Ben Bennett volunteers at Open Doors, studies business, and goes to school. Worried of bullying, Ben hid his identity until coming to the realisation he could not keep living as a female, and has started presenting as a male.
What do you do, why did you choose to go down that path, and what do you love about it?
I’m doing Year 10 at TAFE at the moment, and working as a hairdressing assistant. I also volunteer with Open Doors – Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) Youth Service. I was unable to complete normal school due to health issues. I learnt business skills i.e customer service and now work as a peer mentor for new and existing clients. I think of Open Doors as a home away from home. I first went there when I was 13, and have been going to Open Doors who work with me on my Gender Identity. Everyone here is friendly and gets along. It feels like a big extended family.
What are you currently working on?
I am completing year 10 and starting a business degree at TAFE. My goal at the end is to own and manage a pub. I would like to travel – Europe – I’m interested in seeing Europe and visiting family.
What would you say led you to where you are today?
My friends have really helped me to get to where I am today, they’re so supportive and accepting of my gender identity. I first thought that I was trans when I was 13, but buried it due to fears of bullying but after a few years come to the realisation that I could not keep living as a female and have been a lot happier presenting as male. (Presenting is dressing as a male and passing as a male within the community.)
I won the Open Doors Youth Service award last year for being a friendly face and a great mate to other young people who identify as LGBT and/or sexually or gender diverse within Brisbane.
When I won the award I felt surprised and happy. I just did not expected it. I just believe doing what I do should be done no matter who the person is?
My sister is my inspiration as she is the most well-adjusted person within my family. I look up to her because she is responsible, caring and one of the smartest people I know. She has achieved a great OP score at school and won some awards during her graduation at University. She is now teaching English and history at a high school. She is really supportive of me … all of me.
What do you get up to in your down time? Do you have any hobbies?
I love drawing, I draw people, anime and cartoons. I read fantasy and auto-biographies – the last book I read was Lord of the Rings. I really enjoy reading those genres, they help me travel on public transport. I can just put my head down, and don’t have to talk to any of the other bus passengers.
What’s it like being a young person in Brisbane? What suggestions would you make to improve the city?
It’s pretty good, there is still a lot to do and a lot to see especially if you are poor. I’d recommend visiting Southbank or the Queensland Museum, or you could visit West End and other boutique suburbs and window shop.
To improve the city public transport should be cheaper, it’s really expensive.
What advice or inspiration would you share with other young people?
Your life is your own to do what you like with it, and you shouldn’t let other people tell you in what direction you have to go. There’s no hurry to decide what you want to do with your life – it’s stupid to decide what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life when you’re 17/18 and just leaving school. It’s hard to know what you want instantly, so take your time.