Five Questions with Kai Clancy

Kai Clancy was Indigenous X host from September 26 to October 2, 2014.

Five questions to Kai

I come from the Wakka Wakka and Wulli Wulli nations. In my family we have been brought up to carry a rich sense of cultural pride and from this I developed a serious knack for Aboriginal affairs. I currently study political science at Griffith University and sometime in the future wish to be a policy advisor. I am the eldest child of Troy Clancy and Kylie Gibson and throughout my childhood I lived in Townsville, Gippsland and Ipswich.

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.

My followers will be invited into the life of a transgender Aboriginal person and I will highlight what it means to be both – all the hiccups and blessings I face on a daily basis. Hopefully this will allow my followers to understand gender diversity within our own community.

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.

My father, Troy Clancy is my number one role model a strong man family orientated man with good morals is what I aspire to be. Dean Ednason, is also a big role model in my life, like my dad a family orientanted man with good morals – Uncle Dean is a Brotherboy Elder. Playing hockey growing up, the only aboriginal player for me to look up to was Nova Peris, she’s also a pioneer of Australian politics. Being involved in the Australian Labor Party, I have been quite fortunate enough to have some strong progressive role models to look up to. Rachel Nolan and Penny Wong are two formidable women that have guided me through political life. I also look up to other individuals in our community like, Jimblah, Celeste Liddle, Gary Foley, Vivian Malo and Michael Anderson.
Our mob’s sovereignty, our land rights; I can not stress this enough. I feel as if it is a duty passed on through my ancestors to protect the land and our sovereignty. If I didn’t do this I’d feel immensely guilty, to have my ancestors know I did nothing about it. The Australian government would want to invest their time into reading the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Having autonomy over our own land is vital for our own people and our cultures to continue and thrive.

Other strands of activism I am quite passionate about are queer rights, transgender rights, feminism, race and labour politics.

I want to get chest reconstruction surgery and be happy in my own body. I want everyone to be happy within themselves.

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