Kai Clancy was Indigenous X host from September 26 to October 2, 2014.
Five questions to Kai
From a young age, I knew something was not right. I questioned myself constantly, “why was I made like this?” and “what went wrong at birth?” Why wasn’t I like my friends? I was equally as good at footy, pokemon and building sandcastles, the big question was why didn’t my body correlate with my gender. I was experiencing gender dysphoria, a term used to describe the intense discomfort of your body not matching up with how you feel in your head. At the age of 17, I decided to embark on a transition to make me feel at ease with myself – I came out as transgender.
For me personally, the decision was tough, weighty and I was really ashamed about it all. Before coming out as transgender, I was vice captain at my high school, worked in a federal politician’s office and was awarded a full scholarship to Bond University. They’re still my achievements, regardless of who I decide to be.
The reason why it was so tough was because, I thought, as an Aboriginal person who has immense pride and connection to their culture and actively participated in a dance troupe, what would the transition mean? I grew up doing women’s dance and culture business, and having to sacrifice that would probably be just as painful as gender dysphoria itself.
It got to a point where my mental discomfort was becoming physical, I couldn’t get out of bed and experience everyday life and judgement as someone who I wasn’t. One day, I got up and I ran away from everything (not everyone), left my job, my university scholarship and started afresh. I do not regret it one bit. I needed to do this for myself, to survive and to move on and live happily without ridicule and judgement for being transgender.
I began my hormone replacement therapy, a fortnightly testosterone injection. The injection induces male puberty, meaning my voice deepened, I grew facial hair and my body shape changed – just like young teenage males do when they enter puberty. I also aspire to get chest reconstruction surgery in the future, that way I can actively participate comfortably in corroboree again without intense “shame” from my body.
Since coming out as transgender I have come across many amazing people, Aboriginal, transgender or perhaps both. I’ve also met other Aboriginal men who have taken the journey from female to male. To know there are other people out there like me gives me a strong sense of belonging and happiness. These men are the Brotherboys – this is who I am, I am a Brotherboy.
I will be interstate – away from the sunshine of Brisbane, Queensland into the fresh cool air of Sydney, New South Wales. I am travelling down to Sydney for a surgery consultation with regards to chest reconstruction. I am extremely excited about the surgeon’s consultation because this is a step closer of not being ashamed of my body anymore and shaking a leg without a shirt on.
During my time down here I will be bringing to light my political views from an Aboriginal perspective. In particular, I’ll be talking about constitutional recognition campaign and our sovereignty. I’ll be visiting the strong men and women of the Redfern Tent Embassy, who are courageously contesting development on The Block. I will also meet up with lots of other gender diverse people in Sydney and record videos for my YouTube channel with them.
Other strands of activism I am quite passionate about are queer rights, transgender rights, feminism, race and labour politics.