My phone pinged the arrival of the email as I lay in bed reading – what has become the normal start to every morning for me – 20 or so tweets sent overnight calling me a groomer, paedophile and man.

Three or four years ago, in the peaceful days before the start of the conservative war against culture, waking up to these type of insults every single day would have upset me and worn me down. Now, it's routine.

I ignore the email. Ablutions first. Go to brush my teeth. Take a shower. Sit on the loo and scroll some more. Block, block, block. Flush the Twitter turds with their statue and cat profile pictures away, knowing I’ll need another dump later on.

READ MORE: India Willoughby: Someone will end up killed if things don't calm

Running total of blocked Twitter accounts: 200,000.

I dry my hair, do my make-up. Head off to the cafe where I’m writing my book.

And, after ordering my usual pot of Darjeeling, sit down, and open my email.

“Congratulations on being nominated as a 2023 Woman of the Year”.


“Congratulations on being nominated as a 2023 Woman of the Year.”

Wow. Considering I live on what is now internationally known as Terf Island – where trans visibility and recognition is close to outlawed – I can’t believe it.

And I know it’s going to infuriate Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson, GB News, and all the other forms of life that have grown like bacteria since 2018.

To let you know how bad things are, this article would not get published in England. Which is why I’ve gone to Scotland – a country that tried to make things better for the trans population, but was overruled by Westminster.

Since Brexit, transphobia has become one of Britain’s most successful exports.

The UK is currently ranked by the Council of Europe as the worst place for trans people to live in Europe, alongside Russia and Hungary. Just a few years ago, it was the best place.

The Herald: India WilloughbyIndia Willoughby (Image: free)

In America, some states have now made being trans effectively illegal. Doctors go to jail for helping us, the public have been told to report anyone they suspect of being trans to the relevant authority. Parents who support trans children can have their kids taken away and adopted.

I re-read the email. The nomination came from a panel of women. Interesting, considering I and the rest of the UK trans population are constantly told that the female population view woman like me as a threat and an offence to their dignity.

Despite the fact I have never rinsed my knickers or a moon cup in a public sink – two of the things I’ve been told my presence would prevent ‘normal’ women from doing with ‘dignity’ if I was having a pee.

So – why have I been nominated?

Work-wise, the last two years have been very quiet for me and all trans journalists, due to the unofficial ‘trans ban’ operating across British media.

Trans women in particular are barred from employment in mainstream broadcast news and journalism. Nothing’s written down on paper of course, because that would fall foul of employment law, but look around. Nobody. Despite over 1,000 articles about us every month. Nearly every single one hostile, not a single one written by actual trans people.

TV and Radio – just as bad.

In 2017, I was a national newsreader. The first trans woman to co-host an all-woman talk show – Loose Women. The audience laughing with me as I joked about trans life. Contracts on the table, offers of new shows, writing columns for national newspapers. A new dawn seemed to be breaking for trans.

Now, none of that would be possible.

Instead of moving forwards, Britain has hurtled backwards. It’s now normal to watch or listen to studio debates of non-trans people explaining what trans is, and how awful we are, with nobody trans there. Wouldn’t happen to any other minority.

This used to make me angry, but after three years or so, you become numb to it. Normalised.

Any attempt at trans visibility in Britain – advertising, modelling, educational talks to schools – is squashed. A guaranteed outcry from the usual suspects.

I’m old enough to remember the 1970s and, basically, the UK trans community is treated like the IRA. To the BBC in particular, I’m the equivalent of Gerry Adams minus the beard. The enemy. Only allowed on if it’s a ‘trans on trial’ segment. Unable to participate on other subjects or, God forbid, be seen having a laugh.

BBC rules stipulate we cannot go on air unless chaperoned by someone who is ‘gender critical’.

The equivalent of a racist or anti-semite accompanying every Black or Jewish person telling their story.

This rule does not apply in reverse, with gender criticals allowed on alone and unchallenged.

No surprise, then, that with one side completely snuffed out by British media while the other is platformed every day – writing columns, presenting shows, splashed on front pages despite being ‘cancelled’ and posing for photo-shoots with gaffer-taped theatrically placed across their gobs – public perception of trans people has plummeted.

The imbalance in power and influence is surreal. Completely divorced from reality.

The media tell the public that kids and adults are being rushed by the NHS into sex-change operations – when the average wait for a first appointment to chat about being trans is SEVEN YEARS. In parts of England, it’s a mind-boggling 35 years.

All this means day-to-day life in Britain has become scary for me and others. Over the last few years, trans hate crime has soared to record levels. We’ve had a trans teenager – Brianna Ghey – killed.

Actual Nazis attend gender critical events, waving swastikas and sieg heiling. The British Prime Minister and Home Secretary stand at podiums and say we’re not real, while the hijacked Equalities and Human Rights Commission – which is supposed to protect minorities – drafts ‘guidance’ on how trans can be banned from public loos, which we’ve been legally using since the 1960s with no issues.

If a group doesn’t exist in the eyes of a government, then it follows they don’t get rights or legal protections.

Even though I have what’s known as ‘passing’ privilege, I now look over my shoulder when I go out. I feel a palpable change in the air since Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch pinned a target to our backs.

We had hoped Labour would ride to our rescue but, unfortunately, they too have abandoned us. Prickled by an inability to answer the fake gotcha question: “What is a woman?”.

To which the very simple answer is: “There is no set biological criteria for being a woman. Or indeed female.”

Why can’t Keir Starmer, Annalise Dodds and Rachel Reeves just say that?

There’s a woman who has 95% male XY chromosomes who has had a baby. There are other women who are born with penises and without wombs. Who will never have a period. Fact. Go and look them up.

Scans of trans brains from an early age show we are more aligned with the gender we identify with. Hundreds of studies. We’re real and not making it up. Been here for ever, in every culture, in every country. A naturally occurring part of humanity.

Yet trans folk are constantly accused of denying science – when in actual fact, science is on our side.

There is way more evidence for ‘proving’ trans than there is for ‘proving’ gay.

Nobody would demand an X-ray or blood test from Elton John or Ellen Degeneres before accepting they were who they say they are – so why are trans people held to that same impossible standard?

Gender critical in itself is an interesting term. Adopted by the anti-trans movement to give a more acceptable public impression, and not scare the horses. Unlike racism and homophobia, transphobia is predominantly a middle-class bigotry, which has been dignified and intellectualised. The BBC and The Times, to my mind, in particular giving it a veneer of social respectability. But, actually, it’s no different from any other prejudice. I wonder how the public would react to a movement called Black Critical, or Jewish Critical?

With so few work opportunities in my profession recently due to the ‘trans ban’, my nomination must be for something else.

Maybe it’s for facing the credible death threat I received from a far right gender critical group which resulted in the counter terrorism unit coming to my home and installing CCTV cameras?

Or my appearance on BBC Question Time in Glasgow, which turned into a public lynching and resulted in hundreds of complaints to Ofcom?

Or maybe it’s simply a retrospective nod to being Britain’s first trans newsreader/Loose Woman – and continuing to stand up for my community, in a tsunami of disinformation.

Or maybe it’s just that some of my sisters are starting to see the injustice of it all, and are tired of the anti-trans movement using them and the phrase ‘women’s rights’ – while standing shouder-to-shoulder with anti-abortionists and some of the worst misogynists on the planet – to justify an irrational hatred and bigotry of 0.2% of the population.

Whatever the reason, I hope the trans community see this as a small green shoot. We are not alone. Most mums, grandmas, sisters are on our side.

It’s taken an hour or so to write this. Time for another dump.