It feels funny to call someone a friend when you only met them a week ago. But there you go.
Sometimes you just click with someone and you feel like you’re going to stay connected in some way.
I felt like that about Cate McGregor, the first trans-woman I’ve interviewed.
I’ve been diving deep into the trans experience lately. It began with learning more about Laverne Cox, the trans actress who plays Sophia on Orange Is The New Black and was kick-started further when Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out last year.
Listen to Mia’s No Filter interview with Cate, here: (Post continues after audio.)
I watched her interview with Diane Sawyer with my kids because I thought it would be a good way to introduce them to the concept of what it meant to be transgender.
We used to use terms like “sex-change” or (incorrectly) transvestite to describe trans people. Now, thanks to Sophia and Caitlin and Cate and all the other trans activists, we are far more aware of the nuances of what it means to feel like you were born into the wrong body.
I’ve also been binge-watching Transparent (via Stan), the award-winning American drama/comedy about a man who, like Bruce Jenner and Malcolm McGregor (Cate’s identity before she came out as trans), comes out later in his life.
I may have used the wrong pronouns just now. There is a lot to remember and a lot to be careful about when talking about trans people. Pronouns and names are hugely important. I used the male ones because I was talking about the lives of those people before they publicly transitioned into being women.
I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do or not but good intentions and benefit of the doubt counts for a lot as the late, great disability advocate Stella Young used to say when people asked her about whether she wanted to be referred to as a disabled person or someone with a disability.
One thing I have learned is that trans people don’t like the obsession we seem to have with what’s in their pants. Their decision whether or not to have gender reassignment surgery is a personal one and not a deal-breaker for whether they identify as male or female.
As a society, we’re on a steep learning curve and that’s awesome. Because suddenly (it seems sudden in terms of pop culture), trans people are visible.
Cate was named Queenslander of the year which automatically made her a finalist for Australian of the Year. She wanted to win.