Dominic Horsman, the Green Party candidate for North West Durham, hopes to become Britain's first transgender MP

IN the early hours of Friday morning, Dominic Horsman hopes to make history.

When the General Election result in North-West Durham is declared at the Louisa Centre in Stanley, the 39-year-old Green Party candidate aims to be elected Britain’s first transgender MP.

In truth, it is something of a long shot: at the last election the Greens won 3.7 per cent of the vote in the constituency and a more realistic goal may be to save the party’s deposit.

But the Durham University researcher has already broken new ground by becoming the first transgender man to stand at a General Election in the North-East.

“Can you imagine what would happen if I was elected,” he says. “It would mean North West Durham was never ignored again.”

The Northern Echo: HISTORY: Dominic Horsman, Green Party candidate for North West Durham, who hopes to become Britain's first transgender MP

Dominic Horsman, Green Party candidate for North West Durham

LIKE Theresa May, he was born the daughter of a Church of England vicar, but there any similarity ends.

Although his Labour-supporting family originate from the Crook and Willington area of County Durham, the prospective MP was born in Bath and spent a childhood moving from parish to parish every three years, including spells in London and York.

It was a transient life which continued into adulthood. A researcher in quantum computing, building the next generation of computing technology, work took him to Oxford, New Zealand and Japan.

“I had a very rootless upbringing,” he says. “This place means so much to me because it’s where my roots are. I moved to Durham in 2015 in order to transition”.

It was while working as a lecturer in Japan back in 2012 that he took the momentous decision to change gender.

“It has always been there, from as early as I can remember. As a kid you spend your life thinking something isn’t quite right, you are just acting as yourself and that’s the way the whole world sees you, but that’s wrong.

“There are some amazing trans kids who take on the world and I admire them, but the other option is to retreat into yourself and try your very hardest to put on this show, constantly trying to be something you are not. It’s like you are stuck into this tiny little box and you can’t move”.

ON a sweltering day in the rear garden of a Consett café, Dominic recalls taking the daunting decision to tell his family and begin the long process of gender reassignment.

“The hardest part was accepting it and accepting that I could no longer ignore it,” he remembers. “It was that point where everything that you have tried isn’t working: it’s very stark: either you carry on a broken system which isn’t sustainable or you accept that the hard path is the one you have to tread.

“It was hugely daunting. I remember that summer looking ahead into the future: it seemed like the biggest, most impossible mountain I could ever attempt to climb – I had no idea how to even start.

“For me, the most important thing was telling people who I was and starting to peel away all the layers of trying to be something I am not.

Having made the life-changing decision, Dominic then faced an 18-month wait on an NHS waiting list. “In Britain on the NHS we have the best system in the world, we have the best gender care doctors in the world, but the waiting lists are measured in years. That is hard, that needs to change”.

He moved back to Durham and, in autumn 2015, completed the process of legally changing his name and informing the wider world, via social media.

“For me, coming out on Facebook was the most difficult thing to do, because you make yourself vulnerable. I sat in my newly-rented front room in Gilesgate and wrote that post, but the support and love which came back was just amazing.

“There are trans people I know whose parents reacted very badly, but there are so many more where that didn’t happen”.

AT the last General Election, Emily Brothers became the first transgender candidate to stand for Westminster, standing for Labour in Sutton and Cheam and finishing third. Two years on, Dominic is one of nine: four Greens, three Lib Dems and two Labour.

Dominic was a Labour Party member during his 20s and made his political transition while in hospital recovering from surgery.

“Joining the Green Party felt very much a political version of what happened to me as a person: what change do we need to make as a society? All the old systems were broken and politics had stopped working.

“In the General Election we are being asked some fundamental about who we are, the choices we make now will affect who we are in the future”.

Despite standing in a traditional former industrial constituency, Dominic says he has encountered no problems during the campaign.

“It hasn’t come up on the doorstep,” he says. “People are far more interested in policies and what I am saying and how that affects their lives.

“One thing which I have very much appreciated about transitioning in Durham is people genuinely don’t come to it with an agenda. By far the most prevalent attitude is people look at me as an individual, they see a person and don’t tip-toe around the right words to use, they just relate as one human being to another.

“The growth of Durham Pride just gives the complete lie to the idea that everyone is very rigidly traditional.

“We can live our lives to the fullest within our communities and with the support of our communities”.

He is now hoping to win over the communities of North-West Durham to the Green Party message.

“It’s not just about the environment and recycling, important as that is, it’s about a real functioning democracy, people taking charge of their own lives and own decisions.

“We need to take that next step – we need to make much bigger changes”.