MESSAGE OF LOVE: Isabelle-Rose Hillhouse, Jody Marie, Alec Ryan and Hunter Hillhouse embrace International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia celebrations in Warwick.
MESSAGE OF LOVE: Isabelle-Rose Hillhouse, Jody Marie, Alec Ryan and Hunter Hillhouse embrace International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia celebrations in Warwick. Jayden Brown

Transgender teens talk acceptance in rural Queensland

WE JUST want to be accepted.

It's the simple but powerful message from Southern Downs transgender teenagers as they marked International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

For the teens gathered at an IDAHOT event in Warwick yesterday, the journey hasn't always been easy.

At just 17, Alec Ryan knows he's not in the right body.

The Stanthorpe teen shared his story with the Daily News, describing some of the challenges he's experienced in coming out.

"I found it to be hard to get it out there that I'm transgender," he said.

For Alec IDAHOT is a chance to freely express his gender identity.

He wants people to be more supportive of transgender youth.

"It's not like we're going to hurt anyone," he said.

Standing in front of the banner she helped paint, Jody Marie described how she didn't want to focus on the word "against" - instead she preferred the word "acceptance".

"We just want to be accepted and put into the culture of acceptance," she said.

"I want to be able to get a career, have a family and have a life."

While she believed Warwick was still a little behind the times on some issues, Jody has been able to surround herself with supportive people.

"We don't have an LGBT support group in town, so it's been pretty hard," she said.

"Today is all about celebration and friends."

For the youngest in the group, the journey has been easier than most.

Sixteen-year-old Hunter Hillhouse from Stanthorpe described his experiences as "pretty good".

"There hasn't been too much hate," he said.

"I've been supported by my family and friends."


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