Teen speaks out about being transgender
WHEN prospective parents are asked what gender they'd like their baby to be, the answer is usually "I'll love it no matter what".
But a Bundaberg teen is asking why that doesn't always apply when a child decides their body doesn't match how they feel inside.
Speaking openly, Ollie and mum Tracey Mobbs are talking about what it means to be a young transgender person in a world that's not always so understanding.
"I've always felt different to all the other girls and I felt like I had to try to be a girl," says Ollie, who came out to his parents just six months ago.
"I despised the idea of having long girly things like girly hair, when I looked at little boys I used to think 'why can't I look like them with short hair'.
"I was very young when I first kind of realised I was a bit different, but I assumed everyone was like that."
Ms Mobbs said she always knew something was different but didn't realise her child was transgender, an issue she now believes needs more awareness.
"It was always a very difficult time for us when I'd dress him up for a disco and want him to wear something pretty," she said.
Ollie was more comfortable in board shorts.
"I feel there should be more information out there readily available for it, if there was I would have recognised it a lot sooner," Ms Mobbs said.
"I didn't even know because I didn't know anything about it."
Ollie, born a girl, has been through it all in his 14 years - from bullying to peer pressure to go on dates and online trolls cruelly telling him to die.
Feeling at a loss in a female body, Ollie started to self-harm, something he says is common among transgender people.
"I've had people say being transgender is a mental illness, but it really doesn't bother me because I know it's not a mental illness or a phase and I'm ok with it," he said.
"There are obviously some people that do accept it but a lot of people are very close-minded."
Ollie is now home-schooled and has started having appointments with the gender clinic at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital.
"I was quite hopeful, I felt I could start feeling like myself," Ollie said of starting the sessions.
Ms Mobbs says when she was pregnant with Ollie, she was shocked to be told she was having a girl because she felt so strongly her baby would be a boy.
In two years, after red tape runs its course and hormone therapy is administered, that boy will finally be born.
"It'll take about two years for him to become male," she said.
"It's not very easy on the parents either, you kind of grieve in a way because you feel like you've lost something - it's a difficult process."
But ultimately, Ms Mobbs says it's about the child being who they are inside.
"It's putting you into what you are," she said.
Ms Mobbs said discrimination levelled at transgender people was "very destroying" for people already so vulnerable to bullying.
"You're your own worst judge already," she said.
Ms Mobbs said parents of transgender chidlren should give their kids the space to be who they are.
"Just let the children tell you, because they do tell you in their own way," she said.
"Love and support them, they know their body and mind."
"There's always help out there and they shouldn't feel ashamed. I did hide it for a time and it only made me worse," he said.