MARGOT Fink was clever about how she told her parents she was trans — she took them out for a delicious lunch to get them in a good mood.
“I started by introducing them to my trans friends to get them used to meeting trans people,” she told the Star Observer.
[showads ad=MREC]“When I took them for the talk I buttered them up with yum cha. I was very strategic about it.
“I wrote them a letter… I wanted the chance for them to read and reread it and while they did I went upstairs into my room and when I came back down we had a long talk.
“Dad ran up and gave me a hug and said: ‘I don’t understand, but I love you’.”
Despite facing her share of challenges, Fink, 21, knew she was lucky to have a supportive family and decided to help other trans and LGBTI youth who were not as fortunate. She also credits youth organisation Minus 18 with allowing her to help others.
“When I found Minus 18, I found people I could talk to. I started going to events and my whole world opened up,” she said.
“I got a lot of my confidence from that.”
Now working as communications manager at Minus 18, Fink has become a national leader on trans and gender issues for young people.
In 2015 she was one of four finalists in the Young Victorian of the Year awards, and is on the steering committee with the national Safe Schools Coalition Australia program. She also helps lead Victorian trans youth activism and support group YGender, and does LGBTI advocacy work with the Victorian Government and Victoria Police.
Fink was also a driving force behind the All Of Us teaching resource that launched in late 2015. The program is the first government-approved LGBTI teaching resource of its kind, with a focus on dispelling misconceptions that lead to bullying and creating safer school communities for students, staff, and families of all identities.
To cap off a fantastic year, she was also a finalist in the 2015 Daily Life Women of the Year awards.
Fink said her work in the community was about paying it forward for younger trans and gender fluid people.
“Since I started to volunteer, that timid quiet anxious young person would never have been able to accomplish what I have and I would have that sense of peace if not for that great community,” she said.
“I want to expand that… and give young people voices.”
A passionate visual artist, Fink uses her creative talents to create multimedia content to help young people. However, there is more she would like to do.
“I’m glad to see more attention given to LGBTI issues (in the media),” she said.
“It’s only been three years since I came out and even just in those three years there’s been a huge shift and the the pace is accelerating, but there’s still a long way to go. Our work is far from over.
“As much as we have great things for young people — there’s always more we could do.”
In the little spare time she has, Fink loves indulging her passion for video games and hanging out with her girlfriend.
While not playing video games, Fink and her Minus 18 team are preparing for some youth-centric events at this year’s Midsumma festival in Melbourne, including organising a massive contingent for Pride March.
“We’ll be at the Midsumma Carnival hosting the youth stage. We’ll have music and a DJ playing and we usually attract a big crowd,” she said.
“We also have two dance events during the summer, including the Schools Out dance event, coming up on the 22nd of January.
“We’re collaborating with Safe Schools to do a standout youth section at Pride March.
“Last year, it was incredible seeing 200 young people united in a massive group, we got so many comments, about all these amazing out and proud young people.”
Do you know of an unsung community hero who deserves recognition? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your tip.
Midsumma is on January 17 – February 7. Details: midsumma.org.au
For all of Star Observer’s Midsumma coverage, click here
**This article was first published in the February edition of the Star Observer, which is available now. Click here to find out where you can grab a copy in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.
Read the February edition — the Midsumma issue — of the Star Observer in digital format: