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Loosing ten years of my life

By E-J Scott

Loosing ten years of my life

PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com

I like being able to just get on with my life - having a partner, having a job, doing my study, getting a First at university, and being at the museum. That’s all I want to do.

I want a nice career in the museum sector and I want to do my PhD and just be an academic, a design historian, a creative and skilled curator. I don’t want trans to be much a part of that, but I don’t deny that I’m trans. The example I try and set – maybe it’s to myself as much as to anyone else – is that I’m an out functioning trans man who contributes to the important process of broader society learning more about itself through critical social analysis, understanding ourselves through historical investigations, or creatively through curatorial work.

My trans experiences have informed both who I am and my practice and there’s no escaping that. I’m not sure that being trans actually defines me though. I don’t like to think about it that often, I’ve spent too long already, wasted too much of my time, thinking about being trans, what it means, what it might mean. I like to just get on with my job. I don’t need it to be the centre of my life.

The Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is an extraordinary place with an incredible collection and extremely informed staff. The place itself is going through so many difficulties because of the cuts in funding. I’ve been given an awful lot of training, and an awful lot of access to handling objects and my curator allows me to be part of the real workings of the museum. It’s really important to me. I conduct a lot of investigations into local history, because I’m particularly interested in the history of Brighton. Not only as a queer space – I’m a dress historian, so it’s always been a fashionable destination outside of London. It’s where Beau Brummell – the world’s first dandy who set trends here in England and in Paris at the height of the Regency era - partied with King George IV in the architecturally bizarre Pavilion George had just built.

Brighton has an extraordinary history and we all fit into that. It’s changed my life, and because I’m so committed to the arts sector and the museum sector I’ve taken every opportunity that’s been given to me here with great gusto and then hopefully given back to Brighton with the work that comes out of it. I’ve won grants, I’ve won scholarships, I’ve done all of this, I would say, because of losing ten years of my life to my trans experience. That’s what’s behind the enthusiasm and passion I’ve brought to my study at Brighton University.

I am gung-ho and drive myself really, really hard because having been trans not only interrupted my life it nearly took it from me. I am determined to achieve the very best I can no matter what. I will not let this life beat me again.


This is E-J's testimony in Chapter Nine (Hope, generational differences, fulfillment, work, creativity) of the ground-breaking Brighton Trans*formed book.

To read more intimate, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from transgender people, click here.

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This page was amended on 19/12/2014
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