It is almost certainly not a statement that Marci would accept, she claims no exceptionalism, but her strength of character and composure is a rare gift.
Talking from her home in Hobart, with views out across the peaks of the Wellington Range, she speaks softly of raising a family and her experience of growing up in Tasmania in the 1970s. A time of hard drinking and conformity.
“My children always will be the most important part of my life,” says Marci. “I am proud of who I am and don’t want to disregard my past and don’t want to forget about my life experience. But I have a conflict in that I would have preferred to be born a woman.”
Marci was born biologically male. She speaks intelligently, quietly and with poise. Refusing to criticise or condemn those who do not accept her transition, simply saying she understands ‘why people think the way they do’.
“I came out three and a half years ago and the rewards of finally being able to live authentically as a woman have been incredible.”
“But it is also hard for me to stand back and reconcile all that I hold dear today, with my regret that I wasn’t able to live as a woman for longer.”
Breaking down barriers
Marci agrees to have her photo taken for this story despite the discomfort of gender dysphoria.
The best way to describe the feeling, she says, is that it is akin to the experience of hearing your own voice recorded and played back to you. The photo you see is not what you saw in your own head.
She is also aware that in telling her story she is opening herself up to the possibility of boorish, transphobic comments. Despite this, she is willing to speak so that those who follow her, might do so in a more informed, tolerant world.
To that end, Marci agreed recently to support the Hobart Human Library, run by A Fairer World. A community organisation that has worked with MAX and campaigns for social justice and human rights.
The Human Library was set up to help break down barriers and build empathy. Marci and other ‘books’ are Tasmanians who have experienced stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination. They tell their stories to organisations including workplaces.
For Marci, this is particularly significant given the fact she left a long-term job after her transition. “I don’t think anyone,” she says without a trace of judgement, “should have to go to work and not look forward to it.”
Fortunately, the world is changing. Now in her 50s, Marci is pleased to see the community around her become more inclusive. ‘There is more of an awareness and I think that is great.’
“I’m just a normal person in this world, who is raising children, wants to work and wants to have a social life. I don’t want anything else,” she says. “I don’t want special treatment.”
The MAX team in Rosny is profoundly honoured to have supported Marci on this part of her journey. She is training for a qualification in individual support and has been offered employment.
Everyone at MAX would like to thank Marci for sharing her story for International Transgender Day of Visibility.
If you are personally affected by elements of her story or would like to find out more about any issues it raises, support and information is available through services like ACON.