There are many turning points in Andy Gall’s life that have shaped who he is today, his story as a human ‘book’ is just one of them. “Oh hey, I’m transgender” is how Andy chooses to open the story he shares with audiences.
Andy grew up in Freycinet National Park and Bicheno, as one of three children with an older brother and younger sister. While the idea of growing up in a national park may sound unusual Andy describes it as a standard childhood experience of ‘climbing trees and being a bit feral’. The family later moved to Devonport before settling in Hobart.
During those early years there were signs that Andy’s life was going to change. As a child Andy and his siblings would play with stuffed toy dogs. Andy’s brother was the big brother dog, his sister the little sister dog and Andy the middle brother dog. This was at odds with Andy’s given gender identity at the time, of a girl.
Halfway through his high school years the family moved to Hobart which is when life started to change for Andy. “Stuff started to get not so great for me,” Andy reflects, “I don’t know if this was because I’d moved away from all of my support structures or it could have been because I didn’t feel comfortable with myself.” Shortly after he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and went selectively mute for close to four years.
“During high school I’d sit by myself all day and I’d draw and read, and not really have anything to do with anybody.”
His lack of communication had an impact on Andy’s education and he eventually dropped out of college. It’s a surprising part of Andy’s story, given where he is today. He talks with confidence and is engaging in conversation. What becomes evident from talking with Andy though, is the power he has found in taking control of his life and telling his story.
Change came about when Andy made the decision to transition. It was an “of course!” moment for Andy. “I had never really felt like a girl. After I started on that thought I went and saw a psychologist and after a few sessions I realised that I was definitely trans, no getting around it”.
The second turning point was Hobart Human Library. He describes the program as a game changer. “I felt empowered again. It built up my confidence and gave me some social skills.” Read more about the program at
Since commencing with the library Andy has fine-tuned his story to include what he feels are important educational points about his lived experience as a transgendered person. Andy covers a broad range of topics, from pronouns to bathrooms and accessibility.
“It’s a topic people are very interested in but don’t know much about, especially trans guys. They don’t get much of a spotlight. People tend to get uncomfortable but then usually they lean forward and I can see that they’re seeing me as a normal person.”
This point is particularly important for Andy, as he hopes his contribution to the human library will breakdown stereotypes and help the trans community.
“It’s an opportunity for people to ask questions and educate people on what they can ask. We encourage people to be brave and ask questions. It’s better that they ask us. We’re all educators and we’re used to being asked questions.”