Before musician Paige Elliott Phoenix began transitioning, he felt as though he was wearing a pair of shoes that were two sizes too small.
“At some point you realise that there’s this perfect pair of shoes that you can put on that are exactly you,” he tells SBS.
While Elliott Phoenix describes living a “blessed life” he says there’s still a long way to go to achieve legal equality for the trans community.
“A really good example that’s impacted me personally is that I was able to marry using my passport but when the documents were cross-checked —and they realised I had a female birth certificate—my marriage was annulled.”
For the 2015 Mardi Gras parade, Elliott Phoenix worked with the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust and Amnesty International to create over-sized gender fluid papier-mâché puppets with interchangeable heads.
“It’s about having the right to determine what we do with our bodies, to be recognised in the way that we see ourselves. And the way that they’re doing that is by using puppets.”
Actress and transgender activist, Calpernia Addams says equality is not just an issue for trans people.
“It’s an issue for humanity to cast off the shackles of these gender roles. And just express our authenticity as a human being.”
This video originally appeared in the 2015 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: