Photo courtesy of Melody Moore
Australia has lost one of its leading transgender voices this month with the sad passing of activist Kathy Anne Noble who left us on Monday, 17 August, at the age of 81.
Kathy Anne spent many years lobbying governments of all stripes to improve the rights of and lives of Australia’s trans* community while also providing support and resources for trans* people and their families through her organisation Changeling Aspects.
In 2002, Kathy helped set up Changeling Aspects as a hospital support group on the Gold Coast for people who were recovering from gender re-assignment surgeries, providing them with information and support, and in some cases, simply visiting people who otherwise would have been without visitors. The organisation over time evolved into one offering a broader range of trans* support.
Around the same time, Kathy also established the group Agender Australia to act as a trans* activism arm of her activities. Though the two groups would soon merge under the single banner of Changeling Aspects, Kathy explained on her website how the groups began with distinct objectives with one providing direct support to those struggling with their gender, and the other providing “a base for educational support for health care workers, institutions of higher learning and government bodies.”
While still maintaining a focus on Australian issues, particularly those in Queensland, Kathy also quickly recognised the power and reach that the online world offered to people everywhere who were struggling with gender issues and for a variety of reasons could not meet with someone face to face. As such, the Changeling Aspects website became a labour of love for Kathy and remains a wealth of information and resources for the trans* community as well as their families and friends.
As an author Kathy Anne also published her memoir: “Two Lives: A Transsexual’s story and the fight for recognition”. Published in 2011, the book details Kathy’s brave journey to live her life as her true self and the many obstacles she faced along the way, particularly due to government bureaucracy and misunderstanding.
Kathy Ann Nobel was a fierce and outspoken warrior for her community and as such, it is only fitting that as we say thank you and goodbye, we also give her the last word:
“Transfolk, don’t hide away. Be proud, be bloody proud of who you are and what you have achieved!”