New Trans Show to Hit Sydney’s Inner West

The Imperial Hotel will play host to new drag show featuring an all trans cast, starring 2019 Honour Award Nominee Victoria Anthony, Thai Super Star Lada Marks, the breathtaking beauty of Kalypso Finbar and the effervescent ChiChi aka Antoinette Farrugia.

Lady Girls debuts September 20 at 10.30 at the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville.

https://www.facebook.com/events/743421116086702/

Georgie Stone Article For the Star Observer

Georgie Stone is a leading trans youth advocate, the first transgender actor on Neighbours, and was the 2018 Victorian Young Australian of the Year. She spoke with the Star Observer’s Katherine Wolfgramme.

At what age did you transition and how difficult did you find transitioning among friends and at school?

I started affirming my gender when I was eight years old. It was definitely difficult to be who I was at school – I was bullied by a group of older boys who had a problem with me presenting as female. It was incessant and it was really difficult to not internalise what they were saying and feel ashamed of myself. I was also constantly misgendered by teachers and students. That was really hard. However, I had a great group of friends who stood by me, and my family was great. I feel grateful I had people around me who supported me. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Trans Activist, Young Role Model and Actress Georgie Stone.

Your courage and determination shine through. Where does it come from?

It comes from necessity, I think. I have to be brave and stand up for myself, because otherwise no one will listen. I’m brave because I have to be, which is the same for every other trans and gender diverse person I know. Just being who we are takes bravery. Whether you’re open about your gender identity or not, it takes courage to even acknowledge within ourselves who we are. That’s why I’m so proud of our community.

You have won a slew of awards, what does that feel like?

It feels awesome to be recognised. I never felt like I could be open about being trans when I was younger, so to win awards for my advocacy is a really great feeling. I also think it is a testament to how eager we are becoming to hearing trans stories. People want to listen now, and I think the recognition is encouragement for more of those stories to be told and listened to.

Being an ambassador for organisations at such a young age are you always comfortable being a trans role model and LGBTQI youth champion? Was there ever a time that you felt the pressure was too great?

There have been many times when I have wanted to stop. I never set out to be an advocate. Either there was too much going on at once, or I thought that I wasn’t good enough to be a proper voice for trans young people. I still get that sometimes. But every time that happens, I remind myself of why I am doing this and why it is important. Taking the focus off myself and onto the true reason why advocacy is important helps me stay focused and grounded.

Describe your reaction when you heard you landed a part on Neighbours? What was your first day on set like?

I was absolutely over the moon! I was so excited, and it was really difficult not to hop on Twitter and tell everyone about it! But I also got really nervous – I wanted this storyline to be great and I wanted everyone to like it. Suddenly I felt the pressure of having to please everyone. But after working with the writers (who are all amazing by the way) I knew that Mackenzie was going to be a great character, and her storyline was going to be equally as great. Working on set has been such an eye-opening experience. I’ve learned so much from the incredible cast and crew, who are all such amazing people. My first day was really nerve-wracking, but I quickly felt really comfortable and started to enjoy myself immensely! I know now that acting is absolutely something I want to continue doing. I love it so much!

Tell us about your character on Neighbours. Do you feel any connection to her?

I love Mackenzie. She is so much fun to play, because she is a little bit complicated. On one hand, she is quite defensive and doesn’t trust people very easily. It takes a while for her to feel comfortable in other’s company. However, once she relaxes she is really sweet and caring. The contradictions are really interesting – she craves connection with other people, yet she is scared to open up and trust those around her. She has had very different experiences to me, so I think she carries a bit more baggage with her – but there is time for her to grow and come into her own.

What is it like to have such a supportive mother?

I feel very lucky to have such a supporting, loving, awesome mum. She’s my biggest supporter, but she also inspires me greatly. I learn so much from her every day and we make a great team. I would not have been able to get through what I have without her. I love her so much.

Do you have a message for any parents who have fears for their trans kids?

Listen to your child, because they know best about what they are feeling inside. You can’t tell them how to feel, and you can’t change something that is intrinsic within them. But you can support them, and you can educate yourself. That is really important. It’s not about you, it’s about the safety and wellbeing of your child.

Your mother has written a book About a Girl that’s being released very soon, are you excited? What is the book about and what would you like the book to achieve?

Yes! My mum has written a book, About a Girl, and I feel honoured to have written the foreword. It’s about our experiences over the last 20 years – what it has been like to grow up as a trans young person in Australia – and what it has been like for mum as a parent. I hope this book can educate people, and I hope helps people who are travelling down a similar path to feel less isolated.

Do you have major plans for the future?

I have no idea what is going to happen in the future! But that is exciting. There are so many possibilities – acting, advocacy, writing, other things I don’t know about yet! I think it is good for me to keep my options open! I love singing and song-writing. I hope that comes into play in some shape or form.

Do you have any concerns for the trans community?

I notice there is a bit of a divide between young trans people and the adult/elder community. We have so many different stories to tell, diverse experiences and perspectives. All are valid and all should have the opportunity to share. We’re stronger when we don’t leave anyone else behind. Also, intersectionality is important. No matter your race, religion, sexuality, physical ability or gender identity – we all need the opportunity to tell our stories and be represented.

When all is said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?

That’s a tough question. I hope I am remembered for more than just my gender identity, but at the same time I hope I am remembered as someone who found success whilst still a proud, open member of the trans community. I don’t know yet, maybe get back to me when I am older!

http://www.starobserver.com.au/artsentertainment/about-a-neighbour-about-a-girl-georgie-stone/185908

Article written by Katherine Wolfgramme for The Star Observer.

