For this month’s Gender Whisperer column, Katherine Wolfgramme speaks with with JOY 94.9 radio personality and trans advocate Rebeckah Loveday.
Rebeckah Loveday is a transgender woman living her authentic life in Melbourne, Australia. She firmly believes in breaking down sociological stereotypes around what it means to be a woman, and is currently studying to be an actor at Film and Television Studio International.
What is your gender identity?
I identify as a woman of transgender experience. I like that phrase because I am a woman, it’s just that my journey to womanhood looks different to most. I have always identified as a woman but I guess it took time to discover who I was, and to express and process my identity beyond just a physical transition. I needed time to process my mental and emotional identities as well, and once I felt all three had aligned, I transitioned publicly. My pronouns are she and her.
How did you choose your name?
I was with my brother on my first night out as a girl, and he was next to me when I was first asked this question. I hadn’t thought that far ahead, so my face went blank and I looked like a stunned mullet! My brother stepped in and said ‘her name is Rebeckah’ and from there, it was birthed.
What do you do for work, and how did you choose that path?
I’m currently an Employment Consultant, where I support LGBTIQ+ job seekers facing barriers to find meaningful employment. It’s a great place to work and in fact it is the first place I have worked openly and felt comfortable embracing my gender identity. I am very lucky and I have a fantastic and supportive team. I also volunteer at JOY 94.9 where I am part of an amazing trio on The Gender Agenda (which airs at 8pm on Wednesdays) but my true passion is acting and I am currently a student at the Film and Television Studio International. Look out Neighbours, I am coming for you!
Tell me about your transition.
I physically transitioned in my late teens but I truly believe transitioning is an ongoing process. Like everyone, trans people will forever change and grow and I think that is a beautiful thing. We can always find ways to improve, progress and be the best versions of ourselves. I didn’t have a lot of positive role models in those early stages but I was obsessed with Paris Hilton. I also remember being fascinated by Carlotta, and I still am! She is amazing. I definitely had fears of rejection and stigma, but I think I may have had a slightly easier journey than some. I have always had incredibly supportive friends, employers and family, and as a white, middle class Australian, I recognise my privileges despite being trans and want to make sure that I step down and make space for those from intersectional and marginalised communities.
What are you hopes for the trans community in the future?
My hope is that society will continue to grow, change and support us as a community. Yes we need to support our trans brothers, sisters and non-binary siblings but we need the support of our allies and the broader community to make progressive and everlasting change. My fear is that the statistics will rise and we will continue to lose some incredible people to suicide and transphobic-related crimes.
Do you have any advice for young trans women who have not yet transitioned but want to?
Take your time, it is not a race! Be kind, forgiving and patient with yourself. Love yourself and know that you are worthy of love.
If you could travel back in time, what would you tell yourself?
I would tell my younger self to appreciate who you are and to really know your worth, because you are an amazing person and deserve to be happy.
What is your favourite saying?
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” – Simone de Beauvoir.