March 31st is International Transgender Day of Visibility or Trans Day of Visibility and is a day that “celebrates gender diverse people all around Australia by sharing stories, starting conversations and attending events.”
Clint Woolly spoke to Edward Montague, 23, better known as Eddie, who kindly answered some questions about being a trans man and how he connects with others.
Hi, I’m Eddie. I am originally from Northamptonshire, England and I have lived here 16 years.
I am a very groovy old soul who enjoys dancing to disco with my disco diva, exploring historic architecture, going to gigs, cackling with my gaggle of gays and eating cheese.
I am the one who infamously dislocated my knee at Pride Fairday late last year.
I'm also fundraising for top surgery and would really appreciate your support through GoFundMe.
When you first heard the term that you now identify with, how did you feel it related to your own feelings and experience?
It was a very lengthy journey to discover what felt right and what felt like me. My cousin in the UK is also a trans man and after speaking with him for many years, plus surrounding myself with many trans people, it clicked. I found it particularly hard because I am a very feminine presenting trans man. Not many people understand me because of how I present. I feel it is vital to break down gender stereotypes and the assumption that trans men are not allowed to be fem boys etc.
How does being a trans man relate to your gender identity, sexuality and sex?
It is everything to me. I am a bisexual fem boy. I can’t escape it or hide it. I am completely and utterly a trans man, it relates to everything I am and everything I do. I am reminded all day long, every day by the struggle of my gender dysphoria.
Are labels helpful and important to you?
To me, I find labels helpful to a degree. They are very important to me, but also have their downsides. I find it hard because I have always felt like I don’t really fit into one box or one category. I am in my own little bubble.
How open to others are you about your identity?
I am very open to everyone about who I am. I find it very important to be vocal about who I am so I can help educate those around me on my pronouns and how to refer to me etc. My identity is everything to me and I really have to fight sometimes to feel included or for my place in certain circumstances.
Can you tell us about a recent experience where you didn’t feel your identity was acknowledged?
Oh, I have so many but I'll just pick my main ones...
My biggest advice for anyone who is cisgender in the community is, do not question someone, just carry on with what you’re doing.
I have on many occasions been told “this is the male toilets” or “you’re in the wrong toilet Miss”. These statements have been made by cis gay men at our safe spaces. I know not necessarily any harm was meant in what they were saying, but I think it best to assume that I know exactly what toilet I chose to go into, please just carry on. I have a lot of trouble with things like that.
My biggest recent experiences have been where ex friends or people in the community, who know exactly how I identify, choose to misgender or deadname me on purpose.
Deadname: refers to the name given to the transgender person at birth and or prior to transitioning.
What can we as a community do better?
More education is needed with our community on Trans identities. We deserve respect. It is not hard to just show people respect by not questioning who they are or what they are doing. Just let them be. More representation is needed, more solidarity within our own community is needed too.
In reference to my last point in the previous question, it is NEVER acceptable to purposely misgender or deadname someone because you do not like them. You don’t get to make that decision. You respect people.
Are there any regular meet-ups or events where people can catch up IRL with like-minded folks?
Some of my favourite events to meet similar crowds to me have been:
- Cherry Bomb at Lucy’s Love Shack.
- The Live Work Pose Benefit Ball at Connections Nightclub
- Oddball at Connections Nightclub
- Perth Gay Social Club events
- Perth Gaymers events
Also, any night at Lucy’s love Shack, Connections Nightclub, The Bird & Picabar.
I recommend checking out the events, pages and groups on Facebook for the events listed above.
How do you connect with other similar people in the Queer community?
I connect with others usually through social media, meeting them at queer events and Connections Nightclub mostly. I am yet to meet or hang out with someone like me though. Most of my friends are cis men, because I find I relate to them more, I have hung out with mostly men my whole life. It would be nice to meet another camp & feminine presenting trans man with similar interests to me though.
It is very important to me to connect with other people in the community. 95% of the people in my life are queer or allies from queer community events and queer spaces. I find it a little isolating here at times but it is important to stay connected through social media and attending queer events on a regular basis where possible.
Here are the standard questions we ask all of our guests:
What other LGBTQIA+ Events in Perth that we should look out for?
Other than the ones I listed previously, any events involving or ran by Serenity Von Varda, House Of Reign & Spectacles Productions.
Attending local Drag, Burlesque and Performing Arts events in general.
Make sure to follow the socials of:
- The Rechabite
- The Ellington Jazz Club
- The Royale Theatre
- Connections Nightclub
- Lucy’s Love Shack
- The Bird
To stay up-to-date on local events and performances.
Are you involved in any other LGBTQIA+ organisations or events in Perth?
I actively attend many queer events in the community. You can find me bouncing around (Pre my knee reconstruction) at Connies (Connections Nightclub).
I am always very vocal on socials about queer issues.
Stay tuned in the very near future though, I have some exciting stuff coming up and you'll be hearing a lot more of me.
What do you think is great about the LGBTQIA+ Community in Perth?
I think we are very unique here. We are very lucky in many ways, that it is such a close and tight knit network. We don’t as-a-whole have a very clicky community. Most people are very welcoming and open to chatting and being social with you, when out and about.
I love that I can attend any queer event or turn up to Connections Nightclub on any day and know almost everyone there, including the staff. It makes me feel very safe and at home. That is a very unique experience.
And what improvements would you like to see for the community here?
I wish people were a little more loyal, more open to educating themselves on different identities to their own and were less judgemental.
We, as a community, have already faced many uphill battles to get our rights, respect etc. The least our community can do is show respect and support to one another. Queer spaces are the ONLY safe space for many people, including myself. It is vital that ALL queer people can have their space to thrive and be themselves. If we are turning against each other and pushing people out, that is very dangerous. We don’t know what happens when people go home and what happens behind closed doors. We don’t know what homes people might be going back to. It is so important people have a place they can feel safe to be their authentic selves in.
I do believe we should always hold people accountable for their actions, but I also think it is very important to give people a chance to grow, prove themselves and not blacklist them forever. People can grow and they can change.
What would you recommend for anyone new to Perth that they must see or do here?
Support local performing artists! The performing arts scene here is world class. People really should never sleep on Perth artists. We have produced some of the best musicians out there.
- Transfolk of WA - A peer support service for transgender people and their loved ones in Western Australia.
- PFLAG Perth - Helping families and friends understand and support their LGBTI loved ones with knowledge, acceptance, love and pride.
- Freedom Centre (FC) - helps support young people, families and whole communities to be healthy, happy and informed about diverse sexuality, gender and sex.
- Perth Innercity Youth Services - Our vision for young people is that they will have the opportunity to make positive choices in their lives and realise their own potential.
- Trans Day of Visibility - is an annual international celebration of trans pride and awareness, recognising trans and gender diverse experiences and achievements.