I am also a stand-up comedian, meaning I spend a lot time in bars, around people drinking and then travelling home late at night. Being able to have surgery to pass as female will go a long way to making this experience a lot safer for me.
After 29 years of living in the wrong body and experiencing severe gender dysphoria, anxiety, depression and diminished health, I'm aiming to begin this transition in earnest as quickly as possible so that I may one day not experience these damaging issues. For a more in-depth look at my personal story, here's a version of what I wrote earlier this year on Facebook, sharing my experience publicly for the first time:
"I’m transgender. I’m a woman and I’ve been living in the wrong body for 29 years. I get that for some this isn’t always an easy thing to understand and believe me, growing up and feeling like this, it’s not always easy to understand having lived it. For so many years I struggled to comprehend why I, a seemingly straight man, wanted to wear women’s clothes and put on make-up. I wondered why the label “lesbian” always seemed to feel so right for me. There wasn’t a tonne of info about this available to me even as I got to my late teen years, the years I was so heavily suppressing yet secretly exploring these feelings. I grew up in a time where to be trans was to be a punchline on a bad sitcom. “But she… has a penis!” “What have I done?!” Cue rapturous laughter and applause. It made it seem that to be trans, or to be with someone who was trans, was a deeply shameful thing. So I hid those feelings away. Nope. I’m “normal”. Let’s not address those at all. I never thought to talk to anyone because I didn’t understand how to articulate it and if I tried, surely I’d be seen as crazy and admonished for feeling that way. For a few years there, I think I genuinely managed to banish the thoughts from my head. But they came back. They were always gonna come back.
I began to feel the need to dress feminine again. I pushed my female fashion sense on my then girlfriend. If I couldn’t have these things, someone close to me may as well have them. I even started to look into the subculture and discovered that a very large amount of heterosexual men crossdress and are totally comfortable with their sexuality and gender. Surely that was me, right? I convinced myself of that for a while. I still harboured these unexplored desires in secret, but then I moved out of home. Then my girlfriend and I broke up. I was home alone and had the freedom to explore these desires. So I bought some women’s clothes and started wearing them in private. It wasn’t my first time dressing up like this, but that they were mine made the experience feel different. More comfortable. More right. And the more I did it, the more comfortable I got. And the more comfortable I got, the more these old questions popped up again. “Is there more to this? Are you actually a woman?” No. I couldn’t be. What about all those straight crossdressers?!
Then I got another girlfriend. The person who would go on to become my best friend. To this day, she is the best person I’ve ever met. Even though we couldn't make it work, I would never hold this against her. She's amazing. I had a really good feeling about her early on, so I of course didn’t tell her about this shameful secret of mine. But she found out. I had lied to her. But, enormous heart that she has, she stayed with me and put up with this thing that was always tinged with dishonesty. She asked if I was gay. I said no. She asked if I wanted to be a woman. I said no. For a while, I believed myself. But the more I got to explore this feminine side of myself, often now in public and with friends, the more comfortable I got, the more those questions yielded their terrifying heads again. “Why does it cause you so much pain to take off female clothing? Why do you feel like you almost have a phantom limb where your boobs should be? You picked a name in case? Shouldn’t that be a pretty obvious sign?” Turns out it was pretty obvious. I can’t thank her enough for putting up with it, because the more I got to do it, the closer I got to being honest with myself about what was really going on. I’ll love her forever for that. It wasn’t easy for her and still isn’t after things ended between us, but she’s always been there for me and I can’t ever repay her for what’s she’s done for me.
There’s so much more I could say about how I got to realise I’m a transgendered, lesbian woman; about the constant, nagging questions in my head, the depression, the anxiety, the constant hatred of the way my body felt and how I looked in the mirror, now matter how many times people close to me told me I was beautiful. It wasn't right. It wasn't me. I've coped with these feelings by behaving poorly in relationships and participating in self destructive behaviour, because it was easier to block these feelings out than deal with the pain. It was absolute torture at times, but the important thing is I got there and to every single person I’ve confided in along the way, I love you with every bit of my heart and soul and appreciate every second of time you’ve given me. I couldn’t have done it without all of you. It would feel a bit strange to list everyone off, but I hope you all know who you are. You have a friend for life in me. You helped me realise who I really am. That’s huge.
What I do want to say is that I’ve got a really long, tough road ahead of me. It’s gonna be scary, awkward, emotional etc. etc. If I ever look like I’m struggling, a check-in would mean the world to me. I also know this may lead some people to believe I’m gonna change as a person. Not so. I’m still the same idiot I was before. I’m still a blokey goof who loves sport, KFC and making a total arse of myself. I’m just gonna look different. I’m your blokey lesbian friend.
I’m not really sure what else to say other than if you could try to use female pronouns (she/her) for me, not just when I’m there, but when I’m not there too, that would really help and be very touching. I might not always be presenting as female to begin with, because this is gonna be a long process and a damn expensive one (not cheap to be trans!) so please bear with me.
And yes, there’s a name change. It’s Rose. Or Rosie, if you like. Nice to meet you all. I’m gonna put my phone away and go jump in the ocean now. See you all when I get back.
Big love. Thank you for reading.
Rose Alice Piper."
Hopefully that gives you a bit of insight into who I am, what I've gone through and what's ahead of me. I don't have designs on raising the $100,000+ this will eventually cost me (though I'd be stoked if I did!), but any help you can provide would mean the absolute world to me. I am endlessly appreciative of any gesture, no matter the size. It is all something that gets me closer to being my true self and being happy. I reckon that makes you a pretty awesome person.
As one of very few transgendered comedians in Australia, I hope this gets me to a place where I have a platform that can show others in my situation, whether a comedian or from any other walk of life, that things will get better and getting to the good will make it all seem worthwhile. These donations will all help towards me getting to that position.
If you'd like to connect with me, you can do so on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I'd love to hear from you.
I'm not sure what else to say except to reiterate that any amount you choose to donate has a hugely positive effect on my life and I cannot thank you enough for doing an incredibly wonderful deed.
Huge, huge love.