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How would you describe your identity? Um, I'd say that I'm transsexual. Um, that B identified trends that I I have transitioned, um, and that my gender presentation varies. Do you think the way that we talk about, uh, um, sex orientation and gender has changed much over time? Dramatically. Um, hugely. So, uh, I mean, 20 years ago, [00:00:30] I would now do this publicly and get the response they have. It's people have been awesome. People have been supportive for the most part. Um, it's changed a huge amount. Yeah. When did you first become aware that your was different? Um, I first really became aware of it around age 18 or so. 18 or 19. Um, I graduated from school high school. Bunch of things in my life fell apart at once. Um, moved [00:01:00] out, and I was dealing with pretty severe depression at the time. Friend kicked my ass and and told me that I had to look into it. I had to figure out why I was so down all the time. That led to me discovering I had severe gender dysphoria. I didn't identify as a guy at all that I wanted to transition. How did you go about discovering it? It was a long, hard process. I had a lot of denial, Um, mostly by just slowly admitting to myself that my thoughts and feelings were were OK [00:01:30] and that it was fine and a lot of it by doing the research, looking things up on the Internet, seeing that there were people out there who had similar stories to mind similar feelings to mine and that they've become happier by transitioning and that that been able to accept it. Um, and it really helped finding a wider variety of people talking about different, different. Everyone's got a different story to it. And so it's just from talking to people in a different way, so to describe their transition. And I found something that fit with me in my experience, and that really helped. [00:02:00] What were the kind of ones that you related to? Um, well, people saying they're getting away from that whole seventies eighties stereotypical narrative of I knew since I was a kid and I've always been exceptionally girly in every way, and that doesn't fit me. It doesn't have it never has. And it never will. Um, and funny people talking about discovering their agenda later in life. People who had transitioned to be less fem in in their presentation who weren't who weren't always given a really you know, um, [00:02:30] just things like that. Do you find it? Um, has it been quite hard not fitting into that typical narrative that's portrayed or what it's it hasn't it would have. It would have been hard a while ago, I think. But these days it's a lot of people who who deal with that kind of stuff, have a much better idea that there is one more way to be Trans. Um, I just didn't have that idea myself for a while, and I mean, because, stereotypically, you only do see one kind of trans person portrayed in the media for the most part, [00:03:00] when it comes to stories and fictional stuff, when they start interviewing people, of course you get better. Better diversity and better representation of people's lives are actually like, But when someone thinks someone who's not Trans thinks about, I want trans person, then they want to write about it. That's always what we end up going back to. So have you been kind of repressing um, your feelings and thoughts about it for a while before you discovered it? Yes, I think so. Quite, quite strongly. Um, it's one of the things where I I told [00:03:30] myself this. Um, if you go looking for evidence of it in your childhood and things like that, you'll find it. You'll find it because you are looking. It doesn't matter if it was there or not. You You know, there's always something that you can interpret, as I had cross to feelings from a young age, so I'm kind of a bit reluctant to do that. But I'm quite certain that I was feeling this way around the beginning of puberty. I don't remember a lot from them. I'm pretty sure I've repressed most of it pretty heavily because it was not a fun time. Um, my body was changing in ways it felt [00:04:00] alien. It felt horrible and that I couldn't deal with what was high school like for you. Whereabouts. Did you grow up? Um, I grew up here in Christchurch. Um, high school was OK. Actually, it was a bit mixed. I've been bullied a lot for a primary, intermediate and high school is the first chance to get away from that, hang out with people who I like to know I want to spend time with and to I was just kind of figure myself out, I guess. Um [00:04:30] and of course, I felt it horribly. But I made Did you witness kind of much homophobia or transphobia happening there or No, but my school was very accepting. Um, there are very few people at my school who are out about their sexuality agenda. And so there wasn't a lot of reaction from my peers about it. Um, everyone pretended that was the thing no one was doing, but the administration and the staff were all awesome about it and were all, like, you know, willing to be accepting of it. Um, but it was [00:05:00] a very but I know that not all schools would have been like that. Do you think it's had a, um, being a trans person in the South Island? I wouldn't know, To be honest, I mean, I only get to grow up in one place, right? Um, there