Aged 7, I was a boy called James. At 39, I'm so glad I never got hormone pills

Aged 7, I was a boy called James. At 39, I'm so glad I never got hormone pills

January 27, 2022

MEET James Moodie. He hates the colour pink, supports Spurs and, standing at 5ft 2in (and ¾) is more likely to be cast as an extra in Hobbit IV than, say, Love Island.

Like thousands of youngsters, I grew up incredibly confused about my gender.

I HATED being a girl, and toddled around telling bemused strangers my name was James.

My endlessly patient parents watched in mild horror as I nicked my dad’s razor and hacked away at my long, blonde hair.

When my mother tried to tidy up the remaining seven tufts, I insisted on going to a barber’s.

On the day I had to wear a bridesmaid’s dress for my aunt and uncle’s wedding, I sobbed for hours, and tried to stomp down the aisle in my Superman costume.

Shoe-horned into a fluffy, white meringue dress, my red-rimmed, puffy eyes ruined the bridal photos. Up until the age of six I steadfastly refused to wear the colour pink.

I played with Transformers and M.A.S.K cars, and wailed when I didn’t get a rugby ball for my birthday. Another particularly trying stage saw me wearing Y-fronts.

I slept in Spider-Man pyjamas, played with Scalextric and, inexplicably, had an imaginary best friend called Mark, a racing driver with whom I used to do “laps” of the dining room table.

George, a girl who despised dresses and long hair, was my favourite character in the Famous Five, and I wholly related to androgynous Bill in Malory Towers. In short, I was a tomboy.

Had I been born in 2001 rather than 1981, there’s every chance James, not Clemmie, would be grinning down from this column’s masthead.

Last week Holly Branson, daughter of gazillionaire Virgin tycoon Richard, revealed she, too, identified as a boy growing up.

She said: “I, at the age of four, decided I was a boy. It wasn’t that I wanted to be a boy, it was that I was a boy. I stood up to pee, I dressed like a boy, I even gave myself different male names.”


Holly and I are the same age. There’s a strong possibility that had we been born 30 years later, we’d be told that we’re transgender and put on a life-changing course of treatment.

The London-based NHS Gender Identity Development Service has reported a 4,000 per cent rise in child referrals in recent years, with around one per cent of the UK population now “gender non-conforming”.

About twice as many girls as boys are referred, most aged between 14 and 16, while a new study claims the increasing portrayal of transgender characters on TV is fuelling a dramatic rise in the number of under-18s seeking medical help to change sex.

Last year Oscar-nominated Hollywood star Elliot Page — formerly known as Ellen Page — came out as trans, and was rightly lauded.

For far, far too long, trans people have been persecuted horrifically and treated unfairly.

The brilliant Mermaids charity does an incredible job in providing support for young trans people and their families and, in many cases, saves lives.

But, and here’s the but, numerous studies have shown that around 80 per cent of children revert to identifying as their biological sex . . .  if left untreated.

The idea of some kids — and of course there are exceptions — being dished out hormones at such a tender age is alarming.

Me at seven would have taken every hormone blocker going. Me at 39 is relieved I didn’t.


In March, the Family Division of the High Court ruled that parents could give consent for under-16s to access puberty blockers.

Theoretically, this means kids as young as ten or 11 could be given drugs to pause the physical changes of puberty, including breast development or facial hair — despite little being known about the long-term side effects.

Last December the High Court ruled that under-16s were unlikely to be able to give informed consent to “experimental” treatments including hormone blockers.

Keira Bell, one of the case claimants, started taking puberty blockers at the age of 16 after being referred to the pioneering Tavistock clinic, but later de-transitioned.

Now 24, she says that she regrets her decision to transition to male.

Gender diversity is being normalised — and that’s wonderful.

But could we not let little boys run around in high heels, and girls dress as caped crusaders, for a while longer yet?

Katie’s surgeon

ANOTHER day, another facelift for Katie Price. It’s her body, she can do what she wants with it.

But how, in all good conscience, can plastic surgeon after plastic surgeon – five and counting – operate on a still-young woman, who so clearly does not need another procedure?

A model couple

THE London 2012 Olympics made me fall out of love with football.

Seeing the beaming, proud, flag-bearing athletes, many on frugal National Lottery funding, highlighted the gulf between them and multi-millionaire, prima donna footballers.

Looking at the preened, unsmiling, Chanel-wearing identikit Wags was equally uninspiring.

Nine years on, nothing sums up my U-turn more than Harry Kane and his wife, Katie.

The couple, childhood sweethearts, are both hard-working, family driven and dedicated, and appear utterly unchanged by fame.

I have met Harry a couple of times and he is the antithesis of a brash Premier League footballer. He barely drinks, for one thing, and is endearingly shy.

And in stark contrast to Posh, Cheryl, Coleen and co, sports science graduate and mum-of-three Katie remains close to her childhood friends and family, and seemingly has no desire whatsoever to appear on the cover of Hello! magazine any time soon.

Both she and Harry are true role models.

Party swings

HUNDREDS of swingers have descended on to fields near Grantham, Lincs, for a “four-day sex-fest”.

Giving a whole new meaning to “happy campers”, the £200 entry ticket gets festival goers access to dungeons, bondage demos, adult bouncy castles and a wet T-shirt competition.

Bizarrely, there is also face painting and clay pigeon shooting.

And if these are euphemisms, I do not want to know.

Farm's charm

NEVER knowingly one to have my finger on the cultural zeitgeist pulse, obviously I’m about three weeks behind everyone else in discovering the joys of Clarkson’s Farm.

There are no car chases – although we do see Jeremy being tugged on a giant tractor, so to speak – and the sex scenes aren’t likely to set pulses racing (unless racy flashes of sheep thigh are your thing, ditto Jeremy accidentally putting his hand up a ewe’s anus).

It probably won’t win any awards for diversity, or, as Farmer J deadpans during a farm sale, “There is every different type of white 60-year-old man here”.

But it’s warm, funny and surprisingly educational, and I defy anyone not to feel better for watching it.

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Taking cover

KUDOS to bullish Health Secretary Sajid Javid telling it straight.

By saying we must learn to live with the virus – instead of offering up pipe-dreams of curing it – collectively we can all start to move on.

And by leaving it to individuals whether or not they continue to wear face masks, the Government is slowly moving away from a Covid nanny state and back to a cautiously libertarian one.

While I won’t be wearing a mask in restaurants, homes or gyms, I’m convinced they reduce cold and flu transmissions and will, like the Chinese, bear with the muffling beasts on public transport.

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