk for LGBT people in Aberdeenshire, said that from her work aboard the fishing boats to the older religious groups in Peterhead she has found it a welcoming experience.