are some things that are probably a bit more difficult about it. Um, access to medical care isn't always as good as it should be. Um, you need to go see a psychiatrist at the moment and get a diagnosis of I think it's gender dysphoria now. DS M five. Used to be. [00:05:30] You get diagnosis of gender identity disorder. You need to go see a psychiatrist for this. I'm not a psychologist. My psychiatrist was very insistent on difference. Apparently means doing an MD on top of your psych degree. Um, and also, about 100 $200 an hour extra? Um, yeah, well, I had to see them privately. Um, there was only one who was seeing people publicly, and she had a reputation for kind of fucking around, I guess. Just not really getting stuff done fast on time. Um, I had a friend who was a very [00:06:00] I guess. Stereotypical case been cross dressing publicly since age 13. Um, through the age 18 or so, Took four sessions to diagnose her and only ended up giving her the diagnosis and the referral, in the end, because she barricaded herself in Psych's office and refused to just refused to leave until she got a diagnosis. By comparison, my psych did one hour and a half session for a diagnosis. So, yeah, um, there's not a lot of options people [00:06:30] can see and there's not a lot of I don't know. I could definitely do things being better there, I suppose. And I've heard that it is better some places in the North Island and that it varies depending on which way you're transitioning. Yeah, um, I've heard it's better for trans guys in some places and better for Trans Girls and others, that's all. There's no like standard of care, which is really frustrating. Yeah, or you. There is a standard of care, but it's not like everywhere sticks to [00:07:00] it. And it's not you. You'd think that it would be everywhere the DH B would be all like. OK, we need at least one site. Who can? Who's willing to take trans patients? We need at least one endocrinologist to prescribe them. We need this to be publicly available. It's got to be, you know, within four or five months or so minimum for each one, any more or sorry maximum not minimum any more than that. It's just to to get ridiculous, and I don't know if we even have that at the moment in Christchurch. [00:07:30] Um, so once you've, um, kind of figured out and learn about, um what was when you were 18? What did you do? Um, well, I was slowly working my way through the denial, admitting that I I was probably transsexual and I wanted to transition and that it would be helpful. And it would be good for me once it got to the point of admitting that this is who I was. And this was what I wanted to do. And then I wanted to start hormone therapy, and I want to do it now. And each of those is an individual step taking a couple of weeks to sort out. [00:08:00] Um, I haven't talked to my GP about it, Um, which, looking back on it was not It could have gone better than it did. He was willing to be helpful and completely and totally clueless. And it would have gotten much better if I just thrown a copy of the W and a at him And like, highlighted the relevant bits and gone. No, I know more about you than this. I've done the research. I've looked it up. Give me a freaking referral to a cycle ready? It's hard to get that. He spent a couple of months [00:08:30] fucking around doing the wrong thing. Um, but eventually, Yeah, he got me. Got me a referral. Um, when did you did you come out last? I did. I have I I'm out to most people in my life. Um, it was rough at first. Um, I was basically forced out of the closet by the guy I was petting at the time. Oh, yeah? Well, I've been trying [00:09:00] to have sex and I've been going horrifically and all kinds of dysphoria, and he knew something was up and I wasn't OK. And the thing I wasn't talking about him and he he literally just at one point when I broke down crying, he literally just like, No, I'm looking at the bottom of this. Is it in certain problem here? Is it That is it. This is it. The other thing. And when he asked me if I had gender issues after about 15 minutes of going through various things, um, I just couldn't deny it, really. And that's how I came out to him. And then he was also about, um [00:09:30] he was heavily involved in the BBC community at the time, did cross dressing as a fit, um, wanting to lend me a skirt and get me shaved and you know, things like that. And it helped a bit telling someone that secret I had and having them go. Yeah, sure. OK, whatever. Um, and that relationship didn't last, but I still owe him a lot just because he got me out of the closet and then it was easier to come up to the next person, and I was able to do it myself and then the one after that. And it keeps getting easier. [00:10:00] The more you do what I find do you find that it's something that you have to keep constantly doing a bit less these days than what I used to When I first started coming out to people, um, they had no idea. Um, and so it was. I had to tell each person, and I was always a surprise for them. Um, when I started actually transitioning and got a hormone treatment, it became a lot more obvious to my friends. Started dressing a bit differently, started asking to use a different name pronounce at that point, I was basically adding