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Former Orangeman dreams of wearing sash once again as transgender woman

Published 03/08/2016

A transgender woman who was a male member of the Orange Order has told of her dream to rejoin the organisation in its female lodges.

When she was a man, Adrianne protested against Belfast's annual Gay Pride parade in 2005. She was also a member of the Orange Order.

But it was during that protest she made eye contact with a young gay man and in that moment decided to accept who she really was.

And now, she has dreams of again wearing the sash, only for a women's lodge. Although she feels it may be too soon for the devout Christian organisation to accept a member from the LGBT community.

Adrianne told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I just thought, 'what am I doing here? Why am I protesting against them? They're just human beings like me'

"I knew at that moment that I had to start living as a woman."

Adrianne first began to question her gender in primary school growing up in Liverpool. But she concealed how she was feeling and in a bid to hide them further, in her mid 30s she made her way to Northern Ireland.

She found the Rev Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterian church where she hoped by filling her life with activities in the church, it would take her mind off her transgender feelings.

"My theory was like the plant analogy. If you don't water it, it will die. So if you don't give the transgenderism a thought then you can't dwell on it and it'll go away."

However, around four years ago she began the formal transition process

"I felt like an actress playing a male part. Although I had come to like the person I was playing, it was still acting."

Since her transition she has moved to a new church and resigned from the Orange Order.

Adrianne has since married her partner, who is also transgender.

She added: "I feel marginalised. I don't feel like I belong in the LGBT community, because of my history and my political beliefs.

"Conversely, I no longer feel part of the evangelical, conservative, Protestant community. The nature of what I'm doing excludes me from that social sphere."

She says that she would like to have been given the opportunity to rejoin the Orange Order in the women's lodges.

"I don't know if it would ever really be possible [for a transgender woman to join].

"Maybe in future I think it would be possible, but maybe that's something for another generation.

"It would be wonderful if they did. You have to challenge the status quo, preconceptions and prejudices to move on."

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