Meet Dajo, the autistic transgender student with 37,000 followers

She’s even published her own book

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Dajo is a Drama and Creative Writing student at Liverpool John Moores. She is autistic, transgender, and has battled with depression.

She also has a massive following on social media, with nearly 37,000 Tumblr followers – and she even published her own book in first year.

While Dajo might seem successful, things haven’t been easy for the 22-year-old. She still gets abuse over social media and at one point had to drop out of university.

“When I first started posting pictures of myself in dresses I got really vicious anonymous hate telling me to ‘dress like a man’,” she says. “These days it’s much the same, but recently the great hateful collective have moved on to attempts at body shaming messages. It seems like whatever I’m openly positive or happy about is what people will try and latch onto to send me abuse about. I just delete the messages most of the time and forget about them really quickly.”

Surprisingly the worst comments came from an ex-girlfriend. The first person Dajo decided to tell she was trans.

“She seemed supportive, but it quickly became apparent that it was all an act when we broke up,” Dajo explains. “It turned out she’d outed me as trans to people in her class she knew were transphobic. She sent a message saying if I didn’t ‘take off that skirt and put on some jeans’ she would ‘drag me by my hair up and down the stairs.”

Dajo adds: “People have said more disgusting things to me but this was just so unnecessarily violent and out of nowhere, and what makes it the worst thing anybody’s ever said to me was that it was from somebody I thought I could trust.”

There is not much information out there for young transgender people, and currently there is no solid LGBT education plan for schools. Dajo believe that it would be surprisingly easy to educate young people about being trans because young people are often the most open to learning.

She is also autistic, which makes four things in particular difficult for her: loud environments, talking to people she doesn’t know, a lot of stress happening at once, and parties. Basically every aspect of student life. This, along with clinical depression and a pretty nasty ex-girlfriend led Dajo to suspend her studies in first year, and resume them a year later.

“I was autistic and clinically depressed and surrounded by total strangers who all seemed to already know each other,” she says. “They’d all been to Freshers’ Week and I had spent all of that week eating pizza in my room. It felt awful to drop out but I managed to just have my study suspended so I could return and try first year again.”

Dajo adds: “It put a lot of things in perspective for me. That I needed to be more vocal about asking for support, that I needed to try to not let myself get overwhelmed by nothing, and that frankly I needed to not be dating a transphobe who never paid her half for the pizza. I’m absolutely better off for it- if I hadn’t dropped out and started again.”