A transgender student has received a top award from Prince Charles.
The heir to the British throne presented an award to 21-year-old Jay Kelly on Wednesday (March 13), on behalf of his charity, the Prince’s Trust.?
The nursing student was recognised as Educational Achiever of the Year 2019 at the Prince’s Trust Awards, after opening up about how he struggled with his mental health after transitioning. Jay Kelly explained that a youth activity programme run by the Prince’s Trust, the Fairbridge programme, gave him a new lease on life. He said: “When I was 14 I realised I felt different to other girls my age and I began to question my gender. “I made the difficult decision to come out as transgender a couple of years later, which my family struggled to accept as I began to live as a man.This, coupled with struggles with my mental health, meant I didn’t get the grades I wanted at GCSE and when I was studying to retake them, my mental health deteriorated further and I was hospitalised for four months.
“I was so anxious—I didn’t want to leave the house and the thought of using public transport to get anywhere was terrifying. I was self-harming regularly and couldn’t see a future for myself.” The student added: “The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme was suggested to me and I saw it as an opportunity to change things for the better.“I was nervous to begin with, but the programme pushed me outside my comfort zone and helped me start to believe in myself again. “I’m now on a path I never dreamed I’d be on.”