How do you explain to your partner of 30 years that you were born the wrong gender?
Blessed with a loving partner and two beautiful children, Dr Simone Blomberg accepts that her trans journey has been more fortunate than most.
Despite meeting the love of her life in 1989, she realised two years ago, aged 52, that she had to start living her life differently – as a woman – and that meant having some painful conversations that most people will never encounter in their lives.
“It’s fair to say my partner never signed up for this, but she’s been pretty supportive,” Dr Blomberg said.
Dr Simone Blomberg. Image: Anjanette Hudson
“A lot of trans people, once they come out to a partner, the relationship ends, and I didn’t want that to happen for me.
“I’ve always been aware of trying to keep my partner comfortable with me as I go forward.”
Dr Blomberg is a statistical evolutionary biologist, who lectures in biology and statistics for UQ's School of Biological Sciences.
She supervises graduate students, and teaches undergraduate statistics, evolution and systematics, and is also UQ's statistical consultant, regularly consulted by UQ staff and students for statistical advice.
Her research sits at the intersection of evolutionary biology, systematics and statistics.
“I try to come up with new and better mathematical models of macroevolution and develop methods to fit them to data,” she said.
“I guess I’ve become more of a theoretician over the course of my career.
“I also collaborate a lot with staff and students, so I have a very diverse publication record. I have worked on camels, flamingos, lizards, cleaner fish, kangaroos, rainforests – the list goes on.”
Dr Blomberg’s is a unique life journey underscored by immense bravery and a passion to see others live their lives to the fullest.
She describes herself as a once-struggling academic who managed to build a career for herself and raise two wonderful children who support her life choices.
Communication with her family and the ability to listen have been her keys to happiness, she said.
But this has also meant ensuring her transition occurred at a pace that her partner was comfortable with.
“I think listening is the important thing,” Dr Blomberg said.
“Be aware of the impact you’re having on the relationship.
“If you want to keep it, you have to work to keep it and that could mean making compromises along the way, or maybe not going as fast as you want to and just generally keeping those lines of communication open.”
Dr Blomberg has no confusion about the gender roles in her relationship and credits her partner for being the mother of the house as well as the rock in her life.
“My kids still know me as dad and that’s OK, I’m proud to be their dad,” Dr Blomberg said.
“I’m not their mum, and I didn’t want to be their mum. I was there in the beginning and I know who the mother is in this relationship.”
Each trans journey is different, but Dr Blomberg reflects that the internet has helped those in her life find a connection.
On Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, she hopes that people will use the power of online communication to spread a message of support and positivity.
“The internet has allowed people to get into contact with each other and provide support to each other, and it’s allowed non-trans people to see that we’re getting that support too,” Dr Blomberg said.
“If people can be our eyes and support us in whatever we do, that would be a good thing.”