‘I started transitioning when I was 17 – it’s been about 5 years. I grew up on the Central Coast which has a very low trans population. There was probably me and someone else that was known for it in the gay community. Even the gay scene was really low so it was pretty bad.
‘I went to a Catholic School as well. I came out as a lesbian when I was 14 at the school which was not my best choice. I dropped out of high school because I went in to hospital for mental health reasons when I was about 17. And then I decided I needed to transition to a man and start doing the right thing for myself. There were a lot of members of my family who were quite actively not alright with it.
‘It sounds really weird but I didn’t think she [my partner] knew that I was trans because it wasn’t brought up. From the very beginning, there was no issue whatsoever. We’ve never had a problem with that. But on the Coast it was always something that was raised; there were always people talking about it.
‘When we met, she just didn’t give a second thought to being eccentric which helped lessen the anxiety about how people looked at me or how I behaved. Was I feminine or masculine enough? None of her friendship group even addresses that. They’re all so confident. I think her confidence has really rubbed off on me.’
‘Sometimes us Sistergirls don’t like to identify as transgender. We come underneath the umbrella of transgender however we like to be called Sistergirls because it is a cultural identity. A lot of Sistergirls face discrimination and rejection from their own family and often feel isolated and are left homeless. We face stigma and discrimination in the community as well as cultural barriers to transition openly.
‘A lot of us travel to larger cities to seek refuge and solace and sometimes that isn’t even there in the larger cities. There was a lot of trauma growing up and now I’m still living with depression and anxiety. It’s funny, but I feel safer here than being back at home.’
‘I’m a Sista Girl from the Tiwi Islands. A Sista Girl is like a woman that is trapped in a man’s body. I feel more like a woman and am more attracted to a man than a woman.
‘There are a lot of Sista Girls in the Tiwis. We all support each other and help each other a lot. We look after each other when we have issues and problems. When a Sista Girl is depressed or feeling down, we go there and have a talk to her and make her feel like she is loved.
‘Sometimes we find that some people don’t accept us. Somehow we’ve managed to live with it but we know that we have other for support as well and that people that love us.
‘I chose to come to the Mardi Gras in Sydney because I want to find freedom and acceptance. I also want to get the message out to other Sista Girls not to feel afraid or alone. I want them to know that there are other Sista Girls out there that are like them as well.’