myself [00:10:30] to everyone. I met him. Now it's gone to the point where I sometimes have to out myself to people I've met because they don't realise that I have transitioned. What kind of reactions did you get from friends and family? Mostly supportive. I have awesome friends. Um, I have awesome, wonderful friends who have really been really supportive about it. Really helpful. Even when they don't understand. Family's been a little bit a little bit trickier. Um, but I think my parents accepted a long time [00:11:00] ago that I'm not going to be who they want me to be. I'm not gonna do things my own way. And I think they'd rather be included in my in my life than not so Yeah, um, and they've been kind of supportive, but also very confused. Yeah. Have you experienced much transphobia? But yeah, um I don't have not a huge amount personally, Um, but for a while, during the awkward, androgynous phase, I [00:11:30] was There's definitely a lot of people who I mean, a lot of people would look I mean, they do the whole classic double take thing of Oh, this person over there. Look away. Hang on. Wait a minute. Is that a guy or a girl? Um, some of them got vocal about it A bit rude about it, but in my face about it. Um, yeah, especially kids. L kids can be brutally, brutally mean. Not not more Children. Children tend to be like young Children. Tend to be really kind of OK, that's the thing you're [00:12:00] doing. Whatever. They don't have any ideas about it already. Once you get up to like, young teenagers, though, they're very much trying to fit in. They're trying to perform, and they're trying to figure themselves out. And they can be absolutely horrific to people who don't fit in a bunch of, um, yeah, having a bunch of 10 guys yelling at me that I'm a faggot doesn't want to pass, not experience. I want to repeat. No, but to be fair, I'm lucky that that's about as bad as it's been. Um, a couple of people on the Internet have been horrific, but I'm sure some of them were trolling. [00:12:30] Um What did you do after high school? Have you done any study? Yeah, I've tried to tertiary study twice now and it hasn't gone well over time. The first time I was trying to do a compensate degree at the same time as I figured myself out, um, had severe depression at the time. Um, obsessing over gender issues. It kind of got on the way of my study. Um, so I failed the first year of that and dropped out. Um, took a couple of breaks. Took a couple of years as a break [00:13:00] just to get my transition sorted and tried for audio engineering degree in 2012. Um, and that didn't go great. One applied for passionate scholarship on that one. It cost dragging, and that didn't go great either. So I don't really know what I'm doing now. What? Um was it like being in that kind of environment? Was there any chance I'll be there? What? People at the uni there wasn't. Not that I noticed that I would have noticed [00:13:30] at the time. Um, it means there was It was one of the first places where I wasn't out to people. I wasn't out to my classmates, and that felt good. It was good to have a part of my life where I wasn't out to people. Um, where it wasn't an issue. I was out to the teachers and the staff there. Oh, I had to be. My documentation was a bit mixed up at the time. It still is. Um, but they are mostly pretty, pretty awesome about it. Um, there was one guy who was a bit old who did not get it. Um, he [00:14:00] just was completely and totally confused. Um, I had a lot of awkward questions to ask about it, which is fine. I try and answer those in places and times when I'm out just to because, I mean, people are curious about it. It's not something I've experienced. I do try and answer that. Um, it was a bit awkward. Um tried to explain to him that I was trans and gay, and he got completely the wrong idea and assumed that I had to explain to him No, that actually I'm gay because I create a date other woman, and he just [00:14:30] that just broken me. Just took, like, 10 seconds to just stop and think about that. So sorry. People seem to think that sexuality correlated and yeah, and figuring out that they weren't correlated. Um helped me to accept my own transition because I had at the time I had a good idea about my own sexuality. Now, I'm not so sure, but yeah, um and so figuring out that, actually, yes, you could transition and be a trans lesbian. And [00:15:00] that was a thing people could do That was really awesome. And that helped me accept myself in terms of my gender. Cool. How did you, um, clarify for yourself or find out that that was a OK for to be mostly by seeing people talking about it online again, sharing their experiences and discussing them that this is what they do? This is what they did. Um, reading basic trends. One on one stuff. Step one. Gender is not sex is not sexual orientation. Yeah. [00:15:30] Um, do you think social media and the Internet is playing more of a part in the way that we, um, find information and build community connect? Definitely. Yeah. To a huge degree. Um, what's hard to find? Even a real life community these days. It's not organised on Facebook or something. Um, that isn't organised online and planned online. Um, but just going out there and seeing other people's experience. There's