Women’s Institute puts proud trans woman on magazine cover for historic first
Petra Wenham, 74, said she was “honored” to be the first trans person to appear on the cover of WI Life magazine. (Twitter / WILifeMagazine)
The Women’s Institute (WI) first featured a trans woman on the cover of their magazine: 74-year-old activist Petra Wenham.
Petra, a member of Cake and Revolution WI in Suffolk, said she was “honored” to be the first trans person to cover the cover of WI Life.
In the magazine, she explained that she turned out to be trans to his wife, Loraine, in 2015 and came out publicly in 2018.
Around the same time, she started giving a talk to other WI groups titled, “Have you ever met a trans woman?”
In it, she explains to members the difference between sex and gender, what it’s like to grow up trans, what it means to be intersex, and the cost of transitioning, among other topics.
Petra wants to show WI members that “the human condition is complex and gloriously.”
She added: “I have the opportunity to dispel the myths. This is a big problem: there is a lot of misinformation.
She loves the WI fraternity and the friends she made at Cake and Revolution WI. Petra is married to Loraine and is an inspiring speaker. Petra is also a proud trans woman and this month she’s making our cover.
Learn more here: https://t.co/DPXXxHbjvG pic.twitter.com/IUbIeTp4Yz
– WI Life Magazine (@WILifemagazine) June 29, 2021
WI’s first trans cover star Petra has happily been married to his wife for 48 years
Throughout Petra’s journey, his wife, with whom she has two children and two grandchildren, has been his “rock”.
“I am very fortunate to still have my wife Loraine and we have been happily married for 48 years,” she said.
“She’s my rock and that gives me a much better base to speak to than some trans people who have been kicked out by their partners or who suffer from depression.”
Just as his wife fully embraced her, so did the WI.
She said: “WI members don’t just accept, but actively support me and welcome me into the fellowship… WI allows me to make friendships with other women, which I need, to build a friendship base besides Loraine. “
The Women’s Institute “welcomes all women” since 1915
The news of Petra’s magazine cover sparked a predictable stack on social media from anti-trans feminists, who even turned on Nigella Lawson for calling the news “charming.”
Oh wake up Nigella. And I seem to remember that you were the victim of domestic violence? This photo at the restaurant with the ex?
– Laura Berrill (@LauraBerrillPR) July 1, 2021
But the organization did not fail to stress in the article that it “welcomes all women and has done so since day one in 1915”.
t issued a public statement in the 2000s to clarify its position, and has since worked with the trans education charity Gendered Intelligence to draft its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
Melissa Green, general secretary of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), told the East Anglian Daily Times: “WI is proudly a trans-inclusive organization… Trans women are welcome to join WI and participate in meetings and activities in the same way as any other woman.
“We were delighted to feature Petra on the cover of the latest WI Life magazine and share her inspiring work as a speaker and activist.
“It is wonderful that Petra has been welcomed into her WI with such kindness and it reflects the ethics of WI – it is about women coming together in a friendly and inclusive environment, learning new things and making a difference in their communities. “