Wear It Purple Day 2019

Lunchtime Wear It Purple Event Hosted by Lendlease at their Head Quarters in Baragaroo

Across Australia corporations and schools have adopted Wear It Purple Day – the last Friday in August, as a day to wear purple and have fun and at the same time to help silently showing support for rainbow youth in schools by wearing purple.

Norton Rose Fulbright – Trans Awareness Training for their Wear It Purple Event

Corporations will often raise money on that day for their favourite LGBTI Charities and have breakfasts, lunches, morning and afternoon teas or evening events with guest speakers from LGBTI Communities.

Wear It Purple Day is a very busy time for me, I think because of my past involvement and now as a former Board Member, I am often invited to speak at such events.

But my favourite is speaking at Sydney Secondary College – Black Wattle Bay, Sydney Inner West’s Enormous Senior School Campus. I was invited back to speak at the request of the Student Representative Council, who wanted a transgender speaker to show support for the transgender students attending their school.

It is an honour and pleasure to speak at a School Assembly, one must be very careful of how we address young adults and the message needs to resonate with all the students yet most importantly the message must be able to comfort and empower the rainbow young people, Wear It Purple Day is their day after all. I also have a responsibility of care to not use language that could be perceived as indoctrination.

I have included the full transcript of my speech because it was very special for me to compose it, and it was very special for me to also deliver the speech at school assembly.

   Good morning School,
 
My name is Katherine Wolfgramme and I am so honoured to be invited back to speak with you today, some of you will remember me from last year, it was such a joy and honour for me to come and speak and see you all in purple, wearing purple to show all the rainbow students here that they are not alone.
I am The Ambassador of The Gender Centre, we support the needs of all transgender people of all ages and their families in NSW, we are oldest transgender organisation in the world, I have recently stepped down from Wear It Purple, I was the first transgender person on their Board, I stepped down so I could join The Board at Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras – which is a lot of hard work!
The Student Representative Council specifically asked Mr Pascoe to find a transgender keynote speaker to help support all the transgender students here at Blackwattle Bay, and on behalf of all trans people I would like to thank the SRC for being so inclusive and thoughtful to your fellow students.
Feeling alone is a strange emotion, we can easily feel all alone in a crowded room, often that type of aloneness is caused because we feel like the “only one”, I used to feel alone, I am 48 years old, I knew I was a woman inside when I was five, but nobody believed me. I was alone.
At primary school children knew I was different and would not play with me, things were very different then, we were just coming out of The White Australia Policy and I was the only black child at school, and when I was 9 everyone started teasing me and call me gay, there was no word for trans.. and black.. I was alone.
Being bullied was a very normal part of my school week, and I was only safe at home
In high school the safest place for me away from bullies was the school library, I would go straight there at lunchtime and be a library monitor.
When I turned 16 things changed, I met an exchange student who had just arrived from Sweden, Anna didn’t see colour and she didn’t see gay, she just saw me. And all the toughest boys at school thought she was hot, and all the prettiest girls at school wanted to be friends with her so the boys would think them hot too.. my life changed, for the boys to find out where the girls would be on the weekend the boys had to ask me… it was also my very first taste of power.
So, needless to say the bullying stopped,  at that time I looked like a boy but I was so feminine and so gentle, there was no such thing as trans in those days, so people would just call me Fag, or Poof or any of those terrible words, of course everyone outside of school still teased me but at least I was safe at school.
But I still felt alone, because I  was a woman inside, yet I was not allowed to be me, I was not allowed be Katherine – on the outside at least..
As soon as I turned 18 I transitioned and I have only felt happiness towards myself ever since, the world in those days was not so accepting, everyone, and I mean everyone even strangers thought that I should be ashamed of myself, which made me so unhappy – but that unhappiness was environmental, within myself I was happy because I was whole.
 
I wanted to share that story with you because I wanted all of you to know that growing up is tough, it isn’t easy trying to fit in and trying to find your space in the world.
But for LGBT kids life is even tougher, and to see you all wear purple today for your Rainbow school friends makes me so proud of you, it makes me so proud of all of you.
I wish I had a Wear It Purple Day growing up, I would never have felt so unsupported or alone.
I changed the law in one country, and I changed language in another, I do love saying that, it makes me feel so…..goood, but I did.
I was born in Fiji in 1972, arrived in Australia in 1974 and I transitioned in 1990, in 1997 I wanted to travel the world with my boyfriend. But to change my name on my passport in Australia I had to change my name on my birth certificate in Fiji.. Fiji was a very strict Christian country and this request to them was outrageous, I kept asking and they kept saying no, I was young so it was easy for me to ask the same question a thousand ways, but a thousand times they said no, I kept on, and as people started getting exhausted, I started speaking to people higher up the chain. I pointed out that I would not be safe to travel under a boys name looking like a beautiful woman, terrible things could happen to me in other countries and they had a duty to my safety, eventually after months of nagging people started listening.
So I flew to Fiji hired Lawyers and won the right to legally be called Katherine on my birth certificate, passport and all legal documents thereby creating precedent for all other transgender people to access after me.
In 2017, there was a word that began with T that men would use to degrade and debase mainly young transgender women, it used to be a harmless abbreviation or slang for Transgender but in the wrong hands became a transphobic slur, I could not allow young trans women to be called this when the majority of these young women made it very clear they hated the word.
So I took legal action against all businesses in the ACT and NSW who used the word publicly to cease and desist, not necessarily because the businesses meant harm but because the businesses were inadvertently giving transphobic people  permission to use the slur – because transphobic people thought it was normal and acceptable to talk like that.
Within three months all businesses complied, not just in NSW but right across the country.
There is no longer any doubt that word is wrong and is no longer used in polite conversation.
Pretty cool heh?
 