one thing the Internet was fantastic for. It's talking to people and realising that you're not alone. [00:16:00] Maybe only one in 5000 people has got something similar going on to what you do. Um, in real life, you'll never meet them on the Internet. You know, you can go find that group of people who have exactly the same interests feel exactly the same the same way about themselves or their lives. Um, so, yeah, was it easy to find that kind of online community? Relatively, Yeah. I never really took part much in in many communities. I mostly, um, mostly lurked mostly just read stuff, but yeah, So I'm [00:16:30] able to find a bunch of different bunch of different options, different communities. And, um, is that something that's important to you to kind of have a sense of community and belong to me personally? Not to. Not much, No, Not really. Um, it was important to me at the time that I could find other people whose experiences I could relate to, and they helped me understand myself. Nowadays it's not someone. No, I mean, it is nice to have people where I can talk to, and they get it with regard to her trans issues. [00:17:00] Um, by friends who are also transgender. Um, yeah. Have you been involved in any of the, um, support groups in Christchurch? Yeah, for a little bit. Um, I was going on forge pretty regularly for a while. Um, I'm a little bit off that they're as associate of utopia, and I'm definitely 12 utopia. Um, but I found that to be an awesome, fantastic group of people. The best thing was, they didn't even talk about trans stuff. Most of the time, they're just sitting there just chatting about whatever wonderful, [00:17:30] fantastic group of people. Um, And it was nice to just be able to bring up the way they're being trans, affecting my life. And everyone goes, Yeah, I've been there, you know? Yeah. I get that talk about their experiences of things like changing your name, for example. Cool. Um, as we went along to a gender events once or twice. Um, going along to the dropping room at the old community house was very helpful for me. Um, having someone to talk to. And I didn't really have anyone in my life. I wanted to admit it to. I was having [00:18:00] trouble even admitting it to myself, going along and talking to Christine. Was it? An old lady used to run that That was really helpful. How did you find, um, things like getting your gender changed legally or name changed? I haven't really changed my gender legally. I've looked into it. It's complicated. I'm reapplying for my passport at the moment, and they've updated the process recently in 2009. I think so. Not that long ago. Such that it's now really easy to get [00:18:30] your gender changed in your passport. But that's only on your passport, but I think that'll be enough for me for now. That'll get me legal. A photo ID that has everything. Correct. I've legally changed my name, and that was about would have been about two years ago now. 2.5. Um, and that was mostly a fairly easy process. Yeah. What do you think about the banker and Chinese? People are represented in the media. Well, it's weird, to be honest. I mean, [00:19:00] I don't know. I don't consume a lot of traditional media anymore. Um, but they always when they're when they're reporting on trans people out out in the world, when it's when people are talking about things that have happened and the things that are real, um, they always make an issue of it. They always mention it if they find out and they always try and tie it into whatever is happening and they always it always comes up. Um, in fictional stuff. Yeah, most people don't have [00:19:30] to completely clueless about it. And only just like the last five or six years, time to figure out that, actually, maybe ha ha, that person's Trans and that good of a joke. Um, but things are getting better, um, things improving over time. People, you know, people take it more seriously. Some TV shows now are getting trans actors to play trans roles, which is you'd think there'd be no shit seriously kind of thing. But apparently it took a while for them to realise that. What are some of those? Um, [00:20:00] I don't really watch much of it myself. I most talking about things. I read about people talking about it, and I don't watch a lot of TV. Um, I heard good things about the trans character and orange is the new black few other things. Yeah, for years. Um, see, um, any characters or storylines in any kind of me? Maybe books to many movies that you can relate to? Not really. No. I don't see people like myself represented at all. Um, I mean, I do it some very niche stuff again on the Internet. [00:20:30] What do you think there needs to read more from the media? I think we need more queer people creating stuff to be honest and not just indie or self published, short Internet only stuff, but actually getting to the top levels of the traditional publishing companies and just writing their experiences, writing their friends experiences and giving these really true, honest stories. Um, they get away from the stereotypes and close to people's real lives. How do you feel about [00:21:00] the marriage equality bill that passed last year? Oh, I think overall it was a good thing. But, um, I think the civil unions, when we got in 2004 