12 March 2016
Long road: For Notre Dame College Year 10 transgender student Alex Sinclair, the journey of self-discovery has been a long one. Alex, 15, spoke to The News this week about the circumstances of his situation and what led to him making the decision to identify as a male.
Meanwhile, Alex’s mother has praised the Catholic school for its understanding and sensitivity around the issue and for making her son’s transition as smooth as possible. For 15-year-old Alex Sinclair, making the bold move to identify as male was not one he arrived at easily.
The Notre Dame College Year 10 student told The News it was a decision he agonised over for a number of years.
Being born biologically female, Alex said over time he found he was attracted to girls but that initially these feelings were swept under the carpet.
After initially coming out as lesbian in September 2014, Alex said he later figured out that he wanted to identify as male.
‘‘It came up about Year 5 and I pushed it away. I just told myself it was a silly idea,’’ he said.
‘‘It didn’t come up for a few years and then all of a sudden — it was almost overnight — I just got hit by it and there was a lot of emotions.
‘‘I actually had friends on the internet from overseas who were LGBTI people and their experiences sort of triggered me and then I worked it out. I was sort of in a depressed stage as well. It just needed to be done.’’
This resulted in him unofficially changing his name to Alex, a change that has been well accepted by family and staff and students at the school.
Alex’s decision to change his identity culminated late last year in him inviting the leader of the Diversity support group he attends, Damien Stevens, a community development worker with Kildonan UnitingCare, to his school to speak to students and teachers.
‘‘Alex finished Year 8 as his former self and then wanted to return to school in Year 9 expressing himself the way he felt comfortable,’’ Mr Stevens said.
‘‘When you come out as gay or lesbian, it’s entirely different as coming out as trans. Alex is still on a journey and he may want to express himself as masculine one day and not so much the next day.’’
Alex said he had been accepted ‘‘gradually’’ by his peers at school.
‘‘At the start when Damien came in on that day, people looked at me as if to say ‘this is weird’,’’ he said.
‘‘Some people didn’t like me already because I had previously come out as lesbian. People became more accepting but I have never really cared about what people think.’’
Alex said he would consider medical procedures to continue his transition in the future, and his mother Dana Sinclair said she would be supportive of that.
‘‘Even as an adult, it’s quite a long process,’’ she said.
‘‘By the time Alex turns 18, if that’s something he wants to do, it’s neither here nor there for us.’’