On a final note, I have come with a message to all the people in this room who feel alone because they are different.
Another word for different is Unique, unique people grow up to be outstanding humans who sometimes do outstanding things”
One day, you may go on to change laws, or  change language or enhance the world in a positive way.
Until that day comes, hold tight be strong and remember – you are not alone today.
Because today we are all wearing Purple for you!!
When you see people wearing purple clothes today remember they are wearing something purple to silently let you know that even though you don’t know us, we see you, we love you,  we stand with you, we stand by you, and when we can, we are standing up for you, so your life will be easier than ours was.
 
Thank you so much for asking me to return to speak with you, I will always be so happy to return.
I wish one and all a Happy Wear It Purple Day. Thank you.

Katherine Wolfgramme, School Assembly, Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay, Wear It Purple Day 2019

As a former Board Member of Wear It Purple, it seems I still remain a part of the Wear It Purple family, and our future seems to be intertwined, I will always heed their call when they request things of me such as the Junkee Media film clip I was in with Billie Ward, which has now gone viral with over 200,000 views on Facebook!

Here is the link to the Facebook video: https://www.facebook.com/junkeedotcom/videos/390972474947400/UzpfSTU4MDY3NjE3MzoxMDE1NjI0NzMwMDcyNjE3NA/

And here is the link the Junkee Media article with more information about the film: https://junkee.com/wear-it-purple-day/220009

At Intersections – Short Film

My weakness is for young people to succeed, if their quest is noble with the best of intentions I find their requests difficult to decline.

Thus was the case with At Intersections, a short film about intersectional feminism, when I met with the filmmakers for the first time I was faced with two very young university students who identified as queer feminists.

I could not refuse their request and I was impressed by their earnestness and dilligence.

The film is very short and really sweet, I would describe it as bijoux – and I am naturally delightful!

At intersections has not been publicly released yet but has been shortlisted by a few festivals.

Nomination for Community Hero at Honour Awards

I am honoured to be nominated for an Honour Award, ACON’s annual gala event held at The Ivy Ballroom in October.

After winning an Australian LGBTI Award in March I know it really is an honour just to be nominated.

Filming “Stand Up, Stand Out”, official video for Wear It Purple Day 2019.

Even though I have stepped down as Board Member and Public Officer of the Wear It Purple Board, I am still a part of the Wear It Purple Family, I had a really beautiful experience today, and I feel very blessed for it.

I participated in a short film about inter-generations, my portion was a conversation with a young man called Billee who transitioned a year ago..I transitioned 10 years before he was born, and through gentle conversation we learned so much about each other.

I often worry about the future of the Trans Community because of a very angry and vocal and dominant Trotsky inspired queer identifying minority, who I even question are actually transgender.

Transgender people according to the World Health Organisation do not have mental health illness, but the madness and insanity this vocal minority is trying to indoctrinate as Trans has connotations of Dissociative Personality Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – I also believe this vocal minority are trying to use the Transgender platform for their own agenda, which is embedded in an extreme left political ideology that is more queer theory, and this is definitely not Trans.

But meeting Billee and chatting with him reminded me of my duty to protect trans youth and trans children because true transgender people are peaceful and beautiful souls, and once transitioned are at peace.

I looked into Billee’s beautiful young face, and I saw peace and love and a beautiful spirit.

If the Transgender Community is led by good people like Billee in the future, then the future of the Transgender Community will be ok.

The film is a collaboration by Facebook, Instagram, Junkee Media and Wear It Purple.

“Stand Up, Stand Out” will be released next week for Wear It Purple Day.

Never lose sight of your dreams and always believe in them – because dreams can come true.

An excerpt of my memoirs which I am currently writing.

Before my transition, in the depths of my greatest misery, in the darkness where there is no light, no hope of future, no escape, only defeat and distress – I dreamed a dream.

“I am an adult and I am in a bedroom with a man, we are getting ready for a party, we can hear our guests downstairs socialising and enjoying the night. I look at the bedroom door just past the modern four poster timber bed and I say to the man “we had better go down stairs, they are waiting for us, please put my necklace on for me”, he gently places the necklace around my neck. “Thank you”, I turn to leave the room and the man stops me, and says “Wait, look in the mirror, you are so beautiful”, I turn to look in the mirror, and there I am, a woman, not just a woman but a beautiful woman wearing a most beautiful necklace that surrounded me in the most beautiful iridescent light I had ever seen”

My eyes opened, I am filled with peace, I am filled with strength. I have seen myself. I have seen my future. I will be fine.

It is 1987 and I am only 15.

Katherine Wolfgramme. Portrait by Cameron Muir, December 1999

Finding the T in the Alphabet Soup

Article written by me for The Star Observer

As part of our 40th anniversary issue, long standing transgender community leaders reflect on how the Star Observer has amplified diverse trans voices. 

For the Star Observer’s 40th anniversary I was asked to write an article about the evolving relationship between Australia’s transgender population and the LGBTQI community

At first I thought this article would be easy. But then, considering the diversity of the transgender community, I started seeing a challenge because I am just one voice, so I posed this question to the movers and shakers of my community to give greater clarity and insight to the T’s history in relation to the wider LGBTQI community.

In the 1990s, T began being added to the acronym LGB, thus creating LGBT. It was not a sudden merger but an evolution, a change in thinking that continues to this day with the acronym growing to LGBTQI+.

Inclusion begins in the home, and nowhere was support and inclusion shown most recently than when the group Rainbow Families made the decision to produce resources for transgender parents.

