Teenage years can be hard for the best of us, but Sydney-based Oliver Cuthbert is ready to brave any backlash he may cop for identifying as a transgender boy.
“I’m expecting there to be some hatred towards me because it is social media and it happens – especially when there’s an issue which people aren’t educated on ... and don’t know much about it,” he tells WHO.
Wise words spoken from a young man who has had the support of his family throughout the process of discovering he was not living his true self after being born a girl.
“I’ve spoken to my parents and they’ve told me there can be a lot of hatred, but there will also be a lot of support as well,” he says.
The talented teenager, who says he looks up to artists like Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco, began hormone replacement therapy a year ago. “I’ve been on hormones for a year, but I’ve been identifying as male for long before, probably about a year,” he says.
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“Growing up, I didn’t – I couldn’t label it, but I always felt uncomfortable. And I felt different; I was always surrounded by girls, but I felt different. I thought that it was just that I liked girls and I thought it was my sexuality, but then I went into high school and I went into puberty and I felt uncomfortable and super devastated that I was becoming a female,” he recalls.
“I knew I wasn’t happy and that wasn’t me. I think at that stage I was about 12 or 13 and I thought, ‘I know that I can’t be happy like this.’ So, I did some research and I started accepting that I was trans ... It was definitely me saying, ‘OK, this is what I have to do if I want to be happy,’” he says of his transition. Although he isn’t fussed about which judge will turn their seats for him, Cuthbert reveals he’s on a mission to not only win, but – more importantly – build a social profile in order to raise awareness of the ‘normality’ of the trans community.
“I really hope that it’s possible for me to reach anyone who is feeling that way because I know if I had seen someone on TV when I was younger and unsure of myself that would have helped me ... I just really want to be that person for someone.”
Cuthbert says that even if he doesn’t make the finale, he’s grateful for this journey and wants to give thanks to his parents, whose love has not faltered.
“I’ve been so lucky to have a really supportive family;I know not a lot of people have such loving family. My parents, especially, have just been by so by my side and stuck with me – they’ve allowed me to be who I am, they love me through that unconditionally. I’m so grateful for that.”