Everyone should be able to love who they want and be who they truly are

Published: March 29, 2018

Every person deserves to be treated with kindness and respect and to be able to live an authentic life. Lori Turner from Medibank’s People & Culture team and her husband Grant were blessed with twin boys, one of whom is now happily living life as the girl she was always meant to be.

Chloe entered this world as healthy little boy Jackson, alongside her brother Zavier. Lori says it was very early on that Chloe began identifying as female.

Jackson before her transition

Jackson, now Chloe, before starting her transition.

Chloe and twin brother Zavier arm in arm

Chloe with her supportive, twin brother Zavier.

“From just one-year-old, she would wrap scarves around her head and pretend she had long hair. She always preferred ‘girl’ toys and wanted to wear dresses. It was when she was four years old that she really started showing signs of distress by not having her affirmed gender recognised.”

Then, one defining moment that really stood out to Lori and Grant.

“We were watching a program on ABC’s Four Corners about transgender kids. I showed Chloe a snippet of the program and she said, ‘that’s how I feel mum, I’m a girl too’. She later told me that she didn’t realise she had a choice.”

It was at this moment that Lori knew they had to do something to really support Chloe in her journey. With the support and guidance of the Gender Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Safe Schools, her community and her family, Chloe started her social transition.

“We’ve received so much support that the only regret we have is not having done it sooner. We’re also connected to the organisation Transcend as well as Parents of Gender Diverse Children who have been so amazing in supporting our family. We now have one happy little girl on our hands, who loves her puppy Molly and fighting with her twin brother Zavier.”

Family photo, Lori, Zavier, puppy, Chloe and Grant

Chloe with her family.

With such a significant event taking place, it was important for Lori and Grant to make sure that Chloe understood what was in front of her in making the transition.

“The Gender Clinic helped us have conversations with Chloe about how she was feeling and prepare for the social transition. We worked very hard to build her resilience and how to deal with questions that other kids may have. We encouraged her to answer questions that were asked respectfully but also have boundaries.”

Chloe’s transition has not only been an important stage in her life but also in her brother’s life. Lori and Grant have always made sure to consider and include Zavier in their conversations, answering any questions he may have just as they did with his sister.

“We always reminded him and still do that he’s a very important part of our family and Chloe’s journey. We have discussions around accepting people for who they are and we also spoke to him about building resilience and how to answer questions from other kids.”

Chloe in school uniform

Happy Chloe on her first day of school.

According to Lori, Zavier has always been his sister’s biggest ally, celebrating Chloe’s first day of school and having a rainbow painted on his face at a recent event.

“We attended an event run by the Parents of Gender Diverse Children and he told me that he chose to have a rainbow painted on his face ‘because everyone should be able to love who they want to love and be who they are, and I want to support my sister.’”

Zavier with rainbow paint on his face

Chloe’s twin brother, Zavier, is her number 1 ally.

Medibank has been by Lori’s family’s side from day one of Chloe’s transition. As a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, this change was something the business deeply supported.

“FlexBetter allowed me to take some time off work and support my daughter through the change. I received so much love and well wishes from my team and was being checked in on regularly. I felt genuinely cared about and supported.”

This whole experience has driven her to play an active role in the Pride+Passion team and allowed her to contribute to LGBTI inclusion at Medibank.

“I’m very open to sharing my own experiences and supporting colleagues who identify or care for children who identify as transgender or gender diverse. It gives me hope that by the time Chloe reaches employment, there will be more organisations like Medibank who are committed to the inclusion of LGBTI people.”

Chloe dressed as a fairy

Chloe played dress-up as a fairy for her school book week.

Since beginning her transition, Chloe has grown into a social butterfly who is outgoing and loves life. Lori says throughout the journey up until this point and looking forward to the future, her hope for her daughter remains the same.

“I hope that she takes the unconditional love she has from her family and continues to thrive. I want her to live her best life and support others in her community to do the same’.

On the first evening of Chloe’s transition, Lori turned to her daughter and asked her how she felt, to which she replied, “Mum, I feel free.”


#LGBTI #people

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