In June of this year, Rainbow Families launched a guidebook to help transgender and gender diverse parents who are starting families with the hurdles of parenting.

Their Trans and Gender Diverse Parents Guide details the personal stories of transgender and gender diverse parents, their partners and children.

“Each story is unique – reflecting a very individual journey – but collectively, these stories provide insights into shared, common experiences,” the guidebook explains.

Harking back to a less inclusive time, there always seems to have been a relationship between gay men and their trans sisters.

The Stonewall Riot in the 1960s is one example of gay and trans coming together to support one another. The relationship has not always been ideal, but there has always been a strand of kinship in one way or another.

Australia’s preeminent transgender showgirl and legend of Les Girls, Carlotta told me, “I’m unfamiliar with most young trans people today, as it was a lot more difficult in my time, but I think they are doing a lot better.”

“It’s a difficult life but we make the most of it and I will always support inclusion.”

Transgender activist and non-binary person Norrie recalled, “In the early 90s the Sydney Star Observer, as it was then known, ran a monthly column by two transgender community activists (Aidy Griffiths and me) while the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby expelled me for advocating for inclusion of bisexual and transgender people’s issues in the Lobby’s work.”

“From my perspective that pretty much sums up the difference between the inclusive community newspaper and the small groups of petty empire builders demanding all the focus for themselves. The Star Observer has always been supportive of diversity.”

Ted Cook, newly appointed Manager of Trans & Gender Diverse Health Equity at ACON says, “the last forty years have seen an incredible shift in the lives, and visibility of the trans and gender diverse community, with so much left to do.”

“ACON’s recently launched Blueprint to Improve the Health & Wellbeing of the Trans & Gender Diverse Community lays out a way forward for improving the experiences of trans and gender diverse (TGD) people in NSW.”

“Community media play such an essential role in sharing the progress, challenges and heroes of the trans and gender diverse community, and we increasingly see these stories told by a diverse range of trans voices.”

“The stories of trans organisations like the Gender Centre and advocates such as Roberta Perkins, Linda Tyne, Nikki Searant, Phyllis McGuinness and Nadine Stransen have been so crucial for us to understand the history of the fight for trans rights, just as this fight will continue into the future, we truly are all in this together.”

Chantal Martin, Community Service Worker at the Sex Workers Outreach Project, recalls a darker and more vulnerable experience in Sydney’s gay scene in the late 1980s.

“As a trans woman who worked as a street based sex worker back in the 80s here in Sydney, life couldn’t of been better,” she told me.

“I hung out in the Polynesian gay, lesbian and trans community. However if I went out on my own into the mainstream gay scene things would change very quickly.”

“I’d become a target on some occasions where lateral violence would play out almost instantaneously. I’d experience transphobia at its best by being ostracised in some of the gay bars along Oxford Street, experiencing verbal abuse like people saying ‘you’ll never be a woman,’ calling me a whore, or telling me ‘you’re not in the right bar so fuck off’.”

“And here I was thinking I was safe in the very scene I transitioned in, when in actual fact I was in the worst place ever. I left the gay scene and continued my transition in the straight scene where I was accepted and treated with respect for who I am.”

“Times have changed in the gay scene and it seems much nicer than what it was. Or maybe it’s because I’m a fringe dweller now in my mature age, living life on the edge rather than being right in the centre of either scene. Who knows, whatever it is, I love it and it works for me.”

When asked the same question, Phinn Borg said, “the trans community has come a long way in the last few years.”

“As Executive Director of the Gender Centre I’ve seen a lot of change in the last 15 years, and in particular it’s been great to see the increasing support from the gay and lesbian community towards trans people.”

“It was trans people, after all, who were first to the barricades during Stonewall. Trans women in particular who were the midwives of gay liberation as it was called in the beginning.”

“But it was also trans people who were first to be excluded when respectability politics meant that change might only happen for those who were the most presentable to the wider world and the least transgressive.”

“Transpeople fought alongside the lesbian and gay community to usher in social progress on health care, on employment. We were there during the AIDS crisis and more recently we were there for marriage equality.”

“Hard times seem to have come around again. Religious rights seem on the verge of trumping human rights, trumping care towards the disadvantaged and vulnerable.”

“The struggle for even the simplest acceptance of transgender people, families and children is at a tipping point. Our youth attempted suicide rate is at twenty times the national average and that simply can’t continue.”

“Once again the transgender and gender diverse community is looking towards those whose hard fought acceptance was built on our shared toil. Not just the few courageous voices from the wider LGBT community but the wider community itself.”

On a final note, Phinn expressed his hope for the future of our community.

“This time I hope that our call for help won’t be ignored,” he said.

“I hope that the work of those amazing advocates and allies from the other letters of the alphabet soup, can and will inspire the same kind of courage, community and generosity that our transgender elders extended to help in the wider struggle for LGBT liberation.”

My own experience has been quite different because I have been a part of the gay community for thirty years since my transition and I have always felt welcome.

Over the decades though my role has become less ornamental, evolving from a showgirl to a more integral role as more transgender people are invited to join community organisation boards and committees.

I feel the greatest change in the evolution of transgender people in the gay community is our inclusion in the decision making processes of our community, this more than words shows me equality and inclusion.

As a columnist and contributing writer for the Star Observer, the publication has helped bring greater inclusion and understanding towards our trans siblings.

Looking back, our relationship has come a very long way, touching on the personal insights of Carlotta, Ted, Norrie, Chantal and Phinn, I think we still have a little way to go, but the path to absolute equality and inclusion is clear, and it is an easy goal the LGBTQI community as a whole can work towards.

