“I want to show that if you met me in the street, how could you possibly be scared of me?”
WORDS BY ROXY BOURDILLON, IMAGES BY GUY LEVY
Actor, singer and thoroughly lovely chap, Harrison Knights, is set to make history this weekend as the first trans contestant on BBC One’s prime time hit, All Together Now. He popped into the DIVA office, all bright smiles, charm and enthusiasm, to tell us more.
DIVA: How do you feel about representing the trans community?
HARRISON KNIGHTS: I’m really looking forward to it. Trans men don’t have much representation at all. I want to show that trans people are all very different, as is the cis community.
Unfortunately, there’s still a horrific amount of transphobia online, in the media and in real life. How do you deal with that?
With newfound knowledge of trans identities comes newfound hatred. Anybody can say anything from behind their keyboards nowadays. I want to get out there and be friendly, nice and normal and show that if you met me in the street, how could you possibly be scared of me?
You’re from a religious background. Have you found the church accepting of your identity?
People view the church as a whole, but there’s lots of different stances in it. Both my parents are Church of England priests. At the end of the day, they are pastors and they do pastoral care. They are trained in how to cope with difficulties in life and they’ve been absolutely wonderful. We are sort of seen as a flagship family within the Church of England for transitioning. I’ve done talks in convents and monasteries. I believe that God made me in his image, and this was his plan for me and this is what I was put on the planet to do. If that is to raise awareness, then I’m very happy to do it.
Did you always know you were trans?
I was always very aware of myself as a kid. I was about 13 when I realised I was attracted to women. Then a storyline came up on Hollyoaks. The character, Jason Costello, was a trans guy, the same age as me, and everything just clicked. I started doing lots of research online. There wasn’t much out there, but there were lots of trans YouTubers answering questions. I came out to my folks as trans when I was 16. The day after I left school, I changed my name via deed poll. The school put on a special naming ceremony for me. They were fabulous.
It’s wonderful to hear that your experience was so positive.
I know I’m in the minority. The reason I did All Together Now wasn’t because I wanted to have my 15 minutes of fame. It was because I, and lots of my friends, feel completely underrepresented.
WATCH: See a preview of Harrison’s story here
You’re an actor as well as a singer. Can we catch you in anything soon?
I’m in Eastenders this week. I play the court clerk in a court case. It’s a part that’s got nothing to do with being trans.
I’ll look out for you! Lastly, what are your goals for the future?
I’d love to act in period dramas like Call The Midwife. And I’d like to be a presenter on Songs Of Praise! That would be fun with my choral background.
Watch Harrison on All Together Now on this Saturday at 7.30pm on BBC One. See a video clip here now.
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