was more of a big deal. I don't think we got much out of marriage Equality Bill other than the adoption rights thing, and the use of the word marriage. To be honest, the I know civil unions are a bit of a second class thing in some places. But what we had, what we had here, what we have here still for civil unions is basically equivalent to marriage in every way. [00:21:30] Um, so I don't think it's that big a deal as people making it out to me. It doesn't really affect my life that much. Are you aware of, um, Bill going through parliament at the moment that puts, um, gender into the Human Rights Act? Um, I heard of it. Vaguely. Yeah. Also, about time for that hurricane, you know, like, why is it no, um, have you been involved or followed much in your kind of activism or politics? Not really. No. [00:22:00] Um, no, that's cool. And what do you think are some of the most important issues that are facing Queen Trans people in New Zealand at the moment, I still think access to health care is a big one. things like making sure that everyone can get to a site when they need to, and that it is publicly funded. Um, that everyone can get to an end when they need to. And it is publicly funded that both of these happen on a reasonable kind of time frame. Um, and support for surgery as well? Um, yeah. [00:22:30] Where do you think we might be in 10 years time? Hopefully a lot better on all the stuff I've been talking about. Better access to medical care more timely, more publicly funded. Um, better representation in the media. More people have an idea of what it is less having to explain trends One on one all the time, hopefully more inclusion and and the general education stuff if someone are covered. You know, being transsexual is a thing you can do, and you might not know. Um, you might [00:23:00] you might not be aware that you might not be aware that it can be good for you. It could be good for you. Um, if something like that have been included in a sexy class at school, it would be helpful. And I think she I don't know if that's feasible in 10 years, but I think it's doable. You know, in the future that we will be telling our kids that being friends is a thing you can do, and then a lot of them will have better lives because of it. Um, what, have you had? Positive reactions, or has anyone kind of challenged? You challenged [00:23:30] you for being, um, a trans woman who doesn't fit into that? Um, feminine kind of. No, not me. Personally, I've had friends who've had bad experiences with that. Um, one of the reasons I don't go along to a events at the moment is because the Facebook page has a lot of older trans women who are very much. There is exactly one way to be Trans, and they've found it. And oh, you're not perfectly binary identified. Surgery is not your [00:24:00] instant highest priority. I'm sorry you're not transsexual. I'm not respecting your gender. I'm not respecting your pronouns. I'm not respecting your name. I'll ask you without your permission. You know, horrific stuff. Um, the problem of trying to have an inclusive, inclusive group for everyone. Is there some people we just don't want to include? So do you see quite a lot of, um, conflict or differing ideas between generations? Yeah, well, yeah. And I think, um, it shows [00:24:30] most when you look at non binary identified people and gender queer issues. I think because that's a very recent thing, we understand that there is a thing you can do. People actually identify in that way the whole idea of a partial transition. Um, I think to a lot of older trans women, that just seems like blasphemy. OK, so, um, there's kind of a gap or need for people around your age. I'm not. I'm not gonna say it wouldn't help. No, but I think a bit more understanding around can do. [00:25:00] It could help. I mean, a lot of the older trans women and you very much did have to jump through hoops. And you did have to conform to that narrative. And you had to either fake being convincingly feminine or you had to lie to your psych about it. I think nowadays it's possible to be more honest with your medical providers, and that's a good thing. If you could give a message, um, to a young trans person struggling to come out or repressing it, what would you say? [00:25:30] I don't really know. To be honest, I'm not sure I have much advice for that. Um, what would have been helpful for you to hear. I think the thing I'd say is that you do do do it if it's for you. If it feels right to you, then do it. Because living authentically to yourself is entirely worth it. And a lot of people around you, they might react better than you expect. Um, yeah. And what's [00:26:00] your favourite thing about being a young 20 Children in New Zealand? I don't really know, to be honest, um, most of the things have been good about it have been that I feel good about myself and that I feel confident that, um that I'm not actually dealing with that much transphobia and the overall, it's been like, dysphoria sucks. But transition has been awesome. Uh, really, really great. Um, so I guess the results I've got from that the way [00:26:30] I look, the way I present myself, all that stuff is awesome. Boobs. Boobs are fantastic. Um, yeah, right.
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