As printed in The Star Observer

Rainbow Families Launch Parenting Guide For Transgender Parents.

In my capacity as Ambassador of The Gender Centre I was invited to speak at Rainbow Families’ event held at Sydney Park last Sunday May 26th to help launch their new Trans and Gender Diverse Parents Guide.

The guide was created by Rainbow Families because there was no resource available to help trans and gender diverse parents and their young families

The organisation self funded the book and launched the guide at their major annual International Family Equality Day Event at Sydney Park.

To download the Trans and Gender Diverse Parents Guide click here: https://www.rainbowfamilies.com.au/trans_and_gender_diverse_parents_guide_released?fbclid=IwAR0RL07EiopO5aSOEhjH7tA87SGyS3MxUhPUZRtUrFqy6Pz3tZiGLrz0aa8

Below is the transcript of my speech.

My name is Katherine Wolfgramme, I have come in my capacity as The Ambassador of the Gender Centre, Australia’s oldest peak trans related welfare organization serving transgender children , youth, adults and Trans Seniors, their families and partners. Around areas ranging from casework, counselling, peer support groups, advocacy, and emergency and transitional housing for the last 37 years.

I would look like to begin my speech by reading you a message from the Director of the Gender Centre, Phinn Borg

 “Parenting is difficult at the best of time. Parenting as a trans parent is a whole other level of challenge and complexity. So, I would like to acknowledge your hard work. Your love and dedication. Being trans is hard. Facing discrimination. Trying to get on with life when sometimes the hardest thing to do is walk out the front door. When you’re a trans parent you have to be brave enough to face discrimination, while also finding a way to be the best you can for your child or children.”

Phinn Borg, Director of The Gender Centre

As Ambassador I would like to say that we at the Gender Centre congratulate you on the launch of the Trans and Gender Diverse Parents Guide, we believe this is a thoughtful, informative and generous initiative and The Gender Centre’s door is always open to all gender diverse people and their families.

International Family Equality Day Picnic 2019

For those of you who do not know me, I am also an outgoing board member of Wear It Purple, and  in-coming Board Associate of The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, columnist at Star Observer and award winning Gender Diversity Consultant and Trans Activist….. In my spare time… I can be found on the weekends among my people working at Stonewall Hotel.

I am 47 years old and I transitioned nearly thirty years ago, next year will mark 30 years as Katherine, and in that time, I have witnessed great changes both socially and fundamentally for the LGBTI Community.

Never once did I imagine I would come and  speak at  an event where people from my own gay family have real children, and children on the way.

Never did I imagine that I would see a time when I personally could legally marry, have children or have any equal rights for that matter. I have done neither, but it feels wonderful that it is now recognized as my choice now.

I did not foresee anti-vilification and anti-discrimination  laws would be specifically written to protect transgender people, nor did I ever expect to see transgender employment equality or trans related policy changes in the work place or transgender identifying children openly access education – or live to see a day where their parents stand by them and protect them.

We live in very modern times, and we have come so far.

To understand this renaissance for transgender people, we must rewind 30 years and see what Gay & Lesbian people were doing. Some of you here may remember this time, and I ask that you please forgive me as I continue in the third person, but they were going through the same levels of growth then, that we the transgender population are going through now. Thirty years ago our rainbow allies were fighting for employment equality and the right to be legally recognized as equal.

Now that you are strong, our Gay & Lesbian Allies have come forward to empower the trans populations by providing support, empowerment and giving us a platform to be heard. And most importantly an equal place in our beautiful LGBTI Community – this is what I understand to be the definition of inclusion.

And a beautiful example of inclusion is the program Rainbow Families are launching today specifically tailored to support transgender people who are parents with children. On a side note – and not as an ambassador, but as a human, speaking with other humans, I would like to say Thank You. Thank you for including transgender people whether child or parent and their families into your groups, and thank you supporting us and including us.

Strong Families Are Built On Solid Ground. Our Roots run Deep and Our Branches Spread Far and Wide to Catch the Sun So We Can Nourish and Bear Our Much Yearned For Fruit, Planted With and Protected by Our Love.

I would like to lastly finish by saying that I am so proud of all of you and the families that you have created against all odds, I send you my love and my strength, and if there is anything that I can do, please reach out to me and if it is in my power, I will do anything that I can to help. 

Congratulations, all of you for launching the Trans and Gender Diverse Parents Guide, and Happy International Family Equality Day.

What does IDAHOBIT mean to me?

I believe IDAHOBIT aka International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Inter-sexism and Transphobia is an important day to bring into focus the phobias and discriminations the LGBTI populations still face today.

Australia has just had a federal election, phobias are one of the campaign tools conservative parties use to scare people into voting for them mainly using transgender children and gay children the main focus to scare parents whose children are at school, this is a perfect example of phobias being used against our community.

Another example was the Marriage Equality Campaign – it was a time our whole community, including youth and children were held up to age old discriminations and phobias during the campaign, causing most of the LGBTI population to suffer minority stress.

To understand how to conquer phobias against the LGBTI Community we must look at the word phobia, phobia means fear, fear comes from things we do not understand, so to help people understand we must educate- to break down the fears around their phobias.

IDAHOBIT is a day when those that can, come forward to educate those who might not understand in the hope of breaking down fears towards the LGBTI Community.


I was honoured to speak at four IDAHOBIT Events, Ashurst, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Clifford Chance and Qantas.

Ashurst is one of the “Big Six” law firms in Australia and ranks 25 globally, it was a pleasure to sit on a panel with people who are creating change and continue to break down barriers for LGBTI people in Australia at The Ashurst IDAHOBIT Breakfast.

