A lesbian couple in New South Wales have quit their day jobs to run a special support service for trans women and the wider LGBTIQ+ community.
After managing their own mental health experiences, Gabby and Irene have together launched a new business offering free support services and makeup tutorials for trans women with their brand TransGlitterUs.
Gabby knew she was a woman since she was 12, before transitioning at 40.
She said that working through memories of being ridiculed, teased, abused, and even physically hurt will be an ongoing process, but embracing herself has been “terrifyingly invigorating”.
“I’ve spent many years on the psychologist’s couch fighting mental illness,” said Gabby.
“Being transgender is the hardest thing in my life but also the most rewarding.”
Irene, 34, was born in Brazil and grew up in Switzerland.
She has battled depression from a young age and experiences social anxiety due to a difficult relationship with her family.
“At two years old, I was adopted from a Brazilian orphanage, and unfortunately, I could never bond with my adoptive family,” said Irene.
“Psychologists never helped, nor did talking with friends. No one ever understood me.”
When the couple met in 2019, they spoke for eight hours straight on their first date and moved in together two weeks later.
They discussed their lack of mental support growing up; Gabby had been wanting to offer her advice and support based on her experiences but lacked the courage and support to pursue it.
Together, they last year launched TransGlitterUs, their self-funded, not-for-profit support service and community for trans women and the greater LGBTIQ+ community.
“We started our business to help others in their early transition where it is needed most,” said Gabby.
TransGlitterUs offers makeup tutorials from their safe community space and shop in Callala Bay, two hours from Sydney.
Irene and Gabby introduce people to products – what they’re for and how to use them and colour-match – with no obligation to purchase.
The free support service is a rewarding project that has led the ladies to find a better mental place.
“For many transgender women, the first step to ‘come out’ in public is to start to wear makeup,” said Irene.
“The vast range of products can be very overwhelming, so our idea was to have a larger but affordable range of makeup to provide transgender women in a welcome and safe environment.
“In public, it can be quite stressful and uncomfortable to first engage in makeup, due to the fear of being judged or not being served.
“We try to avoid those embarrassing moments by offering intimate sessions.”
Gabby and Irene are on a mission to help others in the community find their better place.
TransGlitterUs is a double-sided business, providing free support for trans women as well as a brand of high-quality, affordable makeup where proceeds go towards funding the support.
Gabby and Irene offer their time and support to anyone needing to talk to someone who understands what they are going through.
They meet with clients throughout New South Wales, welcome anyone to their space in Callala Bay, and offer online sessions to those who live interstate.
An example of their work is having recently helped a 25-year-old transitioning woman obtain her driver’s licence.
They also offer advice and assistance on transitioning, connecting with the community, and best of all, simply a friend to rely on.
In November, Irene proposed to Gabby in front of a small trans women’s group, and they are planning to marry this August.
They couple said that with their mutual love, support, and acceptance, they are liberated and can achieve anything.
TransGlitterUs has recently been named a finalist in the Local Business Awards, with the winner to be named in October.