Alexis-Lee Lockwood is a week into a journey that she hopes will help her physical appearance match what’s inside.
For a long time, Alexis-Lee (or Lexi, as her friends call her) was putting on a happy front.
But on the inside, she was sad and struggling.
It was not until she spoke with a social worker that she realised the root cause of her internal pain.
“The social worker said to me, ‘Do you think you might be female in a male’s body?’ I was just like.. ‘What? Really?’,” Lexi said.
“She gave me a bunch of pamphlets, a bunch of links. I read through it all.
“It was almost like, reading it, like ‘Duh’. Everything kind of makes sense now, lots of light bulbs just went off. Everything made sense, everything was clear.”
She was 20 when she realised she was transgender. From that moment, she was on “the road to acceptance”.
“I wish I knew about it sooner, because then, something could have been done about it sooner,” she said.
Two years later, Lexi has gone through the arduous process of beginning hormone replacement therapy, which will see her body undergo female puberty, and her body develop in a female way.
The journey to get the treatment took appointment after appointment with doctors and psychologists.
“It’s an intensive thing to go through,” Lexi said of the hormone treatment.
“They just want to make sure that people know what they’re doing. You can’t really go back - ‘I don’t want this anymore’ - it doesn’t work that way.”
While the hormone course will change Lexi’s body dramatically, it is a long-term process that will take time.
For me, some people are just born in the wrong skin, and it can take years of questioning and sometimes repression to realise it. But it’s ok to be who you really are insideAlexis-Lee Lockwood
She will develop breast tissue, and her fat deposits will change – that from her stomach will move towards her hips and bum.
Her face shape will change. She’ll lose muscle tone, and upper-body strength. She’ll have to switch up her work-out regime, and do a lot more cardio exercise.
It will also make her infertile. She said that she still wants to have kids one day, and will look at adoption or surrogacy when the time comes.
”Having been through male puberty, going through female puberty will be an interesting contrast,” she said, and added that she is also in the midst of organising surgeries for further physical transformation.
There’s no set time frame around how long the treatment will take, it varies from person to person.
“I see my destination as, I’m doing whatever is necessary to put what I feel like on the inside, on the outside. I’m just being my best me,” Lexi said.
“For me, some people are just born in the wrong skin, and it can take years of questioning and sometimes repression to realise it. But it’s ok to be who you really are inside.”
Lexi said that before she “came out” as transgender to her friends, she first had to come out to herself.
“When I was younger, I wasn’t educated enough to understand transgender,” she said.
“I always just thought that I was a very feminine guy.
“When I started understanding things in myself, I went through a very dark stage of denial.
“I wasn’t happy, so I thought I would educate myself. Now that I am transgender I am the last person to be disrespectful. To me, as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else, you’re alright in my book.”
When she came out to her friends, there was nothing but acceptance.
“They were like, ‘We kind of knew that’, or, ‘That’s cool, what do we call you now?’,” she said.
“Family was a bit different. I had a few issues with family members who told me that my transition was fake, or attention seeking, or a lie.
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“I still have family members who still make comments like, ‘You’ll always be my boy’, and that’s really hurtful.
“When I think back to when I was a boy, I was sad. I looked happy in photos, but I’m a theatre kid, I can act.
“But through high school, college, things like that, I was sad, I wasn’t happy, because I knew something was up with me, but I didn’t want to admit it, I was in denial.
“My dad is fantastic. And I told my grandmother when I started hormone replacement therapy, and she said, “Your boobs are going to get so sore”. She’s nearly 80. That proves that love and support has no age limit.
“The majority of my family are amazing. They are just one or two that need to be convinced that I’m not crazy.”
Lexi found strength and support in not only her family and friends, but in the greater Tasmanian transgender community, which she says is “actually massive”.
“As well as research and talking to cisgender [a person whose gender identity reflects their birth gender] female friends, I’ve been able to talk to a lot of other trans women who have gone through or are currently going through the process, so I’m able to get a lot of advice from them.”
Lexi is giving back to that community, and those who are struggling with their gender identity journey, by documenting her transition journey online.
“This transitional journey, I see as my metamorphosis, just like the caterpillar to a butterfly,” she said.
To follow Lexi’s journey, visit www.facebook.com/LexiLee1994
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