Trans woman calls for gender-equal world on International Women's Day

Trans woman calls for gender-equal world on International Women's Day

Victoria Anthony is relatively new to the world of womanhood. In 2013 she went on a gap year to New York, leaving Sydney as a man to return one year later as a woman.

The theme for this year's International Women's Day is Be Bold For Change, and Victoria celebrates the opportunity trans women have to be recognised, while calling for a more inclusive, gender-equal world.

"It means that we get to celebrate who we are, and it's also an opportunity for trans women to feel like they're a part of womanhood, because I think sometimes our journey as 'a woman' is completely different to a woman born as a woman."

If you didn't know Victoria was transgender, it would be near impossible to picture her as a man.

With dark locks flowing almost all the way down to her waist, framing her perfectly symmetrical face and petite figure, it's hard not to stare at the Italian-Filipino beauty.

Not because she possesses any masculine qualities; quite the opposite.

As an entertainer and DJ who is a well-known personality in the Sydney club scene, she relishes in the joy of her new femininity.

"I think we are probably the better sex in terms of style and being able to be beautiful," laughs Victoria.

"We also definitely have more choices when it comes to style and fashion."

Beauty is only skin deep for Victoria however, knowing that transgender women are still fighting to be viewed as real women both inside and out. Particularly from other women.

"It's great to see that women that were born female can support us," she said.

"It means a lot to have women support us, because I think if you were to say who could be more supportive, it would be a woman more than a man."

The making of a 'new' woman

From a young age Victoria found herself playing with her mother's make-up and clothes.

Growing up as a boy however, this was strongly discouraged in her family.

"I knew then that there was something a bit different about me, but I think my mum and my dad were suppressing that and trying to steer me in a different way to be more masculine or do 'boy' things," Victoria says.

"If this wasn't suppressed I think I would have transitioned a lot earlier."

Four years ago on a gap year adventure to New York, Victoria began exploring the idea of her gender and sexuality.

"When I started transitioning I thought it was going to be really hard to do it, and so I said I want to be kind of a really feminine boy," Victoria says.

The possibility of being a woman seemed so unreachable and too difficult, until she had the courage to take one small step at a time by dressing as a women and growing out her hair.

"I started taking hormones, and people started calling me 'Miss' and 'Ma'am' which gave me the confidence to do it and just go all the way," she says.

Challenges after transition

For the most part, Victoria has a good sense of humour when it comes to talking about her transition.

"There are times when I'm tempted to go into the men's bathroom but you have to wait in line," she laughs.

"When you're a woman the line is always long for the bathroom."

Jokes aside, there are some challenging aspects to being a transsexual she didn't anticipate.

"When you're just trying to walk down the street, and you get unwanted attention, I think that's hard," Victoria says.

"When they look at you they think 'Oh, she's trans', and they try to analyse your whole body, your voice, everything, and try to see what isn't feminine or what's masculine. That's the hardest thing."

Being born as the opposite sex, she feels she is constantly "having to try and fight that, and be a woman".

"It's had its ups and downs, but it comes to a point where you are just comfortable in your own skin and you feel happy with who you are," Victoria says.

"Being trans seems hard, but it's actually very rewarding. I'm a hundred million times per cent happy about being a woman, and I wouldn't have it any other way." 

Victoria considers herself lucky to be able to live in Australia and work in a profession she loves without too much fear of persecution, in comparison to other transgender women across the world.

"In certain countries, especially for trans women to just exist without people making some big fuss about us being trans or being who we are, I think we do still have a long way to go," she says.

"Especially in countries where women are really suppressed or don't even have the same rights as men."

Victoria recently saw a quote in her Facebook feed by author William Golding that she felt was particularly poignant to share for International Women's Day:

"I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and always have been."

With a big grin across her face, Victoria says: "I get to do what I love. I'm passionate about music, and I actually have a very supportive boyfriend. I get to just be myself finally, after the transition.

"I can be whatever kind of woman I am, because I am a woman."

This story was originally published on Australia Plus.