LGBT History Month - Codi
“Hi, I’m Codi.” This might seem like a simple greeting- but to me it holds so much more, especially as I’ve only been able to say it for less than a year. That’s when I finally felt confident enough in knowing who I was and how I wanted the world to see me to take the plunge and change my name and pronouns. So here I am- openly gay, non-binary, a Police officer, or just Codi.
I have chosen to write this blog to educate others to help them understand more about non-binary and also to be visible and proud, promoting LGBT+
Growing up I was a ‘tomboy.’ I was forever climbing trees, I lived in sports clothes and I constantly told my Mum that I wanted to shave my head. As a compromise I just wore my hair in a ponytail through a baseball cap instead.
Even from that young age I was confused by my gender. I thought I should have been a boy and that feeling only deepened as I hit puberty. I began to grow a chest, and the hatred I felt towards this part of my body intensified as I continued to age.
I wore the tightest sports bras I could with the baggiest of t-shirts in a desperate bid to conceal them. My chest has always been something I felt didn’t fit how I should look. It didn’t seem like I was looking in the mirror at the image I had of myself in my head.
But life got even more confusing when my sexual interest began to develop and I realised I liked girls… Life just seemed that it would have been much simpler if I had born more in a male body. Then I would be ‘normal’ and I could just be me.
I queried if I might be transgender but deep down I knew I didn't really want to be a boy. Who was I meant to be?
I started my first proper lesbian relationship aged 16. We received a negative reaction so we split up. But it wasn’t that simple... It was young love- we couldn’t stay away from each other. So we continued to date, but we didn’t tell any of our friends or her family for years!
During that whole time, my gender identity had to take a backseat as I couldn’t outwardly show who I truly was or we would be caught, everyone would know I was gay (well that's what I said to myself in my head anyways). So I dressed like a stereotypical girl with dresses and heels, I wore make up and I lied about having boyfriends to help keep up appearances.
Putting it mildly- I hated myself for it. I hated every second I wasn’t me. I hated all the lies I spun. But it helped keep my secret.
Aged 19, I started in the Police and I turned 20 as I completed my basic training at Tulliallan. The Police values, including integrity were drilled into us. This rapidly ate away at me as I realised I was lying to colleagues about my weekend plans. Too concerned that they might discover my secret.
I didn’t want to start my career out that way, it didn’t seem right. So I gave my girlfriend an ultimatum- we come out or we break up. Just like that the secret was finally out!!
We moved in together but eventually split as we had both grown up and grown apart. I then fully started to be a truer version of myself. I cut my hair short, I wore male clothing.
Society's urge to place me in a box meant I was labelled as a 'butch lesbian' but I knew it wasn't that simple so I shunned such terms. I felt I didn't fit into any boxes. I was just being me.
Over the years I had other failed relationships, other negative experiences with homophobia but it made me more resilient.
In 2019 I found myself single after a long term relationship. It gave me time to reflect and I became focused once again on my gender.
I had heard that Police Scotland were introducing gender neutral headwear for officers and this really intrigued me. I was more frequently hearing terms like 'non-binary' and 'gender neutral.'
I started reading EVERYTHING I could about it, researching it. I never knew anyone who identified this way but when I read about it, something just clicked.
I would say I would rather not be in a box, but if I was ever going to be then non-binary would be it.
I see gender as being like a spectrum in the same way I view sexuality. I just fit somewhere on the spectrum between male and female. It finally made sense.
Not long after, Sam Smith came out as non binary and having that visible public presence reassured me that there were others like me.
After hiding my sexuality for so long I decided that this wasn't something I would hide now I was sure as to how I wanted the world to see me.
I didn't want to live life as two people so it was massively important to me that work would allow me to be openly out as a non binary officer. I couldn't find any information or a SOP to help me so I spoke to my DI who was unbelievably supportive. She took her time to understand how I felt, she researched non-binary and made sure I felt in control at every step.
My family and friends reassured me that they loved me for me so to them it didn't matter, even when I changed my name to something gender neutral, Codi.
Police Scotland continued to support me, providing me with my all important gender neutral hat, making considerations for me having access to gender neutral facilities and agreeing policies for me. For example, it was decided that I would no longer search individuals so I am not placed in a position where I feel forced to reveal my body parts to justify a search.
It has taken time for people to adjust to my new name, which was fully expected. Some people are better than others with my they/them pronouns but I truly believe it will be improve as the years go by.
I started dating again and I am now happily in a relationship with my girlfriend who has only ever known me as Codi. She had never previously been in a relationship with anyone who identified as non-binary but to her, all that matters is that she sees me as a good person who makes her happy.
I now wear a binder to give me the appearance of a flatter chest so I can fit the clothes I feel most comfortable wearing better. It has made such a difference and everyone describes how I have been 'glowing' since I came out.
I have also been referred to the Chalmers Clinic in Edinburgh and I will hopefully be seen there in 2022 to discuss having 'top surgery.'
I have had lots of people speak to me and tell me they feel the same but wouldn't be brave enough to take the leap that I did and that saddens me. I was also bitterly disappointed that the government halted their public consultation on whether or not non binary could become a legal gender option in this country (like it is in others).
So I continue to be as open as I can, encouraging 'taboo' conversations and delivering total honestly whilst advocating for LGBT+ rights- which is why I agreed to write this blog.
I am happy to be contacted by anyone who has any questions or needs support.
Stay proud and stay you!