Campus Celebrity - Alexis Lilith Starr

Following reports of assault towards her in the female toilets at Fruity, earlier this term, HC Leeds caught up with University of Leeds student Alexis Lilith Starr, a.k.a. Lexi.  She describes herself as an actively transitioning male-to-female transsexual, and was keen to talk about the process to HC Leeds readers.

What do you study here Lexi?
I study microbiology and immunology, in my second year.
I hear you’re from America originally?
Yes, California. I came over to the UK in September 2011.
What made you decide to come to Leeds?
I liked the course, I liked the faculty, the facilities were really nice. And I needed to get about 6,000 miles away from everyone that I knew.
Why was that?
I needed to start this process and I really couldn’t do it in California. Well I could, but I felt I needed to be somewhere else.  
When did you decide to start this process?
Last September. I felt like I should be a girl. I’ve always felt it pretty much, but didn’t know that I wanted to be a girl. I’ve felt very feminine all my life. First I saw an endocrinologist in California; my mom took me to see if I had any hormone issues. Turns out this person was actually the lead endocrinologist for trans* people, so I got all the blood work I needed. Then I came here and started seeing a private endocrinologist, who interviewed me briefly and put me on hormones last November.  I’m having laser-therapy now to get my beard removed. I also went to see a cosmetic surgeon last week to ask about my face and my breasts, and am planning on getting hair extensions sometime soon.
Was it quite difficult whilst you were growing up?
It felt really odd, I felt odd all the time.  
And how did your parents feel?
They don’t support me at all but they said they’ll always love me, that’s good.
So how have you found your time at Leeds so far?
It’s great, I enjoy my course and I’m enjoying my new friends.  
Where do you like to go out?
We like to go to Queens Court, Mission; sometimes I go to Park Row bar alone, just for when I need to have some food.
And what sort of music do you like?
I like to listen to Blue Stahli, and I like a lot of metal.  Some of my favourite bands are Lamb of God, Legion of the Damned and Arch Enemy.
Do you like to go to gigs around the city at all?
To listen to bands I like? Hell no. I’d love to go to an Arch Enemy show.
I hear you’re having door training so that you can work in venues?
Yeah, it means I can work anywhere in the union or somewhere else.  I needed a job, and it pays pretty well.  
Everyone recognises you for spending a lot of time in the union, what do you tend to spend time here doing?
I listen to music, have my Coca-Cola, play on my phone and smoke cigarettes – which I probably shouldn’t be doing!
How have you found the welfare support and services at the union?
It’s great, it’s worked really well.  There are more supportive people around than not so. I tend to hang around with the LGBT group, Animé and Rock Soc, and they’ve all been great.
You were in Leeds Student recently, reportedly assaulted in the female toilets at Fruity. Could you tell us what happened?
I was just waiting in the queue and these two drunk girls went “hey you’re a guy!” and I’m like “no I’m not” then they shoved me in my breasts. Then I called the bouncer and the bouncer threw them out.
Are you worried about this sort of thing happening again?
No, not at all, I think I’m a lot more passable now.
What are your thoughts on the introduction of gender-neutral toilets in the union?
We’re not gender neutral, we’re guys and girls! We don’t want to be “othered”.  People who actually see themselves as gender neutral are so rare.
But if they are, surely there should still be provision for them?
We have disabled toilets, the gender neutral toilets are basically disabled toilets renamed. I don’t see the point of wasting more space.
So coming back to your degree, what are your plans for after you graduate in a year’s time?
After I graduate I’m either going to get a job in the Biotech industry as a scientist, followed by possibly a Masters or a PhD. For now I just want to work in the industry and get some money. Or if I look pretty enough I could go into adult entertainment.
Do you want to stay in Leeds?
For both of those industries I’d need to move back to California, but I might still visit Leeds.
Finally, are you single at the moment, and if so, are you looking for love?
Yes I am and yes a bit.  I’d like to find a nice guy, a nice girl or a nice transsexual.
It’s been fantastic talking to you Lexi, thanks for taking time out to speak to us!
If you have any questions about any of the issues raised in this interview, please contact [email protected] for support and advice. The email address is completely confidential, so don't hesitate to get in touch. 
For more information on thie issues raised, you can visit the following...
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