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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Radio presenter to change gender

A popular radio presenter has announced he is undergoing treatment to
become a woman.
Simon Hirst, 39, shocked listeners when he suddenly left his Hirsty's
Daily Dose breakfast show on Capital FM Yorkshire in June.

Tonight, he has revealed in an exclusive interview with Stephen Nolan
on BBC Radio 5 Live that he is changing gender in order to live life
as a woman.

He told Nolan he is halfway through gender reassignment treatment and,
this week, changed his name to Stephanie Hirst.

Hirst said he had made the decision to become a woman because he
"doesn't want to hide anymore."

"There were many times on the air in recent years where I nearly said
that I'm transgender," he said.

"I knew from around the same time that I knew I wanted to be on the
radio that something wasn't right.

"I didn't feel complete, I didn't feel like it locked. I felt like a
square peg in a round hole but I didn't know why and I couldn't work
it out."

Hirst, who also hosted the Hit40UK national commercial radio Top 40
chart between 2003 and 2006, said he decided to leave his popular
breakfast show because "I got to the point in my life where I had to
stop doing what I was doing to have some time out to focus on me,
because I have devoted my entire life to radio".

He said the torment of carrying the secret around with him was like
"someone poking you in the arm constantly, just tapping you.

It's like that every single day".
"From the minute I woke up to the minute I went to sleep it was always
there," he said. "The thought was there in my head constantly."

Hirst said: "I'd drive home in the car - I'd be driving home on the M1
and, honestly, I could have just turned the wheel to the central
reservation. I didn't of course. Or I would scream.

"I remember sitting in my kitchen rocking backwards and forwards going
'just make this stop, go away, leave me alone' and I felt like she was
eating me up inside."

Asked how he felt his listeners would react to him as a female
presenter, he said: "I'm just me, I'm the same person.

"I'm not going to flounce around in flowery dresses all day. I'm just
me, I'm just a human being, I still love people, still care for people
the same way - nothing changes.

"And for anyone who is going through this or anyone who's thinking of
going through this we don't change, we don't change.

Yes, the exterior changes but we're still the same people."

Hirst said he chose the name Stephanie to link with his old life.

"My name was Simon Neil Hirst and I still want to keep my initials
because it's important to me, that.

"Some people in my position want to eradicate their past and forget
about it. (But) I'm very proud of what I have done in my past and I'm
not going to erase that or try and get rid of it. I can't and I don't
want to, it's who I am."

"I can get up and I can be myself and for me that encapsulates
everything. I don't have to hide anymore, don't have to hide anymore.
I can be me. I am a woman - and that's it."

A Capital Yorkshire spokesman said: "We don't comment on people's
personal matters. We were sad to see Hirsty leave the breakfast show
and we wish him all the best for the future."

The full interview is at www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series /5lnews



Credit: Associated Press

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