Teenager Layla Warlow is living a unique double life both as a man – and a woman.
Some days the youth centre volunteer, 18, wakes up as a woman and chooses to wear a dress and heels, while other days she’s a man and dons baggy jeans and workmen boots.
She can spend as long as three months as her male counterpart Layton then suddenly switch to Layla for as little as a day.
Some past employers have done a double take when Layla suddenly turns up for work dressed as Layton. Now Layla identifies as bi-gender, a term used for people who move between both sexes.
Bi Gender: Teenager Layla Warlow is living a double life both as a man and a woman
Miss Warlow, from Swansea, South Wales, said: “It is very confusing when I first meet someone. A lot of people just don’t understand it as it’s something they’ve never come across before.
“It isn’t a case of me waking up and choosing to dress a certain way. I’ve got no control over whether I’m going to be Layton or Layla on a certain day.”
Growing up, Layla preferred masculine clothes and originally thought she was transgender – a man born in a woman’s body.
But, at the age of 16, she realised that she missed the feminine side of herself and gradually realised that she was bi-gender, both sexes.
Layla or Layton: Some days Layla will dress and act as her male side, Layton
“Living as bi-gender is extremely frustrating. As Layla, I wear lots of make up and love showing off my cleavage. Yet, when I’m Layton, the sight of my breasts make me cry and I hate my feminine body.
“It’s painful but I bind my breasts and often wear a fake facial hair to give me a more masculine look,” she explains.
Layla’s unusual gender identity doesn’t just affect her clothes, it also affects her sexuality. As Layton, she is attracted to women and, as Layla, she is attracted to men.
“Relationships are nearly impossible as I constantly switch between two genders. I’ve been on dates before and I do get chatted up but it never goes any further as they find it hard to come to grips with my situation,” says Layla.
Many Looks: Even when sticking to the same gender, Layla sports a huge range of looks
Her mannerisms even change, with friends saying that is she is much quieter and more giggly when she is Layla while Layton is outspoken and fiery. Layton loves football and is a bit of a lad and Layla prefers time alone and hates sports.
Growing up with her aunt, Layla first began questioning her sexuality when she was 13, originally identifying as bisexual and then wondering if she could be transgender as she felt uncomfortable with her feminine body.
As a child she preferred trousers to skirts and begged her aunt to let her cut her hair short.
By the time she turned 16 she was dressing as a male every day for school and, soon after, began living as transgender, binding her breasts and wearing male clothes.
Body Change: To act as a man, Layla binds her breasts and wears male clothes
Yet after two weeks she realised that she missed being a woman and found the term bi-gender while researching online.
She said: “I found a bi-gender group on Facebook with hundreds of members and suddenly I didn’t quite feel so alone. It was an amazing moment. “I started talking to other bi-gender people from all over the world and at last felt comfortable in my own skin.”
“Sometimes I envy people who know which gender they are supposed to be. For me, it’s a constant battle.
“I have spent most of my teenage life in turmoil over this. Sometimes, I wonder why I can’t wake up as the same person for the rest of my life but I’ve gradually learned to accept both Layton and Layla.
Being bi-gender has also caused problems for Layla finding work.
Work Problems: Layla says not all employees are considerate of her approach
“Most employers aren’t very understanding when their feminine worker suddenly turns up dressed as a man,” she said. “I work at a youth centre and thankfully they’re completely supportive of my gender.
“They even let me have two name tags depending on which sex I come into work as,” she says.
“I know some people may think it is an act, but it is something that I can’t help. It is all subconscious – I even have to have two types of shower gel to please both genders.
“It has taken a while but I have finally accepted that I am bi-gender, it is just something people have to get used to and it is completely natural.”
Raising Awareness: The 18-year-old wants to help people who have issues with sexuality and gender
Layla hopes to raise more awareness for bi-genderism, which has recently become a gender option on Facebook.
She has set up an LGBTQ Facebook group for people to go to for advice who may be confused over their sexuality and gender.
Layla said: “Making friends is so hard, they are always really confused when they have known me as Layton for two or three months all of a sudden he has transformed into a woman with no explanation.
“I have to explain myself to everyone and I wish there was more information available to people who have never heard of the term bi-gender – I still haven’t met another bi-gender person.
“It has taken years for transgender people to become acceptable in society and I think it will be a long road ahead before people stop understand bi-genderism.”
CREDIT : Mirror UK
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