A transgender activist who bravely went to court to stand up against a transphobic abuser is appealing for anyone struggling with their true identity to get in touch.
Marteene Pringle, who lives in Aylesbury recently attended Oxford Magistrates Court to see a man who made transphobic abusive comments and also spat at her at work, found guilty of the crime.
She says that life can be hard as a transgender woman, but through her work as an LGBTQI representative for a police working group in Aylesbury, various transgender charity groups and through her own Facebook group Aylesbury Vale Transgender and Friends community , she has found strength in the community and would like to offer the same to others.
She said: "Aylesbury is a very friendly place and I don't get bothered here, but people are scared and it is getting worse for trans people in general.
"I am a very strong person, but even for me it can be hard. The problem is education and people don't realise what transgender people go through. When you tell them they just didn't know.
"I know that there are at least 300 transgender people in Aylesbury, but how many do you see?
"Nationally the suicide rate is very high and I want to let people know to get in touch on Facebook, because we can direct them to services and help which is out there, and we can all support each other.
"My aim has always been to support people who are scared to come out, because I want everyone to be happy and enjoy life."
And speaking about the recent incident, which saw Marteene accosted by a customer as she was closing the shop where she works, she said: "I got abused and I went to court and I'm glad that I did because it proves to other people that this is wrong, and you can get somewhere.
"I didn't care if he was found guilty or not, I just wanted to see him in court and prove that crimes like this are taken seriously."
Nationally Marteene is also a recognised activist in the transgender community, and is currently campaigning for the Gender Identity Recognition Act, which would be a change in the law to make it easier for transgender people to fully identify on documents including their birth certificate - something that is currently difficult.
She said: "I can't change the world but hopefully I can do something. I'm very much an activist because I hate what's happening. Everyone is trying to live their lives, but there is always someone who tries to spoil it for them."
If you would like to access the Aylesbury Vale Transgender and Friends community group go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/395324341004480/