International author backs Kent transgender student

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An international author is supporting a Kent transgender student who threatened to sue her school.

Liam Klenk, 45, from Switzerland has offered his support to 18-year-old Lily Madigan, Chatham, after she threatened legal action against a Catholic academy, regarding their policies on transgender students.

Mr Klenk, born female, understood the difficulties Lily has faced at school, and struggles she will face in life.

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Liam Klenk, born Stefanie, lived in Germany as a child.

He said: “Gender dysphoria is not a joke. I myself was struggling with it for many years until I finally transitioned from Stefanie to Liam when I was twenty-three years old.

“A weight as unbearably heavy as the Himalayan mountain range resting on my shoulders finally, amazingly, gave way to the weight of a feather the moment I took steps towards letting myself be the real me.”

The former scuba-diving instructor’s book – “Paralian – Not Just Transgender” has been nominated for the People’s Book Prize 2016 and highlights problems transgender people face.

He said: “We transgender people don’t make these things up. It’s not a mood. It’s not a phase. We are not having a case of mental indigestion. We are, in all seriousness, not at home in our own bodies.

“We were born like this. Souls stranded in a wrongly-gendered physical shell. It simply happened, “luck of the draw”, through no fault of our own.”

St Simon Stock Catholic School, Maidstone, changed their uniform policies after Ms. Madigan threatened to take them to court.

Mr Klenk, felt no-one should be denied their basic human rights, saying:

“No one should be denied this most basic of all human rights. And let’s not forget to mention: the school’s officials’ ignoring the 2010 Equality Act is – by definition – an unlawful act.”

Lily’s actions forced the Kent school to change their uniform policies, allowing her to dress in female dress code, as well as implemeneting staff training on transgender situations.

Head teacher of St Simon Stock School, Brenden Wall, was open to the idea of having Mr Klenk’s book in the school library.

He said: “I will read it and make a decision regarding its place in the school.”

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