Isabel​ ​Kenner: ​Writer

I like the diversity in Surry Hills. There are wealthy, less wealthy, different cultures, there is gender diversity and sexual diversity. It’s something that you either cope with or leave. Thankfully most of the nice people stay. Surry Hills is magnificently accepting. I have had no negativity here.

I’ve been in Surry Hills for 15 years and I don’t think it has changed remarkably. Even when we first moved in it was gentrified. We haven’t thankfully, lost that community housing spirit of Surry Hills. Many people complain about it but that’s what makes Surry Hills wonderful. We can learn about each other that way.

Mostly I find community through the school. We used to go to the markets but we don’t so much anymore because Saturdays equals football. Our kids are now all at school.

Community is very important. My partner and I are not extremely social- we are not network type people. It’s difficult to find community, so the school is good with that. Family is important. The back lane of our house is great for gathering people. We sometimes have about 10 kids in the house congregating on Sundays then we might have a sneaky beer, people might stay over for dinner. It’s nice. There are very few people I’ve met who I would not invite into my home.

When I started my transition that was a pretty major turning point. I had been through a period of extraordinary stress and anger. I was angry all the time with everything. It reflected in the way I dealt with my kids. Yelling at them all the time. I recognised that it was happening but not why it was happening. Eventually I realised I couldn’t go on pretending to be this male person I wasn’t inside, so I decided to do something about it and it’s been slowly improving and life is a lot better.

It’s easy to say “You should have gone with this (transition) earlier”, but if I had done that then most of the things that surround me wouldn’t be here. It would have been a different life.

It’s helpful to have a sounding board and know other people who are going through the same things you are because there are such unique challenges in transitioning and no on else can tell you what to expect. I find my community on Twitter as I construct my own reality. I only have people who are positive there. It’s important to have a diversity of opinion but when it gets too much, I think it’s important to take a step back and exclude what you need to.

24​th​​ ​August​ ​2017

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