Some days she wakes up as a woman; some days she rises feeling like a true man, and it all depends on her fickle mood.
Confusing? That’s because free-spirited Tabitha Downs-King at 20 years old considers herself “gender-fluid”, which means there are days she identifies as a female and other days as a male.
She was born a girl and even likes “girly “things like make-up, patterned tights and heels- when she’s feeling like Tabitha. When she changes into Tate, her male alter ego, she bind her cleavage to conceal it, paints on a moustache and even wears a fake penis to feel like a full-blown man.
If at times it feels like fun to be one gender one day and transform into another the next day, being gender-fluid does have its disadvantages. Not only does Tabitha gets curious stares at times and berated for using the men’s toilets, her being gender-fluid also affects her chances of finding employment. She thinks it’s the reason why she can’t really get a job.
She said: “Each morning, it takes a few minutes to grasp whether I am Tabitha or Tate.” She added: “Some might find it hard to understand but why should a person be defined by what is between their legs?”
Tabitha admits she feels bad about the everyday discrimination she experiences from people who judge her and who can’t understand her belief that “gender isn’t fixed.” She said: “I’ve been passed over for hundreds of jobs and I’ve even been beaten up but it’s made me a stronger person and I’ll never change who I am.”
If she’s “losing” on the employment and career side, she is in a “win-win” situation in her love life as she has both a boyfriend and a girlfriend.
She counts her main relationship with a man she met at college and whom she considers her long-term partner. She says she is simply just thankful that he understands her need to sometimes be with a woman . She met her girlfriend in a pub near her London home six months after meeting her boyfriend. She admits to feeling strongly attracted to her girlfriend the first time she saw her.
Tabitha shares that the three of them even sat down all together the first time to discuss their unconventional arrangement. She says her boyfriend is okay with her sleeping with another woman, so long as she does not “cheat” on him with another man.
Maybe her family background will offer a clue as to why she turned out that way or why and how she made the choices she did. Her parents broke up when she was only a toddler. Her biological father is now living as a woman, and used to help her pick outfits when she was small and also taught her to apply makeup. She confesses that she realized she was bisexual at 8.
She says that while it was easy to gain the acceptance of her parents for what she is, she suffered from the treatment of others growing up. She was bullied and beaten up in school because she admitted to liking girls. She was treated like she was a freak in school.
She shares she was about 13 when she first considered the idea that she could be both female and male. Her dad meanwhile admitted to her he would live as a woman when she was 15. Now she calls him her “trans mom”. She says she is happy for her tranny “mom.”
While Tabitha is happy, too, with what she is, for now the challenge of finding a job after sending hundreds of CVs, going through countless job interviews and standing her ground of not needing to tick just one box under gender in her job application forms, remains.