beauty

The incredible moment an ABC radio host realised he was a transgender man named Eddie.

For many, the name Emma Ayres is synonymous with the long-time host of ABC’s Classic FM breakfast radio host. But Eddie Ayres? The recognition radar hardly budges.

What many didn’t realise until an in-depth feature was published in Good Weekend on Saturday, though, was that they are one.

“I’ve waited a long time to do this,” the 49-year-old says now. “I suppressed this for so long, now I feel I can’t wait.”

Speaking about his journey of transitioning from Emma to Eddie, Ayres says he first realised he was a man during a cycling trip in Pakistan 16 years ago.

Watching Hillary Swank’s Oscar-winning film, Boys Don’t Cry (a film about a transgender man killed by his friends), Ayres says he suddenly thought, “Oh, fuck…That’s me. I am fucking transgender.”

But like many transgender people, Ayres considered it to be a “terrible realisation,” and one he was ill-equipped to deal with at the time.

Growing up in a happy single parent family in England, Eddie says he realised he was attracted to women when he was around 14-years-old.

“I got to lesbian and just stopped,” he explained.

In the 16 years that followed on from that day in Pakistan, Ayres’ life underwent major changes.

He lived in Sydney with his girlfriend and worked at the ABC before moving to Afghanistan in 2014 to work at a prestigious classical music school, teaching children to play the viola. Gradually, he began researching the transitioning process.

After years of denial, he began to hate being recognised as a woman, and he loathed his headscarf.

“I’d weep at being stuck in this female body, it just wasn’t me,” he told Fairfax. Afghanistan forced him to stop lying and to confront his true identity.

Undergoing a double mastectomy in February of this year, Ayres says the surgery was emotionally overwhelming.

“It was so enormous,” he says, explaining, “I cried out of gratitude … I cried that I was having to do this, and I cried because I was doing it. I cried because I was happy I lived in a country like Australia where I could do it.”

He will begin testosterone injections soon.

Sadly, living in Afghanistan as a transgender male is not a safe option for Ayres, who is now back in Australia with his girlfriend. “I don’t think I will ever leave Emma behind. I’m still her,” but believes that the melancholic sadness he carried around “for many years” is finally being let go as he moves into the next stage of his life.

“I don’t think I will ever leave Emma behind,” Ayres says. “I’m still her.” But for now, the melancholic sadness he carried around “for many years” is finally being let go.

Read the full Good Weekend feature with Eddie Ayres here