Published on 30 March 2021
A journey of self-discovery has set a transitioning student on the path to a bright future.
As part of International Transgender Day of Visibility, University of Sunderland student Sebrina Fatz tells how she is today building the life she has always wanted.
Sebrina Fatz was born Sebastian.
Along with her mum, dad and older sister, Sebrina moved from Bydgoszcz in northern Poland to Thirsk, North Yorkshire, when she was five years old.
Growing up in the market town, she always was aware that she was different to other little boys.
“It was never made that big a deal of,” she says. “My mother knew I wasn’t like other children my age, but that’s just the way it was.”
At school, and despite encouragement from her dad, Sebrina never fitted in with the boys, their clubs or their games, knowing she had nothing in common with them.
She said: “I would be called ‘gay’ and was basically bullied because of who I was. I guess I grew a thick skin pretty quickly.”
But all through her school years, Sebrina knew there was something more, something missing from her life that she would have to address.
She said: “I knew I was attracted to men, but I also knew I would never be in a gay relationship.
“I suppose for many years I isolated myself and denied that I was transgender because I didn’t want to deal with the consequences I felt that would bring.”
As she moved from secondary school to college, Sebrina discovered more about transgender issues through the internet.
“But it was never really about finding a community,” she recalls. “It was always more about finding myself, about seeing that trans people could lead happy, successful, fulfilling lives.” Sebrina applied and got accepted onto a Cosmetic Science programme at the University.
The course perfectly combined her interest in sciences with her passion for being creative.
It was while at University, on February 20, 2020, that Sebrina made a video discussing her plans to transition, which she then posted on YouTube.
She said: “I have to say, the feedback I received was so positive and supportive. I knew I wanted to let people know but I didn’t want to have to go around telling everyone all the time.
“I sometimes wonder whether that was the easy option, should I have taken the time to sit down with people? But I just know it was the best thing for me at that point.”
Fiercely independent, Sebrina looked into the costs of transitioning, a process which she is now currently going through.
“I’m one year into my medical transition, involving hormone replacement therapy,” she added.
“I do feel like a burden has been lifted. Really, ever since I accepted my true self, life has been much easier compared to those many difficult years.
“It’s still very early days for me, I’m going through this as we speak and it’s hard to have an overall perspective.
“I know that I’m in a much happier place now and I know that most of the people I have met and come into contact with have been incredibly helpful and supportive.”
And the future?
“I know I don’t really want to rely on other people,” she says. “Life has taught me to work hard and I want to be successful and to have nice things.
“If other likes, like partners and families, come along, then that will happen all in its own time.”
International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions.