Stuff co.nz 23 May 2015
“Whatever you write about me, please, don’t say, Marco was born a boy and now he’s a girl. I was always a girl, it just took some time to share it with the world”.
We’re sitting around the kitchen table of a family’s home, mum and dad and two daughters, a shaggy dog in the background. The rest of the family is listening quietly as Marco, now 21, explains how, even though she had been raised a boy, she had always identified as a girl, and how she slowly shared it with the rest of the world.
“When I was little, maybe five or six, something felt off, different. I couldn’t find the words to describe it. I didn’t really understand it. It didn’t really bother me but I really enjoyed doing things that boys typically weren’t meant to do. I wanted to look the way some of the girls did.”
Marco first heard the word transgender at the age of about nine, but it wasn’t anything to feel good about. The transgender people she first saw were bizarre fiends on TV crime shows or distressed people yelling at their relatives on tabloid-style day time TV.
“I was really seeing a very warped, exaggerated, kind of horrible version of what it means to be transgender. I went into this massive identity crisis and denial. For the next few years it was a cycle of denial, then eventually I’d acknowledge it and take a step slightly out of the closet, but that would be too much, just horrible, and I’d go running back. I felt very alone.”
Despite a close, loving family, life was bleak and confusing for Marco for some time, until a lesbian friend at high school suggested coming along to a support group for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people.