Former Capital FM and Hit40uk presenter Simon Hirst aka Hirsty has told BBC Radio 5 live he’s undergoing gender reassignment treatment.
Hirsty was on the station being interviewed by Stephen Nolan on Saturday night, where the two discussed Hirsty’s transgender status.
It’s the first time Hirsty has talked publicly about the situation, saying “I’ve known about this from an early age, about 8 or 9.”
Hirsty suddenly disappeared from Capital FM in June after 14 years on breakfast radio in Yorkshire.
Nolan asked Why Now? “Because I got to a point in my life where I had to have time out to focus on me.”
Hirsty said: “There were many times on the air where I nearly said that, you know, I’m transgender.”
“I felt like a square peg in a round hole, but I didn’t know why. At the age of 10 I used to be in my mums wardrobe trying on her clothes.”
Hirsty told Nolan “I’m halfway through gender reassignment treatment and, this week, changed my name to Stephanie Hirst.”
Friends and listeners have showed support on social media.
— John Collins (@BrumJC) October 11, 2014
Incredibly brave and incredibly proud, so much respect @hirstydose
— Tom Green (@thisistomgreen) October 11, 2014
— James Wilson (@MorningGorgeous) October 11, 2014
— Stuart Ellis (@ellisstuart) October 11, 2014
“I told my bosses at Global Radio that I’m transgender and they were supportive of the process I’m going through,” Hirsty said.
“So why didn’t you stay on air, it can’t be a coincidence can it? Did you sign a confidentiality clause about why you came off air?,” asks Nolan.
“You’ll have to speak to Global about that,” Hirsty says.
Was the rejection from your audience too much of a gamble?
“There was an element of that but I’m still me. I still broadcast the same way, I still say the same things. I’m still me. I’m still the person you listened to every single day. I’m just happy now. And isn’t that what we all want?
“This is probably the last time I will be on the air as Simon. So from when I wake up tomorrow I will be living as Stephanie.”
Global Radio said: “We don’t comment on people’s personal matters. We were sad to see Hirsty leave the breakfast show and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Hirsty started in radio at the age of 12 helping at Radio Aire in Leeds and got her first show at 16 on overnights. Hirsty’s also worked at The Pulse, Viking, Minster and Hallam FM and was host of Hit40uk from 2004 to 2006 after Neil Fox, alongside Katy Hill.