The Transformers: why I started a dodgeball team for transgender people like me


When Riley Norton struggled to find support resources he desperately needed during his transition, he decided to make one himself: a dodgeball team.

Hear more of Riley's story in the full documentary above:

"I treat many women who want to grow beards... Now, what can I do for you young lady?"

This was my first compulsory session, one of many needed to "tick all the medical boxes" so I could start hormone replacement therapy, or 'HRT'. After a period of invasive questioning, judgemental comments and rudeness, I left the doctor's office confused.

HRT for transgender men involves receiving testosterone injections once every few weeks to promote hair growth, redistribute muscle mass and lower the voice, to appear more "masculine".

The Feed

Individuals seeking HRT need to jump through many hoops in order to finally have the go ahead to commence treatment. They need to have a psychological evaluation, medical evaluation, and a psychiatrist who can diagnose "gender dysphoria", formerly "gender identity disorder".

This is not a quick and easy process, nor is it cheap. I was placed on multiple waiting lists, paid exceptional amounts in practitioner fees and had to see many different people to receive all the paperwork needed to move forward with HRT.

My first shot was meant to be the most exciting day of my life.

I pulled up in the car park and burst into tears. I felt as though this was the lowest point. I heard the doctor's voice over and over again: "women with beards".

I felt ostracised, alone and misunderstood.

I was being referred to as a girl every day, I couldn't use the men's bathroom and I didn't feel connected to anyone anymore. It is difficult to put into words how psychologically damaging this was to endure. Feeling like I didn't fit in anywhere.

Riley says he and partner Maddie could not find resources online to help Riley feel more accepted and understood.
The Feed

My partner Maddie and I turned to the internet to find something that would help me feel accepted. There was very little out there.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was going to form a dodgeball team. 

 I wanted something tailored to transgender young people and adults. I wanted this to be a place to celebrate diversity, but also for all those other components of identity to shine through.

I began planning and organising, posting all over the transgender support groups on social media, promoting it at my workplace and in the community.

Before we knew it, we had a new member join every week or two.

At one stage we had at least 30 players who would play intermittently.

We are: 'The Transformers'.

We were building more than just a dodgeball team. Each of the players started to share their own passion and included others to join. The Transformers dodgeball team has become a platform for support, events, interests but most of all friendships.

Riley says 'Transformers' team grows in numbers each week.
The Feed

I have really loved spending time with each and every one of the players, watching them grow as individuals, dodgeball players, and being able to share in their journey as they transition into their ideal self. Sometimes that's achieved with hormone replacement therapy and sometimes it's achieved with having a community who believes in you!

I have now opened the dodgeball team up to the trans community, partners and allies. The "T" in the LGBTIQ community will not be silenced we will continue to grow as individuals and a community, we will also continue to support each other.

 Catch The Feed 8:30pm Thursdays and 5pm Sundays on SBS VICELAND .

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