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Fashion style

From farm life to fashion icon, teenager Brodie brings style to the fore in West Gippsland

Brodie wants all LGBTQIA+ people living in the country to feel like they can belong.

The 14-year-old non-binary gay boy is well known in his hometown of Warragul, just east of Melbourne.

Last year he launched an awareness campaign for businesses in Gippsland battling the pandemic.

He is also an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and young people and has earned a reputation as a fierce fashionista.

Brodie talks about expressing himself through his clothes and feeling accepted in his regional community.

Brodie’s Story

When I was about three or four years old, I started playing the teacher – I was never the male teacher, I was always the female teacher.

I was always in the costume box and playing with all the dresses at Kinder… so it started there.

I was super shy back then and always wore women’s clothes in my bedroom, and no one really knew I was doing it.

Last year, I started finding some cool brands and things that I really liked and that really represented me as a person, and decided to start buying their products.

I love putting things together, playing with colors and being able to support businesses in Melbourne and Australia.

I love wearing high heels because they give me confidence and it shows everyone that it’s me.

Brodie says he always liked to dress in women’s clothes when he was a kid.(Provided: Brodie)

Dressing in feminine clothes, for me, shows my identity and gives me confidence.

I love watching all these catwalk videos and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s going to be me someday.”

learn to open up

When I started wearing dresses and things, I was very nervous about what people would think and say.

Being a rural community, people can be very opinionated. But it was a great reaction.

Brodie is an advocate for youth, LGBTQIA+ people and women.(ABC Gippsland: Madeleine Spencer)

The community has been so behind me that they are genuinely willing to talk to me, vouch for me, and support me.

I always encourage more people to be themselves because the community will support you. You will have people who will probably say a few mean things, but 90% of people will be there for you.

I think social media has been another way for me to learn to express myself, I’ve seen other celebrities dress in different ways and I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s cool, I’ll try”.

Rural connections

I love the farm, going there and getting in the mud is so much fun.

I’m there almost every weekend, I love mowing the lawns and riding my bike.

Being raised in a rural community also toughened me up a bit.

Brodie launched his Instagram account during lockdown to promote local businesses as they struggled.(ABC Gippsland: Madeleine Spencer)

Even though it shouldn’t happen, we get insults, we hear really awful things about us.

And I feel like being a little tougher, and being a little aware of these things, it can just prepare you for bigger situations in life.

I was just at a youth event in Bairnsdale and being able to meet so many young LGBTQIA+ people was amazing.

Brodie can help his aging grandparents on their farm after school or on weekends. (ABC Gippsland: Madeleine Spencer)

For me to hear their stories and for them to hear my story too, it was great to create new relationships and show me that I am not alone, there are many other people like me.

Growing up in a rural community showed me that you don’t have to live in the city to feel like yourself.

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Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds