With the rise of social media, you would think paid birth notices in the paper would be a thing of the past. Not for one Jimboomba mum, who took what I thought was an extraordinary step in announcing the rebirth of her 19-year-old son, from a woman to a man.
Yesterday Yolanda Bogert placed a birth notice in The Courier Mail announcing that her transgender child had made the decision to no longer live as a woman, but a man. Her lighthearted but loving birth retraction has now gone viral, highlighting a need in our community for more love and understanding for transgender youth. I caught up with the amazing mum to see how the notice went down in her household and if she was prepared for the media attention.
Yolanda, congratulations on the birth of your son!
Thank you! This one was much less painful.
I’ve called it, you’re the coolest mum in Queensland.
Well, I’ve been telling him that for years!
So you took out this birth notice yesterday. It says: “In 1995 we announced the arrival of our little sprogget, Elisabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present our wonderful son — Kai Bogert. Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Now tidy your room.”
It’s a big step and it’s a big gesture to make. How come you decided to do this?
I don’t think it was [a big step]. I think it was a celebration of something that was a big deal for him.
How come you decided to put this in the paper? I thought it was so unique!
I think kids listen when you tell other people about them. They never listen when you tell them directly, like when you tell them they’re beautiful, but they listen when you tell someone else.
So you told all of Queensland. Well done!
Well, the whole world, apparently.
I read that you saw your daughter, Elisabeth, was showing signs of being more like a son. What were the first things you began to notice?
I never put a gender on it, it was just the way he was. He was never into dresses or dolls and swore from a very young age he’d never be a mother, which made me sad because I would love grandkids, but maybe he’ll be a father!
And what has happened since you put out this birth notice?
The world’s just gone absolutely mental. Its crazy. My first phone call came at about 6:15am and people have been calling me for interviews ever since.
Are you prepared to be on TV?
Well, I really just want a cup of tea!
It sounds like people from Jimboomba are good people. I just love that. So how’s Kai going?
He’s a bit bewildered and excited.
Did you tell him you were going to do this or did you make a cup of tea and sit the paper in front of him?
No, I actually sent him off to buy the paper and he’s already made his own announcement on Facebook. Mine was just a bit more public.
As a parent, I feel like I get the idea of supporting your kids no matter what. Are you a happier person now?
It’s just the same for us. It’s been a big deal for the media but we’re just a normal family. Everyone needs to relax and have a cup of tea.
Well, you can wait for a call from Ellen!
That’s what Kai is saying! He says when Ellen tells him to tidy his room, that’s when he’ll do it. I said, ‘You’re dreaming!’ I also want to talk about transgender youth and the issues they face — they’re disproportionately represented amongst statistics for homelessness, bullying and violent attacks. We really need more funding and support for these kids.
So what is it the community can do?
Everyone should call Campbell Newman today and say we need more support for transgender youth. If anything comes of this it would be great. There are so many kids in Kai’s position. Statistics say nine per cent of the population identifies as alternative gender persuasion. So that’s a huge chunk of people who don’t have support right now.
What kind of support can we offer?
They need compassion, services, they need everything! There’s more info at glwa.org.au.
Yolanda, it’s wonderful chatting to you, and like I said — you’re the coolest mum in QLD!
Thank you for your time and letting me plug the cause.
Enjoy your cup of tea!
Haha! Thank you.