| 3.2°C Belfast

Ex-Civil Service chief told of his pride over transgender child


Tanya Bloomfield

Tanya Bloomfield

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield

Tanya Bloomfield

The former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, has previously spoken about his pride after his child underwent a sex change.

In 2010, Sir Kenneth said that he had been "shocked but not ashamed" when Tanya Bloomfield - born as Timothy - told him of her decision.

At the time, Ms Bloomfield had made headlines across the world for launching a legal bid for refugee status in Canada over fears she would face discriminatory treatment at home.

She called Northern Ireland a beautiful country, but one that still needed work when it came to acceptance of LGBT issues.

"There is ingrained bigotry and homophobia. If we can't get on as Protestants and Catholics, we sure as hell can't get on as queer people," she said at the time. "Feelings are escalating again in Northern Ireland.

"It's a country that is very damaged. I have not been back to Northern Ireland since I left four years ago and I'm not going back."

She said the decision to tell her parents she was transgender was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life", but said she was amazed by their positive reaction.

"I wrote a letter to them. I hand-delivered it and asked them to think about it deeply, to get in touch in a few days once they'd had time to process it. They got back in touch in about 40 minutes.

"We met up and they were very supportive - or as supportive as they could have been, considering their lack of knowledge."

After meeting her parents as a woman for the first time in Canada, she said it still took some time for the new reality to sink in.

"Sometimes they still call me Timothy or use 'he' instead of 'she', but it's a hard habit to break when you have been one person in their eyes for 35 years, so that's very difficult," she had said.

She added: "I don't think they are any less happy with a transgender child.

"They are immensely proud of the strength of character I've shown and of all I've achieved."

Belfast Telegraph