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Earlier this year, in an interview for Australian Story, Melbourne teenager Georgie Stone described the confusion of her early childhood. She was a girl, inside the body of a boy. ‘I felt like a mythical creature,’ she said. ‘I wasn’t really real’.
For transgender and gender-diverse youth, the disparity between the way they see themselves and the way they are seen by others can be the cause of intense distress. In addition to that – and the prospect of bullying from their peers – transgender youth in Australia face a specific set of medical and legal hurdles. Australia is the only country in the world where it’s necessary to apply to court to access puberty-blocking hormones.
When Georgie was 11, she became the youngest person in this country to be granted this permission from the courts. Now a thriving 16-year-old, Georgie is fighting to spare other children and teenagers from the distress and cost of the court process.
Georgie will be joined by her mother and founder of the Transcend support network, Rebekah Robertson, Campbell Paul, a child psychiatrist specialising in gender dysphoria and host, Jacinta Parsons. Join us at the Wheeler Centre for a conversation with an exceptional young Australian about gender, courage and making history.
Georgie Stone, 16, was the subject of the recent ABC TV Australian Story episode ‘About a Girl’ (2016) and the Four Corners report ‘Being Me’ (2014). Her landmark court case, Re: Jamie, changed how trans adolescents access medical support in Australia. Georgie is a determined advocate for trans teens, taking her fight for law reform all the way to the Federal Parliament.
Rebekah Robertson founded Transcend – the first peer led nationwide support network for transgender children and their families – in 2012, and has been community building and advocating since 2007. She has been at the forefront of transforming the landscape for families of trans kids. Her daughter Georgie's landmark court case changed the law, making access to medical support possible for many more children.
Associate Professor Campbell Paul is a consultant infant, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, and Honorary Principal Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne.
Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, writer, speaker and author of memoir Unseen: The secret life of chronic illness. She is an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Association of Australia. She currently hosts Afternoons on ABC Melbourne, delivering a popular mix of art, culture and ideas.
It’s possible Beyonce called it a little early when she declared, Who run the world? Girls! But if girls don’t (yet) rule the whole planet, they will at least rule the Wheeler Centre for one week in October. HEY GIRL examines the experience of girlhood through a feminist lens – from race, identity and sexuality to development and mental health, the role of social media, to the representation of girls in fiction and more broadly in the media.
What defines girlhood and how is that changing? How do experiences and representations of girlhood vary? Join us to explore the challenges that girls continue to face and let’s hatch some plans to kick those obstacles to the kerb.