In post war Australia, it was illegal for a “male” person to dress as the opposite sex except in some strictly controlled circumstances, for example on private property or performers in clubs who change after performances.
The only option for those of us with little talent as performers and who felt the compelling need to express who we were had to fall back on street work something that was dangerous for those of us who came out so early for me. It was 1958 and I was 14 years old suffered from what is now known as ADHD.
After being imprisoned several times as I said a group of us came to New Zealand where the law was far kinder to Trans people which gave us the freedom we craved.
|At 15 years mug shot.|
I was responsible for starting New Zealand’s most famous Drag Club Mojo’s in Auckland I gave all that up in 1970 and started my journey to have surgery. To be totally sure I spent several years dressed as a male and went to Sea where I honed my cookery skills and finally paid off the Ships as a Chief cook.
Around 1973 I moved to Christchurch in the south Island and opened a Restaurant and two burger bars, at that point I reverted back to my true self at first gradually then finally having surgery in 1975. At 31 years of age.
|Jacquie and her first partner Lez, 1973.|
In fact, one is still with me at 30. Grandchildren, well in what I call my immediate family, the kids I had long term, there are about 36, and goodness knows how many from all the kids I fostered. I feel incredibly humbled when every now and then different ones call and introduce me to their partners and families and tell me I did make a difference. I have heard from nearly every kid I fostered at some point.
In addition, I served as a Lay Judge on the New Zealand Human Rights Review Tribunal for three terms, 9 years total; a role which saw me picked several times to sit as a Judge in The New Zealand High Court. I sat on several landmark cases which resulted in case law. I retired from that role 2 years ago.
|Jacquie and Miss Chloe.|
I think the success was because I was so different the kids saw in me a kindred spirit if that makes any sense, the program ran for several years on a bi weekly basis and was incredibly successful.
|One of the machines Jacquie makes.|
The premises also house a small spinning mill where we specialize in producing Possum Merino and Merino yarns for the export market, the business also manufactures hand Crank sock Machines for the hobby market and we export these worldwide.
I enjoy this aspect as I am involved in the design of the machines and get a lot of trips to the USA visiting customers and teaching knitters.