A DEBUT memoir from a former Dorchester student explores the homophobia and transphobia they endured during their youth, before going on to become a well-known figure in the LGBTQ+ community.

Jamie Windust is an award-winning non-binary writer, public speaker and model from London. They have written for The Independent, Gay Times, British GQ, Cosmopolitan and INTO More, and were named as one of London’s most influential people, in the story telling category, by the Evening Standard. In Their Shoes is their first book and is set for release tomorrow.

The book has received praise from Stylist Magazine, Gay Times and Audible UK, in which they're also releasing their debut audio book, narrated by Jamie.

Jamie said: "The book takes a humorous yet personal look at the ways in which I have navigated my sexuality and gender identity over my time living in Dorset, and how it has evolved personally for myself after leaving and living and working in London. It's really a book for everyone to learn how to live unapologetically. I wanted to write it to be able to continue my passion of sharing stories, and being a storyteller, but also to allow other people in small towns up and down the country to see that their identity is not something that they should feel ashamed of in anyway.

"I grew up in Dorchester, attended The Thomas Hardye School and subsequent sixth form, and worked in the county town, so it does take up a large proportion of the book. It was a tough time. Looking back on it, and writing those sections of my life was hard because often the environments that I found myself within were not open and caring, and were sadly filled with homophobia and transphobia.

"Over time, I hope that that's changing in Dorset, and when I do return to visit family there is a warmer air. Writing about my experiences in Dorchester was important because often the LGBTQ+ community in small towns can feel non-existent, so I wanted to provide advice and tips on how fellow queer people can find their community outside of their home towns.

"This summer I was named as Contributing Editor at Gay Times, and it's a great chance for me to remember what it was like being young in Dorset, and wanting to work and engage with publications such as Gay Times. So it's reflective, and it's warming to know that I have been able to achieve successes since my time in Dorset, and use my position at the publication to shine a light on stories from people from similar small towns up and down the country, and across the world."