At lunch I was guest speaker at The Bank of America Merrill Lynch IDAHOBIT Lunch. Bank of America is America’s preeminent Financial Institution and is one of the leading banks of the world.

I delivered my Trans Awareness Programme that was streamed live to their 12 Head Offices in the APEC region including China, Taiwan, Singapore and Tokyo finishing with an internationally interactive Q&A. I believe this is how true change occurs and I look forward to creating greater understanding internationally in the future.

Bank of America Merril Lynch

In the afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking at Clifford Chance, Clifford Chance one of the “Big Six” law firms in Australia and ranks number 10 Globally.

I spoke about my experiences accessing legal services in the last 30 years since my transition, and the impacts and positive change pro bono work can have on minority communities, and also legal issues still facing the Transgender Population in Australia.

On the following Monday I had the pleasure of Speaking at Qantas’ Head Quarters for their IDAHOBIT Event, Qantas is Australia’s Flagship Airline ahead of their exciting new trans policy changes which will help support trans employees in the work place.

A wise person once said to me “just by existing do we create change”, and never more so do I believe this to be true, I am now fortunate to be in a position to help create change for my community for generations to come.

I end this post the same way I ended every event on IDAHOBIT, by saying:

Be Kind, Be Kind to All Humans, Not Just Some Humans.

Katherine Wolfgramme

For this month’s Gender Whisperer column, Katherine Wolfgramme speaks with Equality Australia’s Director of Engagement, Aram Hosie.

‘It’s worth it for every time a trans person tells me I make them feel less alone’: Aram Hosie


Aram Hosie

In his own words, Aram is “a queer trans guy in his mid-thirties”. He and him pronouns work for him, though he also happily answers to they and them. He is a parent (of both the human and dog variety), a partner, a guncle, a community advocate and a very occasional model. Aram likes lifting heavy weights while listening to loud electronic dance music, and, thanks to his son, he’s developed a nerdy enjoyment of Marvel superheroes and LEGO.

What do you do for work?

I’m incredibly lucky to be the Director of Engagement with Equality Australia – our country’s first national legal advocacy and campaigning organisation for LGBTIQ+ issues. We very much operate from the belief that after marriage equality, we have a responsibility to ensure that we protect the rights we’ve won and amplify the voices of those who do not yet enjoy full equality. This of course especially applies to trans and gender diverse people, and so I feel that it is right and important for me, as an out trans person, to be deeply involved in this work.

When did you transition?

I transitioned 13 years ago, in my early twenties when I was still living in Western Australia. I was incredibly lucky – the GP that I saw at my university medical clinic had supported a number of previous patients to transition, so when I said that I wanted to, she knew exactly how to support that. My medical transition was really the straightforward part; what I hadn’t realised would be more complicated was the social transition – everything from choosing my new name to learning how to navigate a very gendered world in a now-male presenting body. I was really lucky throughout this process – my partner at the time and my friends were patient, supportive and accepting of me, as was my employer. The response of people around you when you transition is what makes all the difference.

Did you have any role models growing up?

I grew up inside a fundamentalist Christian religion that almost borders on a cult. I went through conversion therapy as a teenager, and lived a life that was pretty cut off from the rest of the world, so no I didn’t have any role models as I grew up – all the adults I could see were utterly removed from who I knew myself to be.

You’re very involved in politics and activism. What achievements in the trans community are you most proud of so far?

I’m proud of being brave enough to be really visible as a trans person. It wasn’t really my decision initially – my partner when I transitioned was Senator Louise Pratt, and so there was no hiding that she had a girlfriend who was now her boyfriend. But from that moment onwards I’ve made the conscious decision to keep being really visible, especially in mainstream media, even though that means the loss of my own privacy. It’s worth it though, for every single time the parent of a young trans or gender diverse person tells me that seeing me gives them hope for their child, and for every time a trans or gender diverse person tells me that seeing me makes them feel less alone.

Do you think gender diverse people are still misunderstood, and how do you think we could help change this?

I think we’re more known than we were – I remember I spent a lot of time explaining to people that I was transitioning from female to male, and yes, that is a thing – when I first transitioned over a decade ago. I’m not sure that visibility has directly contributed to increased understanding, though. I think we’ve made progress, but there is still a lot of ignorance, misunderstanding, and fear. And I think the only way to respond to this is through ongoing conversation, dialogue and education, and with more and more trans and gender diverse people standing and being visible – if it’s safe and okay for them to do so, of course.

Do you have any words of wisdom for young people who are just beginning their transition?

Don’t be afraid – it’s going to be alright. You’ll find people who will love, accept and want to have sex with you, and being trans is actually pretty cool and something you can come to be proud of. Be patient and enjoy the journey – it’s going to take you longer to really arrive in yourself and your manhood then you think, so give yourself time, and let it just evolve. You don’t have to “be” any particular way, you will find out who you are over time. Look after you – you’re actually not invincible and being visible, being involved in advocacy and dealing with other people’s shitty responses sometimes will add up and take its toll. Pay attention to your mind and your body and get support, take breaks and invest the time and the effort in doing the things that keep you happy and well.

Full article: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/its-worth-it-for-every-time-a-trans-person-tells-me-i-make-them-feel-less-alone-aram-hosie/182026

Open Letter by Trans Pioneer in Australian Sport Ricki Coughlan

I so value the wisdom of my gender diverse elders, an insight into our past gives much perspective to our future. I found Ricki Coughlan’s post so profound I had to share her wisdom. Ricki won the right to be recognised as a woman in sport at a time when equality for transgender people was just a pipe dream.

