Princess Diana gave this Scottish trans teen the strength to reveal her true self21st Feb 18 | Real Life
Diana was born a boy called Jamie - but felt her whole life was a lie.
A teenager has revealed how Princess Diana inspired her from beyond the grave to embrace her true transgender identity at just 15 .
Now called Diana Duff – in honour of the royal, who died in 1997, three years before she was born – the college student says she has always seen the “people’s princess” as a powerful role model, as she touched so many lives.
Diana, now 17, of Glasgow, Scotland, who was born a boy called Jamie, said: “People asked me why I call myself Diana, when most trans people go for a similar sounding name to their birth name.”
She went on: "But I picked mine because I really admired Diana, Princess of Wales. Her legacy lives on and I feel like she really moved so many people.She had such a kind heart."I felt like it would be amazing if I could inspire lots of people, just like she did."
Diana, who has been living as a girl for a year-and-a-half, after breaking down in tears and coming out to her mum, Tracy Walkden, 39, a secondary school support worker, has now started hormone therapy.
Planning to have gender reassignment surgery within two years, she continued: "As a little boy, I always had a natural leaning towards feminine things, whether it was Barbie Dolls at home or trying on my mum's high heels.”
Diana continued: "I was always in princess dresses. My dad tried to take me to watch football, but it was never something I was interested in.
"I think I had the biggest doll collection in the whole of Glasgow.
“In primary school I would look at the girls and felt envious as I would have preferred to be in a skirt and shirt with the frills on, rather than the shirt and trousers I had to wear.”
But Diana’s full-blown identity crisis began when she hit puberty.
She continued: “When I was younger, I wasn't very aware that I was born male. I don't think you really have a sense that you are a girl or a boy and have different parts.
"But, when we all started going through puberty, I realised I was getting facial hair, my shoulders were broader and I wasn't going to develop breasts like the other girls."
Feeling increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin, Diana developed body dysmorphia, a mental health condition where sufferers worry about flaws in their appearance.
"I knew my whole life was a lie," Diana said. "I felt like I was born in the wrong body. For me, I felt like a woman and seeing my own body and all the masculine parts, disgusted me.
"Every single thing that was masculine, I didn't like."With my family, I became the master of being as masculine as I could be, not letting the real me show. When there were trans people on TV when we were watching as a family, I'd leave the room feeling really awkward."
Lacking the courage to share her true feelings with her mum or siblings Rocco, three, and Aaron, 13, Diana felt extremely isolated.
But, when she reached 15, everything came to a head.
Diana said: "It got to the end of the school year and I thought, 'I cannot do another year of getting changed in the boys changing rooms for PE.'"
She continued: "I'd done it for too long and I was horrified. It was murder, every week, getting changed for PE with boys all around me, when I felt like a girl. It was how a girl would feel taking her clothes off in a room full of boys. It was so traumatic. ”
So, in August 2016, a month into her school summer holidays, Diana finally told her mum everything.
"I said, 'I need to talk to you.' Then I just burst out crying," she explained."She asked, ‘Are you transgender?' as if she just knew.”
She went on: “I'd told my younger brother Aaron, now 13, a month before and he said he’d already had an idea, too."
Brave Diana then set out changing her name by deed poll, in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales, who had inspired her to come out.
She said: "Everyone loved her and she did so much good - by shaking hands with AIDS patients and bringing so many people so much joy."I felt like it would be amazing if I could inspire lots of people, just like she did."
Calling Sandyford Gender Identity Clinic in Glasgow, Diana was put on the waiting list for hormone treatment, which she started this month, ahead of surgery to remodel her penis into a vagina, which she is having done on the NHS.
With her voice already broken and developing facial hair, which she shaves daily, Diana, who is crowdfunding to help pay for her £5,000 facial feminisation surgery, is desperate for her treatment to start.
She said: "I wear make-up and am starting laser treatment on my hair later this month. It’s a misconception that being trans is about dressing up in girls clothes, but for me it’s about the body underneath. I finally feel able to express myself and be who I have always known I am meant to be."
(MUST) To donate to Diana's surgery visit: https://www.gofundme.com/qyr3u-dianas-surgery
© Press Association 2018