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My three favourite things in life are respect, honesty, and my two cats (Bam-Bam and Pebbles).

I work for the ACT Government in E-Health at the hospital. That’s my regular day job. And I do volunteer work for sex and gender diverse people. My credo is helping people to live authentic lives, so that’s why I’m in Canberra today. My job is to help others.

The relationships that I share with my sisters of all different ages here in Canberra. That’s the best bit about being a woman here.

I would say the hardest thing about being a woman in Canberra is that when I’ve worked with the Federal Government, quite often I’m invisible. I work in business and ICT, and there are lots of chaps, lots of males in that area. So often I’ve been very invisible. It is getting better now though because more women are coming into that work area, but you know I’ve been doing it for thirty odd years and years ago I was the only woman in the programming department, so I didn’t exist.

It’s pretty easy for me to maintain my health and wellbeing in Canberra because I’m a gregarious, sociable sort of person—I talk to everybody! Which sometimes is a bit annoying for people I think if I just strike up a conversation with people on the bus, but hey, I can tell within about three seconds whether they want to talk to me. But I know that for many other people Canberra can be very cliquey.

I have friends, particularly within the sex and gender diverse community, who might not be working. If you haven’t got any money in Canberra, it’s really, really tough. For example I have a friend who doesn’t have a car, who was living in Gungahlin—it’s really difficult to get around. So I think maintaining your health and wellbeing is easy or difficult depending on your temperament or whatever. But I do know a lot of people who have mental health issues, and it can be really difficult finding providers of care and things like that. Yeah, I’m lucky I guess, but I’m aware of the difficulties.

It means a huge amount to me to be a woman because I started my life presenting to the world as a male, for the first 29 years. And it wasn’t until age 29 that I was able to transition to presenting to the world as female. Also what it means to me to be a woman is—you know, since becoming a woman I’ve learnt a lot more about feminism and the struggle for rights for women in equality, so that means a very big amount to me. And that kind of lead to my wanting human rights for all oppressed people, with my focus particularly being human rights for sex and gender diverse people. So it’s been a journey.

I’m very happy and optimistic for the future.

My perfect day in Canberra would be a day with friends, some good food, great conversation, love and laughter.

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Find out more about my work at:

YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/TranzAustralia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jenster2012

Posters (ACT): https://www.facebook.com/TransrespectACT

Posters (Whole of Australia): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Transrespect-Australia/1584960718389447

Please contact tranzaustralia@gmail.com for information on our Trans* 101 Education Session

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Image created by Liz Thompson