Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year, Georgie Stone, is a trans teenager using her story to change hearts and minds. Matthew Wade caught up with her to find out why young trans voices are so vital.

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If you told Georgie Stone ten years ago that her story would be both championed and sought after in the battle for trans rights in Australia, she wouldn’t have believed you.

“When I was younger I thought I’d have to keep quiet about my story for the rest of my life,” she says.

“To be able to share my story is really big, and I hope it helps to bring about change in the country, even if that just means one or two more people learning to accept us.”

At the age of ten Stone became the youngest person in Australia to be granted permission by a court to take hormone blockers, used during stage one treatment for young trans people.

It was a landmark case in the Family Court, and since, the teen advocate has worked tirelessly to push for law reform to enable young trans people to access stage two hormone treatment, which currently requires a costly and dangerous court process.

The fruits of Stone’s labour are evident, and haven’t gone unnoticed: recently she was named the 2018 Victorian Young Australian of the Year, a title she feels honoured to hold.

“I think it’s vital that more young trans voices are heard, so to get this award is a big step towards the full acceptance and recognition of trans people,” she says.

When it comes to the widespread issues facing gender diverse Australians, Stone plans to continue advocating for hormone access and trans youth, all while completing high school at the end of next year.

“I was talking to a group of trans and gender diverse kids and all of them were saying that they were getting bullied which is so scary,” she says.

“These kids were between 6 and 12, and to hear that they were being harassed at school was heartbreaking.

“I knew there was still work to be done, but hearing that invigorates me to continue raising awareness about this in schools.”

She also hopes to help spark a cultural shift by speaking with politicians and parents about trans youth.

“We have stories to tell and that’s why it’s important that more kids are speaking up,” she says.

“I’d really like to continue to talk to politicians and hopefully the Prime Minister, about my advocacy and what needs to be changed.”

Stone’s mother and founder of support service Transcend, Rebekah Robertson, says she’s thrilled that her daughter has been recognised by the Australian of the Year awards.

Robertson, much like Stone, highlights that this wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago.

‘It was unthinkable, and not because Georgie was a little girl and she wasn’t ready to tell her story – it’s because there just wasn’t the safety or understanding for that to be a possibility,” she says.

“So while we have a long way to go, I think this is a moment in time where we can enjoy the fact that a beautiful young trans person has been acknowledged this way.”

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