LGBTIQ+ Advocate AJ Clementine On Becoming The Woman She Was Born To Be - Women's Health

LGBTIQ+ Advocate AJ Clementine On Becoming The Woman She Was Born To Be

Image: Melissa Cowan.

“AJ Clementine always knew she was a girl. The problem was, she’d been born in a ‘magical’ shell that looked, on the outside, like a perfect little boy. In her teens, this conflict between her outer and inner selves exploded, igniting years of anxiety and panic attacks” (from her book blurb). Documenting her gender transition on social media saw AJ gain millions of followers as she became a passionate advocate for transgender rights and the celebration of gender expression.

In this chat with our junior writer Brooke Young, the TikTok superstar, model and author of a new book Girl, Transcending (Murdoch Books, $32.99) discusses everything from what it was like going to school where teachers didn’t know which bathroom she should use to having super supportive parents who encouraged her to explore her identity, and the daunting prospect of having gender confirmation surgery and the relief she felt when she had finally done it.

After years of experiencing panic attacks and anxiety in her teens, LGBTIQ+ advocate @ajclementine_ says of her gender confirmation surgery: “I literally just felt like there was a weight lifted off my shoulders. Like it was strange to finally live without that dysphoria and constantly feel like I was focusing on something on my body – to feel like I was actually able to breathe properly was such a blissful moment. When I woke up in hospital, it was just like, it’s done.” ⁠

If you or someone you know needs support regarding any of the issues explored today, LGBTIQhealth.org.au is one good place to start and transcendaus.org is another for parents and carers who have a trans or gender diverse child.

Listen to the full chat below.

In this chat, AJ covers:

– The daunting prospect of having gender confirmation surgery, her journey to getting it done, and the relief she felt when she had finally done it.

– What it was like going to school when teachers didn’t know which bathroom she should use, and how it was the adults who treated her differently, rather than the kids.

– How, in the lead up to her surgery, she made sure to prioritise her mental health.

 Great takeaways from the chat:

– “For parents, they should know that these things are essential – it’s literally not a choice for Trans people … It’s our treatment… in order to alleviate our gender dysphoria. Just being a source of support is so important, and whether that is by just being there, or helping to contribute to the funds of the transition-any kind of support is helpful.” 

– “There’s nothing to compare it to: we can’t copy someone else’s transition, we can’t compare it to the next.”

– “[After my surgery] I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was strange to finally live without that dysphoria, and constantly focusing on something on my body, and instead feel like I was actually able to breathe properly. It was such a blissful moment when I woke up in hospital.”

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Brooke Young

By Brooke Young

A first year Masters Student at the University of Technology, Sydney, studying in the field of Advanced Journalism, Brooke is particularly invested in exploring cases of white-collar crime and corporate corruption, whilst taking a similarly keen interest in the areas of travel, photography, and French politics.

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