|India Willoughby appeared on TV news this morning (Picture: North News)|
This is India Willoughby – Britain’s first transgender newsreader. She worked for ITV regional news for 10 years before quitting to undergo gender reassignment five years ago, and now she’s back working for the broadcaster.
The 50-year-old said that while working as Jonathan Willoughby she caught her reflection during an interview and decided it was time to ditch the slicked back hair and undergo a transition. She quit ITV’s Border News saying she did not feel she was being true to herself appearing as a man.
Upon leaving ITV, India, who had always felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body, started to ‘juggle two parallel lives’ after she started working in PR in Newcastle.
|The 50-year-old said presenting the news was her dream job (Picture: North News)|
She dressed as a woman for her job meaning that she would spend five days a week at work as a woman and the weekends back in Cumbria with her son in jeans and a football shirt. After five years of leading a double life, India decided to make her transition permanent and had the full £14,000 gender reassignment surgery at an NHS hospital in Brighton.
Following the surgery in September 2015, India decided that she wanted to go back to her ‘dream job’ of broadcasting. She returned to ITV Border on 22 September this year and spoke of her delight to be back into her former role, previously having worked for BBC’s Inside Out North East.
India will now make her on-screen debut today on ITV Tyne Tees. She said: ‘ITV have been fantastic, it hasn’t been weird or awkward and they have just welcomed me back. ‘I didn’t feel nervous at all when I walked back through the door again, they made me feel like I was home.
|India decided to undergo gender reassignment after seeing a reflection of herself in 2010 (Picture: North News)|
‘I am just getting my toes back into the water for now, I have a lot to catch up on from over the last 10 years and all of the technology has changed massively. ‘There are obviously a lot of new faces but I can still have the same banter with the old ones – they have realised that I am the still the same person, I just look different on the outside.
‘I don’t think that there have been people like me in the public eye in this country before – I wouldn’t want to make myself out to be some kind of an example or anything but it just shows how the nature of TV has changed
|When she first started working in news she was called Jonathan (Picture: North News)|
India, who’s name was chosen by her mother, admitted that she had fears about being accepted as a woman, however knew that it was the right time in her life to come out as trans. She said: ‘The way I explain it that it is like having a Ferrari engine but the bodywork on the outside is a Ford – so what would that make the car?
‘It runs like a Ferrari and has the inside bits of a Ferrari but the cosmetics on the outside it what is holding it back. ‘It is obviously what is inside that is the important bit. People put being trans into the same category as LGBT – but this is weird because being trans has nothing to do with who you want to take to bed.
‘It has nothing at all to do with sexuality, and people seem to misunderstand this. It is about being born into the wrong body, which I was.’
Credit: Metro, UK