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Advocating for all trans and gender diverse people to live their greatest possible life


10 June 2022 at 4:14 pm
Jonathan Alley
As president of Trans Pride Australia and a proud gender queer, trans masculine person, AJ Brown is on a mission to foster a sense of belonging and empower trans and gender diverse people across Australia. They are this week’s Changemaker.


Jonathan Alley | 10 June 2022 at 4:14 pm


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Advocating for all trans and gender diverse people to live their greatest possible life
10 June 2022 at 4:14 pm

As president of Trans Pride Australia and a proud gender queer, trans masculine person, AJ Brown is on a mission to foster a sense of belonging and empower trans and gender diverse people across Australia. They are this week’s Changemaker.

After growing up in Derbyshire in the UK, Apple Jack Freshwater Brown (AJ Brown) travelled to Sydney aged 21 in search of the LGBTQI+ community.  

For the past three years, Brown has been the sitting president for Trans Pride Australia (TPA), a volunteer-run social and advocacy support network for the transgender and gender diverse community in Australia.

The role has seen them lead Mardi Gras, run an online support space and even receive parliamentary recognition.

Brown, who is now a patron and lifelong member of the organisation, is also on the committee for INTERPRIDE, Transgender Health NSW, MoH and admin of the TPA FB Groups, Transgender International and LGBTQI International News. 

They were nominated in this year’s Impact 25.

In this week’s Changemaker, Brown talks about becoming involved with Trans Pride Australia, some of the challenges facing the trans and gender diverse community, and finding inspiration in the beautiful souls they encounter. 

How did you get into the sector you’re in now?

AJ Brown with their dogAt the beginning of my journey living as my authentic self, I tried to find other people from the trans and gender diverse (TGD) community. One such group that had emerged in late 2015 was Trans Sydney Pride. It was a social group that had a Facebook group (that has since closed). I joined in early 2016 and it helped.

I believed as a trans masculine person [it was important] to open up the group to all that needed this service – a lot of the time groups can be dominated by one gender for example. As of today there are four online groups. 

As [the number of] Trans Pride Sydney members grew, so did the areas people were coming from. The reach had grown to beyond greater Sydney and the group was now being utilised by trans and gender diverse people across Australia. So the organisation changed its name to reflect this, and in October 2018, Trans Pride Australia became incorporated.

Trans Pride Australia is a volunteer organisation, what do you see as some of the benefits of volunteering for TransPride? 

For myself it has been a pleasure to help others, especially when there are so many barriers, misunderstandings and stigmas attached. You may not be aware but the self harm and suicide rate in the community is well over 50 per cent.

What are some of the specific challenges facing Trans Pride Australia?  

The political damage through targeting for example TGD children in schools through divisive legislative bills, or health systems, as in doctors, surgeons, dentists, that have no or very little factual documented information. I take testosterone and it is prescribed for me as “a person with testicular cancer”, however I have never owned a pair of balls in my life. The medical system does not reflect anything other than cisgendered people and their anatomy. 

Bathrooms are another issue that affect all members in the community, from school bathrooms to workplaces – i.e trans masculine people needing a sanitary bin or not being able to use a urinal. [Going to a] swimming pool and having to get undressed in a binary, cisgendered changing room.

Education is so important, [including around] everyday use of language. [It’s common to hear people say] “mate” or “guys”, [but you don’t hear] cisgendered boys referenced as “come on gal’s” – it’s the optical assumption. We need to rewire what has been taught, or learnt. 

There is a great show on Netflix called Disclosure with Laverne Cox, and that shows the film and TV industry and how it has often set the negative tone for how trans and gender diverse people are to be seen and treated, which in the past is quite disgusting. This is just one area.

What are some of the things that inspire you as a leader?

The beautiful souls I encounter, the voice that is afraid to speak out and stay in the shadows. 

Receiving acknowledgements that are life changing and show that our allies have our back, such as a letter written by Alex Greenwich and the Community Recognition Statement from the NSW State Government Legislative Assembly which speak of the tremendous impact Trans Pride Australia has had both at the community and governmental level and offer recognition for the hard work done by everyone involved with Trans Pride Australia and, indeed, with Trans Sydney Pride as the organisation began its life.

These statements shed light on the breadth of support for trans and gender-diverse people. Our presence in society evolves from being rejected, then misunderstood, to being not only accepted and included, but actively driving the transformation of our own image in society to one which represents us fully, in all of our myriad forms. 

How do you share knowledge with others undertaking similar work, or learn from them? 

Role modelling, mentoring, just listening and holding space for others, [knowing it is] okay not to have the answer and learning from others through their lived experience. We have held and attended events face-to-face and online forums that focus on mental well being. 

How has working in the social change space changed the way you see the world? 

[It is our vision] that we are all equal and deserve the right for human dignity and respect.


Jonathan Alley  |  @ProBonoNews

Jonathan Alley is opinion editor at Pro Bono Australia.

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