Caitlin Jen­ner’s big­gest chal­lenge seemed to be what to wear.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - IDENTITY -

Cole Meyers is an ac­tor and writer cur­rently con­sult­ing for Short­land Street, which has found favour with a long-run­ning sto­ry­line of trans per­son char­ac­ter, Blue, played by trans per­son Tash Kerry.

The 29-year-old is trans­mas­cu­line. He has a pro­fes­sional as well as ac­tivist ap­proach to how trans peo­ple are char­ac­terised in drama.

“The first trans images I saw were in the movie Boys Don’t Cry. What I learned was that trans­mas­cu­line peo­ple are raped and mur­dered. And trans­fem­i­nine char­ac­ters were pros­ti­tutes, mur­der vic­tims or psy­chos.”

Cole says the vis­i­bil­ity ex­plo­sion for trans peo­ple over the past cou­ple of years has proven that not all pub­lic­ity is good pub­lic­ity. “Cait­lyn Jen­ner sud­denly had all this me­dia at­ten­tion but didn’t seem to know about the trans com­mu­nity. Her big­gest chal­lenge was de­cid­ing what to wear.

“No one in New Zealand can af­ford to pay for multi-mil­lion dol­lar pri­vate surgery. They mostly live in poverty with lit­tle ac­cess to ba­sic ser­vices, so there was no con­nec­tion apart from peo­ple ask­ing about Cait­lyn.”

Cole came out three years ago. It was that or kill him­self, he says. “I both knew what was go­ing on with me and didn’t.

I didn’t want to die but knew I would rather be dead than live how I was.”

This in­cluded years of men­tal health is­sues and ac­tive ad­dic­tion. “Look­ing back, I was ob­vi­ously try­ing to numb some­thing,” he says.

On the edge of com­mit­ting sui­cide,

Cole tracked back through his life and pieced to­gether what brought him to this mo­ment. A big pointer was the numb­ing of pain but there was also the theme of the lit­er­a­ture he read. It was all war­rior girls dressed as boys. “My overall lack of self­aware­ness un­til com­ing out was tes­ta­ment to how dif­fi­cult it was, and still is, to be trans.”

Cole is be­wil­dered by those who dis­miss be­ing trans as a fad, a lifestyle choice. “There’s so much at­tach­ment of shame, pain and in­vis­i­bil­ity around be­ing trans, why would you choose that?”

He also cites the nosi­ness of strangers who ask about his gen­i­talia, what sort of toys he had as a child, what his real name is, and what gen­der he has sex with.

“I know peo­ple want to un­der­stand, but there is a line. Just ac­cept that I am me.”

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