When Verna Leigh first started to change her gender presentation, she gave up sport because she was worried it would make her look more masculine.
“It’s one of those regrets that I have because it [sport] was a really big part of my life,” says Verna.
She didn't play sport again until one day when a friend called her up and said “Verna, we’re going to go and play football".
The Newtown Breakaways Football Club is an inclusive AFL team that likes to refer to themselves as a family. Since joining, Verna says her confidence has blossomed.
“I know they’ve got my back and I know they love me and that’s a really big thing to say for a sports team.”
Her team mate - Grace Fowler - says she’s never seen a group of people that can come together from so many different walks of life.
“It’s just so great to come to training every week, to a game, to the pub with this whole group of people, being able to be somewhere and just be completely yourself is fantastic.”
This video originally appeared in the 2016 Mardi Gras broadcast. For more great stories, tune into the 2017 Mardi Gras, airing Sunday at 8:30pm, March 5th on SBS. Check out a teaser below: