THERE are two things you need to know about transgender people.

Firstly, that they are transitioning – male to female, woman to man.

And secondly, that they are people.

Not freaks. Not weirdos. Not a danger to children, or anyone else. Just people.

Like other people they want a good job, a bit of a holiday, lunch out every now and again, and nice clothes.

This should be obvious, but it’s not. Because all we ever seem to hear about people who are transitioning is scare stories about toilets. The ‘wisdom’ appearing to be that somehow, all transgender people are lurking in the lavvy, trying to scare the living daylights out of the folks who are using them, or pretending to be female so they can assault women.

If it’s not that it’s the frankly lunatic mutterings from people who call themselves feminists, about ‘lived experience’, and whether a person who has transitioned to female can really be a woman. And how many angels, transgender or otherwise, can dance on the head of a pin, probably.

The real truth is that most people haven’t met anyone who is transgender, or who has transitioned. Others may have met one but been unaware of what’s happened or happening to them.

So I can say, with complete confidence, that once they do meet a transitioning person, they may have their views adjusted.

Just like I did.

A few weeks back I was privileged to interview a lady called Cruella. She used to have a different name when she was a boy but, after a lengthy and almost heroic process involving assistance from the health authorities and the kind of fortitude generally required by SAS recruits under attack, she’s female now.

And yes, I’m well aware of the arguments about calling transgender people them or they but I’m not here to butcher the English language and will call Cruella she. Because she is. She looks like a girl, she talks like a girl and, after spending a delightful hour in her company, I couldn’t think of her as anything else, especially when we started chatting about make-up.

Her story was deeply moving. Her description of what it feels like to have a body that is changing every day into something you fear was as sad as it was electrifying. “My body was so vicious to me,” she said, describing the horror she felt as her previously male characteristics continued their inevitable march.

Because of who she is, Cruella claims she was attacked and suffered the kind of bullying that even an adult might find hard to withstand. But she was just a child.

She kindly explained a lot to me about life for many transgender people; the fear of attack or cruelty, the constant expense of hair removal for those transitioning to female. The fact that not every transgender person may want realignment surgery. She is currently raising money for the Make a Wish foundation as part of her bid to become Miss Transgender UK and I really hope she succeeds because she deserves to.

Cruella believes that being transgender is a beautiful thing and I can see what she means as she is the embodiment of that sentiment.

But the facts are absolutely bleak and frankly shame anyone who feels that because someone is trans, they are somehow inferior or deserving of trouble.

A report in 2014 discovered that the average lifespan of a transgender woman in the Americas was between 30 and 35.

In the UK one in eight trans people who work report being attacked by a colleague or a customer. A third of trans people feel they have been discriminated against when patronising a café or restaurant.

A survey by the campaign group Stonewall found that eight out of ten young trans people have self-harmed and about half have attempted to kill themselves. A tenth say they have received death threats while at school.

Yet, despite all this, we still have people who, in my opinion, ought to know better, and who, in other circumstances, are seemingly happy to lecture the rest of us to death, just not seeing the person.

A few weeks back I listened in amazement to the feminist campaigner Germaine Greer apparently likening trans people to spaniels on the Radio 4 Any Questions show. She issued a partial apology but it sounds like a repeat of an old line she’s trotted out before. Frankly, it’s pathetic, and I find these kind of comments disgusting just as I find the convoluted and occasionally toxic feminist debate about this issue a pointless distraction. (In a nutshell, some feminists don’t agree with trans women saying they are ‘real’ women).

As two women every week are still being killed by their male partners. As we STILL earn around 17 per cent less than men for doing work of equal value. As rape and sexual crimes against women soar, you’d think there was more to worry about than whether someone who looks, sounds, thinks, and acts like a woman should be able to use the ladies.

It may come as a shock to those living in the 14th century but the world really isn’t going to end because some people didn’t feel right in the sex they were assigned at birth and wanted to change into another. Get over yourselves.