‘I am what I am’: transgender chorister sings on reality show

05 April 2019

REMARKABLE TV/GUY LEVY/BBC

Singer Harrison Knights

Singer Harrison Knights

A TRANSGENDER chorister is to perform on the BBC reality TV show All Together Now.

Harrison Knights, aged 24, a former girl chorister at Tewkesbury Abbey, transitioned at the age of 18. He was supported by his parents, who are both priests, and by his church community.

Mr Knights will sing “I Am What I Am” in the BBC1 show on Saturday, a song which he dedicates to other members of the transgender community.

His father is Canon Paul Williams, Vicar of Tewkesbury Abbey, and his mother, Catherine, is a priest and writer.

Mr Knights began his singing career as a treble in the Abbey choir at the age of eight. After he began taking testosterone, his voice dropped from an alto to baritone.

Mr Williams said: “When he came to us and said he thought he was trans, it was hard for us all, but we were hugely supported by the Abbey, and the community here. We went to family therapy as a whole family, and that was brilliant.

“There were times when we cried ourselves to sleep because we didn’t understand what would happen, but I’ve discovered you live life forward and understand it backward. I was worried perhaps, wondering ‘Are people going to wag their heads?’, but absolutely not. . . We just wanted Harry to become what he was meant to be.”

Mr Williams said that the family’s faith had been deepened by the past few years.

“St Paul says, I am what I am by the grace of God — Harrison knows who he is now.

“After his transition he had his choir robes changed, everything was changed to say Harrison, and it was very moving, actually. . . He hasn’t felt the need for a service yet, but it is great that he could now choose to have a reaffirmation of his baptismal vows if he wants. In time, he may think about that. Thank God that option is there now.”

Mr Knights is studying music at the Birmingham Conservatoire, but also acts in musical theatre. He was the first out trans person to perform in a National YouthMusic Theatre production when he performed in Brass in 2016.

In a video interview for the BBC, Mr Knights said that music had been his way of expressing himself “without gender constructs”. “Singing is such a brilliant way of expressing yourself and I love it; I love doing it,” he said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/clip/e824965b-496d-4e04-882e-f5e7c789e023

All Together Now is on BBC 1 on Saturday, at 7.30 p.m.

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