India Willoughby has been hired to read the news by Newcastle-based station Tyne Tees, having previously worked as a news reporter before her sex change operation, back when she was called Jonathan.
Willoughby has become the UK’s first transgender reporter, after spending £14,000 on the surgery to change from Jonathan to India.
She had previously worked on ITV’s Borders news show for ten years and was featured in a documentary last year covering her transformation and the double life she had led beforehand, where she would work Monday-Friday as a woman and spend the weekend with her son as a man.
ITV have welcomed Willoughby back to the company: “We’re pleased to have India working with us as a freelancer on the ITV News Tyne Tees reporting team”.
Willoughby said she has no regrets about her decision to make the change and to come out as transgender, and continues to be an activist for trans issues.
“One of the reasons I decided to stand up and be counted as trans was because of all the mis-information out there,” she said.
“Historically it has been branded as anything from a perversion to a joke, rather than something that is biological.
“There is so much rubbish talked about the subject even now. By telling my story I hope that I can help break down any ill-conceived pre-conceptions.
“I had a secret. I was ignoring what I knew deep down that I didn’t belong in that body. Growing up I kept the secret deep within me. But in February 2010 I was interviewing a politician and caught sight of my reflection.
“I had slicked back hair, a sharp suit, looked confident, but I stared at myself in disgust.
“‘This has got to stop’, I thought. I need to be true to myself. Most people I’ve met since going public have been terrific,” she said.
“But I know others who are literally terrified of meeting me, in case they suffer stigma by association. I’d like to assure them trans is not contagious.
“It’s not all darkness. I always felt that I was in a play and someone had given me a script and said, ‘This is the role you are going to act out for the rest of your life’.
“But I just felt, ‘Why am I hiding, why am I pretending? Why am I deceiving people?’ I regret not doing this sooner.”