In 1980 I would never have dreamed that there would be a trans flag much less a thing called the internet, social media and a trans flag emoji 🏳️‍⚧ We’ve come a long way, but we have also come nowhere. I first met transgender people in 1980-81 in a small room at the top of some stairs in the Kings Cross Wayside Chapel. This was in a group convened by Roberta Perkins. She had formed this group as an opportunity for trans folk to share, support each other and perhaps begin to work towards practical solutions for the struggles which many of them faced.

The stories in that I heard in that tiny room were appalling. Those trans women barely had lives at all. All were on the verge of homelessness. All were unemployed and had no products. All were struggling even with social security. All were struggling with any government office. None had any form of useful form of identification. All were rejected by their families and children. All were battling with their personal gender dysphoria and the ignorance of the wider community (the term “transphobia” didn’t exist back then). All were struggling in one way or another with professional medical support. There was nowhere for these women to turn to other than that small fortnightly or monthly gathering.

In those days I gather that there was the “show girl” trans community, the sex worker “community” and a very small urban community of trans women. Trans men were a total anomaly as far as I knew and I didn’t meet one until 1983. If “non binary” trans folk existed, I was totally unaware of this but I’m guessing that each of these individuals who felt that they could be at all out may have gravitated to various gay, trans or queer communities in search of comfort, community and support.

Since those days we have seen the emergence of laws which favour and support trans folk. We’ve seen the emergence of the trans community and its joining with the LGB community in a much more formalised fashion. We’ve seen greater understanding in science, which confirms the experiences of trans folk. We’ve seen the emergence of a greater understanding of the nature of gender and medical support for increasingly younger trans folk. We’ve seen the growth of reasonably funded support networks. We’ve seen guidelines in most states for the integration of trans children into our schools and we’re now beginning to see those trans children come out into the wider community were some are even celebrated in a time of growing welcome for trans folk. We’re headed in the right direction on many fronts.

However, trans kids are still slipping through the net of support because we don’t have officially supported trans specific education in our schools (though watch this space, as I know that there are exciting developments coming in this area!). Many if not all trans folk are dealing with the lessons about gender and social disapproval for those who don’t fit gender norms from very early in life. At least some of our pain is what others have made us believe about ourselves: that we’re wrong, broken, evil, contemptuous, dirty, fit for nothing but shame. We need to change this narrative and tear down the norms which produce it.

There is still much work to be done in sport. This is a space where transphobia or at least an ignorance of so many things converging around a trans folk, fairness, inclusion, physiology, sex and gender still challenge many, reflecting in many log jams.

Later transitioning folk are still battling with their own inner demons, gender dysphoria, family issues and community and political attitudes. This is not a space where I am qualified to add very much, apart from saying that I see these folk and lament that we have not made much progress in this area. Of course, what we need is actual leadership in our political community for a start – instead of the stoking of othering and transphobia from too many circles. Proper leadership would render many of the bad attitudes towards trans folk as something to be frowned upon and regretted. Meanwhile, in this space nothing has changed in the almost 40 years since I first nervously climbed those steps in the Wayside Chapel and met those older trans women.

I’ve witnessed forty years of baby steps in this struggle but, whilst recognising that much more needs to be done, we have seen massive change, making vast numbers of lives much better. Each of those small changes will continue to add to the aggregate of change and hopefully make the lives of all trans folk a smoother and happier journey where they can all reach for their full potentials.

So now we have the trans flag emoji. Perhaps it signifies all of those aggregated baby steps as much as the work which lies ahead but let’s enjoy the moment and post it with hope and pride

Ricki Coughlin – image curtesy Facebook.

Podcast Interview for Jana Firestone at The Curious Life


I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by my dear friend Jana Firestone for her podcast on her website http://www.thecuriouslife.net.

It is always a joy to speak with old friends and it is always easier to discuss personal things and draw on old memories.

Link to Podcast: https://www.thecuriouslife.net/podcast/episode/28e8e14e/the-trans-experience-with-katherine-wolfgramme?fbclid=IwAR2Y_yL24f5uzPJOwlE_QVmjznyPHk0Dm-1MHHA9XOlPjFQUknSB6mm1qZ0

What International Transgender Day of Visibility means to Me.

On Sunday March 31, 2019 Trans Communities and their allies around the world will observe Transgender Day of Visibility.

Many Gender Diverse Communities will do different events and media presentations on the day.

Two very different events will be held in Sydney on Sunday, one a rally and protest march staged by Queer Community activist group Pride In Protest, the other will be a peaceful get together hosted by Trans Pride Australia for the Gender Diverse Community and their allies.

“For me, TDOV represents a day where my identity is acknowledged and I can reflect on a time when it was a struggle just to be myself, it is also a time where I can come together with my community to celebrate our diversity and share our stories.”

President and founder of Trans Pride Australia Peta Friend
Trans Pride Australia Event

As for myself, Trans Day of Visibility is important because it is a day that we, the transgender population and our allies let the world know that transgender people exist – being a somewhat invisible and misunderstood community, people tend to forget about us, our plights and issues that many gender diverse people face daily, and International Trans Day of Visibility gives us a platform to let the world know we are here.

And we are not going anywhere.

Katherine Wolfgramme
The Trans Pride Flag

For further information about ITDOV please follow the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Transgender_Day_of_Visibility

Podcast for Joy 94.9 FM

I find myself talking more and more about my life, next year I will have been trans exactly 30 years, it has been an incredible journey – and I hope my experiences, whether good or bad will help someone in the future.

