Most people know her as the ‘Gingers Have Souls’ Youtube troll, but having been through quite a life-changing decision to come out as transgender, there is another side to CopperCab you probably haven’t seen.
A year ago today, Claire Kittrell, formerly Michael, made the brave move of making a coming out video for her audience of trolls where she wore make up and spoke of her struggles with anxiety and depression.
Many branded the video a ‘joke’ or ‘troll’, discouraged from taking Claire seriously due to her history of taking the piss through the Copper Cab channel.
Here’s what Claire had to say when we spoke to her…
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What you may not have known is that the #Transpride video was the first after a five month hiatus from Youtube as Claire was going through Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as well as counselling.
Speaking to UNILAD, Claire said:
Leading up to coming out as trans on Youtube, I’d already kind of accepted who I was. I was going through a lot of anxiety and hypochondria.
I’m in the public light in a way, and I felt like it was a responsibility of mine, to come out and tell people I was trans.
I hadn’t made a video in like six or seven months, I had let everything die down on my Youtube Channel and I was trying to get away from the Internet because there was so much negativity.
Will be posting a video next week explaining that I've been off YouTube for 5 months due to me going through HRT. pic.twitter.com/KGqMe8LLpv
— ☉(The Symbol) (@CopperCab) August 1, 2016
If you follow the funny musings and rants of Coppercab, you may have noticed that he stopped transitioning into a woman and has maintained the appearance of a man.
In the original coming out video, Claire announced she was undertaking HRT and planned to have sex reassignment surgery.
Claire revealed that she had to unfortunately stop physically transitioning due to the health problems that the oestrogen and other medication was causing her.
Claire told us:
I was gaining a lot of weight, my blood pressure was going up, I was having some heart issues, and all the stress and pressure from the Youtube video was making it worse, so my therapist thought that the best thing for me to do at the time was to wind down and come off the medication.
But it doesn’t mean I won’t transition in the future.
It affected me big time. But like I said, I can’t let that stuff weigh me down and try not to dwell on things I can’t change.
If I go out dressing, I feel terribly awkward because I’m growing facial hair because I’m trying to teach myself to let go. I’m getting out of the mindset that it is not about my appearance but how I feel.
Often not being able to physically transition can cause transgender people to suffer from gender dysphoria – a distressing condition that comes when your biological sex doesn’t match with your gender identity.
Because people with gender dysphoria often feel trapped inside a body that they don’t feel is theirs, they can feel extremely unhappy and uncomfortable until they have surgery.
Claire spoke to us about how many people didn’t take her seriously, assuming this was another joke.
I can say I’m an actor, and people will say ‘ah that’s a lie’, and then I can say I’m not an actor and people will say ‘ah an actor like you would say that you’re not an actor. I’m in a rock and a hard place.
So I was like ‘fuck it’, instead of running away from Youtube, which I did for six months when I was an emotional wreck.
I didn’t think everyone would make such a big deal of it, and it stressed me out so much. Everything’s quiet, I make a legitimate video in which I even said ‘I’ve joked around in the past’, and I was worried that people might take it the wrong way, but I would never joke about something like that.
It’s my fault really because I have accidentally blurred the line on my channel between what’s real and what’s not. I have made videos in the past that are joking. I made a dating profile video that was obviously a complete joke, but then I make anti-bullying rants which are serious.
I just hate labels. I think human being should come first and then everything else. A trans person is a person who happens to be trans. I’m a person.
Despite being advised not to come out on Youtube by her therapist, Claire said she wanted someone out there to think ‘CopperCab is trans. This person who I have been watching for years has come out as trans’ in order to ‘normalise’ it and ‘create a feeling of relation to somebody’.
Outraged at the fact that someone coming out as Trans was such big news that she was more popular than Jaden Smith for the day, Claire said ‘let it be news until it’s not news’.
Had to fight through an anxiety attack, but I finally gathered up the strength to do the video… Fixing to upload it now.
— ☉(The Symbol) (@CopperCab) August 2, 2016
The Youtuber said:
I didn’t think coming out would cause my video to go viral. I didn’t think that would be a viral thing. Why is it new that people are gay? Why is it news that someone is trans? Why is it fucking news? It’s 2017! We’re talking from across the world right now, why are there people who are out there who are cave men? It shouldn’t be news, but it is which is fine, and let it be news until it’s not news.
I didn’t want any part of it because I saw what was happening it was the same shit that happened with Gingers Do Have Souls where I come to Youtube looking to genuinely express myself in a positive way to try and be constructive not destructive and everyone comes at me. I said my piece and I got out to figure some shit out, and now I’m back and I’m more chilled now.
Being trans isn’t a problem, but people make it a problem. Society makes it an issue, it doesn’t have to be an issue. Everyone has a fucking opinion. I don’t care what religion you are, what race you are, who you like to fuck, but I don’t give a shit. It doesn’t affect me. Everyone should mind their own business or if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
I do NOT want to appear weak. In fact I'm stronger now than I ever was.
— ☉(The Symbol) (@CopperCab) August 2, 2016
Claire has been rejected by some of her family, and after suffering the tragedy of her mother passing away, plus her father abandoning the family due to his alleged drug addiction, she relies on her grandmother ‘Mema’ who can be seen in a lot of her videos.
When the Gingers Have Souls video came out seven years ago, she wasn’t expecting anyone to watch it, and Claire expressed it was a serious rant after watching the South Park episode and being regularly bullied at school for being ginger.
The 24-year-old Youtuber was actually having a panic attack when filming the coming out video, saying she was ‘battling some of the worst anxiety of my entire life, panic attacks, de-personalisation when you feel like you’re above your body’.
The Internet did also respond with a lot of kindness to Claire coming out as transgender, and she smiled as she recalled the moment she looked at her Wikipedia page and saw that all the ‘he’s’ has been changed to ‘she’s’.
During our interview, Claire and I also discussed the interesting topic of ‘trans-trending’ which describes the media’s attention to trans issues only when it is popular.
After she came out, Claire was offered a TV deal by E Entertainment to meet her hero Caitlyn Jenner, but after they had ratings issues with the Kardashian clan member, they dropped the TV show.
Here is Claire’s reaction to Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military…
Trans issues don’t go away when the media closes its eyes to them, so it’s a shame that they are not represented in mainstream media all the time.
In an empowering message to other trans people, Claire said:
I would say to all the people out there who are trans ad are worried about coming out and worried about what others may think of you. You don’t need to worry about what other people expect of you. You just worry about what you expect of yourself and worry about your own happiness because they’re not worried about you being happy.
If they’re going to judge you for being yourself, then obviously you shouldn’t care about them. Some people you can’t reason with, we’re not at that point in society yet. But there are a lot of people, like me, who do love you. Everybody deserves to be happy. I love all of you. We are people first. And we are equal. People are equal.
— ☉(The Symbol) (@CopperCab) February 23, 2017
In the future, she plans to fully transition but it’s not instant, or in her words ‘I can’t write a letter to Santa Claus and then wake up with tits’.
Clearly Claire Kittrell is someone who no one on the Internet seems to get, so I’m going to suggest Miss Understood as her new pseudonym.