BBC Radio Leeds Stephanie Hirst talks gender reassignment surgery and being the first transgender presenter to front a daily daytime show on BBC radio.
In an exclusive interview with BBC Sheffield’s Naked Podcast, radio and TV presenter Stephanie Hirst spoke candidly about how gender reassignment surgery has transformed her life and how unhappy she was living in the “wrong body”.
The presenter of Capital FM’s award-winning breakfast show Hirsty’s Daily Dose, which ran for 11 years from 2003 to 2014, revealed how close she came to taking her own life: “In the end it was either tits or death. I was going to kill myself several times. I’m so glad I didn’t.”
Stephanie has chose to keep details about her surgeries private in the past, but chose to discuss the topic for the Naked Podcast, which sees hosts Jenny Eells and Kat Harbourne interview their guests completely naked “for revealing confessions & conversations”. In January 2014, Stephanie started hormone treatment after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Describing the day Stephanie underwent gender assignment surgery, she told the hosts:
I eventually went down to theatre and before I knew it I had woken up and one of my best friends Donna was at the side of me. I didn’t have an initial wow moment when I awoke, that came months later when I was walking out of my bedroom naked [at home] towards the bathroom and I caught a vision of myself in a mirror and I was like – ‘I’ve done it….it’s fixed.’ That was my wow moment.
During the interview, Stephanie revealed that she has known she identifies as female since a very early age. She revealed that “at infant school, they put me with the boys but I thought I should be with the girls. I couldn’t vocalise it at the time because you’ve got no words for it at that age, have you? My natural state of comfortableness has always been female.”
Talking about the time she confided in a GP for the first time, Hirst said:
I went to my GP when I was 17 and said to him that I feel like I’m a girl and his words were: ‘I strongly recommend you don’t take this path in life, you won’t have a successful life, you will lose friends and family and all sorts of stuff.’ That put the fear of God up me. So I retreated and brushed everything under the carpet. You just get on with it I guess. You just have to accept that this is how I came out and I can’t do anything about it.
However, since coming out in 2014 on Stephen Nolan’s show on BBC Radio 5 Live, she has “received nothing but complete acceptance. I have not lost one person.”
Earlier this month, she became the first transgender presenter to front a daily daytime show on BBC radio with The Stephanie Hirst Show on BBC Radio Leeds. The show airs Monday to Fridays from 9am to 12pm.
The Naked Podcast interview with Stephanie Hirst, together with the other Naked Podcasts, are available here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p063wfw6/episodes/downloads
Subscribe to the Naked Podcast on the Apple Podcast app or via The Google Playstore.
Stephanie Hirst presents The Stephanie Hirst Show on BBC Radio Leeds Mon-Fri from 9am to 12pm and Vinyl Revival on BBC Radio Manchester, Saturday 10pm until midnight.