Darcie is 18 years old and grew up in Mt Beauty. Darcie’s pronouns are she/her and she is happy to be identified in this story.
Darcie had “always felt different from the age of 4”. She felt “out of place with boys” and always gravitated towards “girl things”. When she started kindergarten and there was a separation between boys and girls she noticed she was different. Then puberty hit, her body started changing and she knew that she couldn’t live as a boy.
About two years ago (at 16 years) Darcie’s Nan asked her if she would like to see a doctor. Her Nan had a transgender friend and suspected Darcie might want to transition. At that time, Darcie had already started wearing long hair, make-up and nails. She knew what transgender was but didn’t know how to transition. She also hadn’t spoken about how she was feeling with her friends or family. “I hadn’t come to terms with it...I didn’t want to go in full force as I wasn’t very comfortable with it at that time….I didn’t have a role model who was similar to me…I always felt that way but didn’t know how to express it.” Since starting to transition, Darcie now has “a lot of friends who are transgender and it helps a lot to know other people who are experiencing the same thing”.
In 2018 Darcie starting visiting an endocrinologist and later started hormones in July 2020. Darcie has done a lot of research and understands that there are ‘biological reasons’ for being transgender and it is not ideology - “There is research out there that shows transgender women like me have very different brain structure to a biological male. It’s not something you want to choose. A lot of people don’t understand that it’s not a choice. Feeling uncomfortable in your body is not a choice. I don’t ask for people to understand, I just want to be respected and treated like everyone else.”
Darcie has a very supportive network, including her mother, her sister, many other family members and a close group of good friends. “I’m very lucky. I’m in a very accepting household and have been able to start on hormones and grow my hair out and express myself the way that I want to. I have friends who have supported me through the whole thing.”
Darcie works in customer service at the local supermarket and has been in that role before she started transitioning. “It has been quite easy [transitioning in a small community]. I’ve never really been picked on or been called anything horrible.” Her workplace and community have been very accepting of this. However new friends that Darcie has made who live in Melbourne have had a very different experience. Their family or community is less accepting of their transition and some have been kicked out of home.
“A lot of people don’t understand it but they try to. I just ask that people be respectful and treat me like everyone else. I don’t like it when people walk on eggshells around me as it make it very awkward and uncomfortable. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t call me my name as they don’t think I use it anymore. I don’t mind if people mess up as long as they are trying.”
Darcie spoke to us about some of her experience with other health professionals. Once she saw a local doctor about her asthma. The doctor gave her a strange look when she went in as her records say “M” [not “F”] and expected her to be a male. However the doctor didn’t ask her anything. Darcie explained that “I think it’s important to talk about things” and that health professionals should “just ask if they’re unsure, ask people how they like to be referred as.” Darcie is also trying to get her birth certificate changed as her records say “male” at the chemist, which seems to confuse some staff.
Darcie told us how important it is to respect others. “I’ve been through a lot to transition and I do make an effort, but it does hurt when I get called the wrong thing.” Darcie explained this by saying that the transition journey is not an easy one so it is very important that she and other people who are on the same journey are called by the pronoun that they identify with. And “if you do stuff up, try your best to correct yourself.”
When Darcie was thanked for being so open, articulate and happy to share her story with us, she responded with “being closed off doesn’t help with anything,” and that “I don’t want to be treated like a victim, I don’t see myself as a victim.”
Darcie is now saving for surgery - “I’ll feel a lot more complete when I have surgery” – and has plans to travel around Australia this year.
Interviewed 24/01/22 by T Berg (Partnering with Consumers Officer) and H McDougall (Mt Beauty CHAG) at her home.