The human race is interesting, with billions of us walking around carrying all our differences and similarities, and trying to find who we truly are. Some people are born female and some are born male, but not everyone feels at home in the bodies that they have been given. This Friday, August 25, is Wear It Purple Day, where we celebrate rainbow young people and remind them they are not alone, and to be proud of who they are.
Medibank Health Executive Assistant, Nycole Lloyd, is someone who understands the hardships and liberation that young LGBTI people go through. What she has experienced and continues to do so isn’t based on her own personal journey but through her daughter Maddy’s transformation.
Three years ago at the age of 19-years-old, Maddy approached her with a revelation that she has been on a special journey for a few years.
“Maddy, who at the time was Jay, came to me and said ‘I have something to say to you mum, here’s the story…’ It was then that she told me she was transgender. She said that deep down, past the physical aspects, she really was a girl, not a boy.”
Nycole and Maddy, who at the time was Jay, celebrating Maddy’s graduation.
Maddy explained that it was around Year 9 that the sense of not feeling herself became even stronger. It was during this time that she really began wondering who she really was.
“She realised then that she wasn’t completely straight but she couldn’t quite work out why. She knew she didn’t fit the idea of a typical teenage boy and she didn’t know why she didn’t fit this mould. We spoke about it very loosely and in the end, I just said to her ‘You choose. Whoever you feel you are, you need to work out for yourself who or what that is’”.
Second from left, Maddy, who was then known as Jay has had the love and continued support from her siblings.
After high school, Maddy enrolled in a computer graphic design course at TAFE where she met a couple of transgender people whom she resonated with. She found that they had similar thoughts and feelings as her, and it was during this time that she felt like she had finally found the right path for her.
Maddy is now 22-years-old and has been taking hormones for the last two years. To Nycole, the changes go beyond the physical aspects. The emotional journey was just as significant, and for her and Maddy’s father, it was also dealing with the loss of a son.
“For 19 years, she was Jay. It’s been a real adventure starting over in a way, and I think it’s been a little tougher for her dad. Maddy came to me and told me what was going on and at the same time told her father. We’re both very supportive of her but it’s probably been harder on him because he really loved having Jay as his son who is now gone so he’s missing that son he always wanted.”
For their family, supporting Maddy was never a hard decision. Her siblings didn’t make a big deal out of it, with their biggest focus being that they could still treat her the same way they treated their brother Jay.
“Our family and friends have all been very supportive. In the beginning, Maddy spoke to me about self-loathing and wanting to harm herself, and that for me was the point when I said to myself ‘I just have to love my child, end of story’. I lost a nephew to suicide when he was 17-years-old and there was no way I wanted to risk putting another child in our family down that path.”
Nycole with her family who have been on the journey together.
Nycole says that information and education are a couple of the biggest keys when it comes to transitioning, both for the person going through it and those around them. She says that Maddy has always kept her in the loop of all the technical stuff that goes with the whole process. She has done her research and is happy to share whatever information she has with her family. In saying this, Nycole says we still have plenty of room to fill with more information and support for those on the same journey and those who may just want to educate themselves.
“There are some great resources out there but in the beginning, I would have loved if there had been a process where I could have been more involved. Everything I’ve learnt, I’ve had to research on my own or Maddy has told me. I would have loved to have been able to pick up the phone and talk to someone about it.”
Maddy celebrating at a recent LBTIQA event in Qld.
Despite this, the most important thing to remember is that support goes a long way for those starting their new lives. There will be hard times and obstacles along the way but what can help people tackle these moments is the amount of care, understanding, and love given to each other.
“Maddy’s experience has really opened my eyes to how much diversity there really is in the world. I will never understand those who reject their children because they’re somehow different than their expectations. We are all our own people. It’s not an easy gig finding your place in the world regardless of age, gender or sexuality. It’s like a team sport, isn’t it? If we’re all on the same team, everything works better. Simply said, we just can’t love each other enough.”
For more information and support, visit Parents of Gender Diverse Kids, an organisation run by some amazing super mums!