Lifestyle

Just because a man wears a dress, doesn't mean he's gay

Emma and Reg Colin are open about the transgender community to raise awareness and encourage acceptance of diversity.
Emma and Reg Colin are open about the transgender community to raise awareness and encourage acceptance of diversity. Brendan Bufi

HERVEY Bay transgender Reg Colin can rise above the odd strange look while out wearing a dress, but getting punched in the face was taking it too far.

Reg, 40, is calling for more support and education about gender issues on the Fraser Coast after being assaulted at a nightclub.

Reg identifies as neither a man or a woman and is proud to be known as 'Shima' (a combination of she and him).

But being open about being transgender and wearing women's clothes is not without risk.

"I was at karaoke on a Wednesday night a few weeks back with Emma and a friend of ours and this man started harassing us," Reg said.

"He kept asking me why I was wearing a dress and was calling me gay, but what people need to know is that just because a man wears a dress, doesn't mean he's gay.

"Anyway I stood up to ask him to leave us alone and he punched me in the face."

PHOTOGRAPHER REJECTS GAY COUPLE AS CLIENTS

Reg said Bayswater Hotel was supportive of the LGBTIQ community and was not to blame for the incident.

"It was just unfortunate that it happened there because Bayswater is so supportive of gay and transgender people," Reg said.

"But it's not the only time I've been harassed because of who I am, unfortunately there are bigots everywhere."

Reg was once laughed at by young employees at a local discount variety store and believes they took photos on their phones.

Reg said better education for people at an early age would prevent situations like that.

"Teaching people about the difference between being transgender and being gay, and the different types of gender would go a long way in stopping bigotry," Reg said.

"I think it should be taught as part of sex ed and in the workplace."

Reg explains that they have been openly transgender for almost a year, but has struggled with gender identity for a life time.

Reg spoke to a psychologist about the possibility of being transgender and in August last year, became confident enough to openly identify as a transgender and gender-fluid person.

Reg's partner of two years Emma Colin, who also identifies as gender-neutral, stayed with and supported Reg as they went through the gender transition process.

"He supported me through my problems and so I was so proud to support Reg when he went decided to open up as gender-fluid," Emma said.

"Any obstacle we found that we came up against we just talked it out and really it was the outside world that had the issues and judgement but he has treated me like a queen since we met and I said to him 'if you want to wear a dress honey, you bloody well wear that dress.'"

But Fraser Gays co-ordinator Sally Cripps said while the people on the Fraser Coast were generally accepting and welcoming of people in the LGBTIQ community, the area still had a long way to go when it came to supporting transgender people.

"It's a big change and Life is really hard for transgender community and there is absolutely no support for them in this community at all," Ms Cripps said.

"They need to go to Cairns to see doctors to subscribe hormones, but there's just no support for them locally, aside from certain psychiatrists and doctors.

"We [the LGBTIQ community] don't really have anywhere to go, but we do have support hotlines that we have can ring to get help, and the rest is done by people like me who just do it off their own back."

Ms Cripps said she wanted to make it clear that homosexuality and bisexuality and transgender were two separate identity issues.

"The gay community is about sexuality and not just homosexuality but a large spectrum of sexualities," she explained.

Transgender people were born and assigned a sex a birth, but they weren't that sex inside, they don't identify that way."

Ms Cripps said transgender people can lose close friendships and relationships with family during the process of their transition.

"It can be quite confusing for not only the people who are going through the changes but also the people around them," she said.

"They can't come to terms with what that person's going through because they've known them as one way for so long."

Ms Cripps said the Fraser Coast was heading in the right direction of supporting LGBTIQ community members, but more education would go a long way.

"Generally most people here are quite accepting," she said.

"But there are still people who are homophobic and transphobic but you get those people everywhere.

"We're just normal people just trying to have a life, and we all just need to understand each other."  

Topics:  editors picks fraser coast gender hervey bay maryborough transgender



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Woman accused of starting Urraween house fire

She was charged with wilful damage, arson and common assault.

Hervey Bay centre underpays Indigenous care workers $80K

Kal'ang Respite Care Centre - clients like Client Caroline de Gelder fought for the centre to stay open and operating as fears grew of the centre's future before June 2015 . Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

The centre now hopes to move on in a positive direction.

Thumbs up: awesome customer service on Fraser Coast

Shout out to the new manager at Nonii B in Stockland, Hervey Bay.

Local Partners

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Seacrest: Things are "going better" for Kim and Kanye

Ryan Seacrest says things are "going better now" for Kanye West

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!