It has just occurred to me that you may never have heard my voice…

Podcast interview with William Brougham for Joy 96.9 FM Radio:

Click here to listen

Turning Fear into Understanding

It was a privilege to speak with a delegation of doctors and nurses from rural areas about my experiences seeking medical treatment over the last thirty years as a transgender woman, looking back we have come so far, yet I can see we still have some way to go.

Thank you ALBION STREET CENTRE for putting on such an important event to help create understanding for gender diverse people across NSW.

This will help create true change.

Katherine Wolfgramme addressing medical services delegates at Albion Centre in Sydney

With  Dr Mel and Maggie Smith, trainers at Albion Centre in Sydney

The Gender Whisperer interviews Norrie

This month in Star Observer’s monthly Column “The Gender Whisperer” Katherine Wolfgramme interviews Non-binary trans activist and South Sydney Herald cartoonist Norrie

Norrie has a bubble machine on their bicycle, and they say hearing kids call out “bubble lady” gives them great joy. They don’t correct the kids on using incorrect gendered pronouns, though. They’re just happy to be recognised as a part of their world.

What are your preferred pronouns?

My favourite Norman Gunston moment in Celebrity Squares was when he was asked what ‘she’ referred to in the expression “there she blows”. He replied, “the cat’s mother, and it’s very bad manners”. In public discourse I’m happy with gender neutral pronouns like ‘they’ or ‘them’, or even feminine pronouns, as long as there are no imposed assumptions about reproductive biology coming along with them.

How did you decide on your name?

Before I transitioned, I adopted my middle name, and legally shed my old first and last names. It was linked to my housemate in 1984, who was a computer programmer and only had one name – I think it’s the life mission of computer programmers to make life difficult for other computer programmers; silly computers, programmed to ask for more than one name, when some people only have one. Maybe we were just trying to highlight the huge gap between actual reality and virtual reality?

After a few years I was fed up with being asked for a second name all the time, so I used a joke name, which was initially intended as a querying of identity, before I realised it was also permission for me to be well. That’s how I became Norrie May-Welby.

What are your passions?

Global sustainability and social justice. I’d like to think humanity has a good chance of surviving this century, but it seems the selfish interests of the mega-rich are opposed to this. While it gives me some satisfaction to think of them slowly perishing on Mars long after the people who cleaned their houses on Earth are dead, I’d rather not have most humans wiped out by disasters of our own creation.

What do you believe is the greatest legacy you have given to Australia’s gender diverse communities?

I think that my legacy gets decided by other people after I am dead, I may like to think it was the High Court of Australia case of 2014 that abolished the presumption of sex being always binary (that is, either distinctly male or distinctly female), but it may be that most people remember me simply as the anonymous source of bubbles that changed a dreary day for them. But of course it would be sweet to think that eventually the imposition of binary sex or gender ceased to be a factor for future humanity.

Where do you see the trans community going in the future?

Anywhere they want to go! In a decade or so, being transgender will be as un-noteworthy as being left-handed – statistically unusual, but often unnoticed. Children will be able to access appropriate puberty blockers without having to go to court. And hopefully, with less adverse pressure and more acceptance, more transgender and other sex or gender diverse people will go on to have happy, full, and fulfilling lives, and less will fall to the life-shortening events that we used to suffer in the bad old days.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger self anything, what would you tell them?

Nothing. I’d like to, but I know young me couldn’t be told anything. I would not have believed how my life turned out unless I actually lived through it. The most I could say would be: “You will live through heaven and hell. But you will live.”

Life can be hard for young people dealing with their identity. Do you have any advice for them?

It’s everyone’s right, and duty, to be true to their self. Gosh, did you just accept the pronoun ‘their’ for a single person? You can’t substitute a more apt pronoun there. More advice? You do you, honey, and never think you’re on your own, you’re just part of a huge mass of bubbling cosmic soup.

Full Article: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/new-south-wales-news/you-will-live-through-heaven-hell-but-you-will-live-non-binary-advocate-norrie/179534

Column as printed in Star Observer Magazine

Winning Awards at the Australian LGBTI Awards 2019

It really is an honour to be nominated for any award, especially one so prestigious as the Australian LGBTI Awards, I was already so happy with that – imagine my shock when my name was called as the winner of Inspirational Role Model of the Year, and just to add the cherry to my sundae, Wear It Purple won best Community Initiative.

Accepting my award Inspirational Role Model of the Year at The Star from reality tv star Tim Dormer and Ed Johnson of Bloomberg

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate my fellow Wear It Purple Board Directors – President Ross Wetherbee, Vice President Marc Field, Treasurer Alex Stefan, Secretary Gemma Allen, Brock Galway, Robbie Robertson, Pete Foley and Brenna Harding.

Wear It Purple is driven by our youth, I would like to also acknowledge the hard work of our Youth Action Council and Executive Committee who have worked tirelessly through the year to empower and bring hope to rainbow youth across Australia, we dedicate this award to you.

The Wear It Purple team after winning Best Community Initiative/ Charity Award from left to right: Rose Werle, Zac Murphy-Draper, Katherine Wolfgramme, Ross Wetherbee, Alex Stefan, Marc Field.

I would like to also acknowledge past president Matt Janssen for his tireless efforts last year.

It is very important to also thank our former Wear It Purple Patrons who paved the way and opened doors for our organisation Dr Kerryn Phelps and her wife Jackie Stricker Phelps.

It was really wonderful to see other strong trans people win awards in other categories including Mama Alto for Best Artist, Jordan Raskapoulos for Local Hero and Georgie Stone for Hero, it was a great day for trans visibility, and high time that gender diverse people be finally acknowledged for their contributions to our wonderful LGBTI Community.

Katherine Wolfgramme, Mama Alto and Jordan Raskapoulos