Georgie Stone shares her journey in an intimate and moving documentary

Georgie Stone

Georgie Stone has been one of the most prominent Australians who are transgender and she’s sharing her journey in a new documentary set to screen at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival.

Stone was the youngest person to receive hormone blockers, her case a precedent that eventually changed the way that the court’s handle gender transition cases.

While Stone and her family had to apply to the Family Court of Australia to access treatment, nowadays the decisions are left to medical professionals, with court intervention only required if there is a dispute between doctors, families and the patient.

Alongside advocating for better treatment of transgender youth, Stone and her family have also spoken up about the Safe Schools program, lobbied politicians and regularly been a voice for transgender youth in the media.

Georgie Stone

In 2019 Stone found a whole new way to share the experiences of being transgender, working with the writers of Neighbours to create the character of Mackenzie Hargreaves. Stone was originally booked to play the character for a short stint, but her performance resonated with audiences and Mackenzie has remained part of the fabric of Ramsay Street.

Throughout her journey Stone has been followed  by documentary filmmaker Maya Newell, best known for her film Gayby Baby. Over the years Newell has logged hundreds of hours of footage, and now it’s been assembled into the creative short documentary The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone. 

When I speak to Stone from her home in Melbourne, it’s just a few days since Neighbours filmed it’s final scenes.

“It’s incredibly bittersweet. Our last day of filming was on Friday, it was it was so emotional filming that last scene. There were lots of friends and family there, the whole crew production, lots of cast. Once we wrapped, we all just kind of held each other and cried. It was so emotional, but also really beautiful.

“I just hit me how significant it was, and how I was to be a part of that. It was beautiful, and sad, at the same time.” Stone shared.

After 37 years the long running soap opera is coming to a close with many of the famous actors whose careers it launched making final appearances in the lead up to the final episode. For Stone, the end of Neighbours is not the only big event in her life, the documentary about her life’s journey has just begun screening at film festivals.

Having just been at it’s premiere, she admits seeing your own life on the big screen is a surreal experience.

“It was surreal at the premiere last night being in a cinema with all these strangers watching, watching my life on a screen. It was weird, because I’m watching it, as you know, a person who has experienced all of it, but then also watching it as an audience member, and kind of seeing it like in a separated sort of way.

“It was it was very trippy. It was very surreal, but it was positive. It worked.” Stone said.

The 27-minute film covers several years of Stone’s life but it’s creatively structured delivering her journey in a non-linear style. The work a result of allowing filmmaker Maya Newell to follow her through some of the most intimate moments of her life.

“She’s a wonderful person and really incredible filmmaker.” Stone says of Newell.  “It was very collaborative. She approached me when I was 14, and at that point there was really no plan. She was just going to film and follow us around and see how it went.

“There was quite a few years of just filming without any plan, but once it came time to start crafting the story and thinking about the story we wanted to tell and how it would be structured, it was an incredibly collaborative process.

“I felt really safe with her, and I knew that I had a voice in the process. I’m a creative producer on the film, so I really felt like I had agency.” Stone said.

Georgie Stone

Georgie Stone shared that she cringed at some of the things her younger-self says in the documentary, while also questioning some of her teenage hair choices.

“It’s incredibly cringy looking at 15 year old Georgie, you know, talking about boys. That’s a part of the film that while – I don’t dislike it. I just I have to cover my eyes, because it’s incredibly awkward. I’m just talking about boys. We all go through that stage in our teen years where we look at that person, and we go, ‘What the hell?'”

Alongside Stone in her journey is her mother Rebekah Robertson who has been as equally vocal as Stone about transgender rights, and the need for effective treatment for young people. Robertson founded support group Transcend and shared her experiences as a parent in her book About a Girl.  

“My mom’s really awesome, and she has a quite a big presence in the film.” Stone said.  “She’s been she’s been that constant in my life, that that person that I know no matter what, I will have, and will love me. She’s amazing, she is my inspiration. She’s the person I look up to.”

With debate about transgender people a constant fixture in political discussions and the news media, Stone shares that it can at times be overwhelming.

“I’m absolutely exhausted.” she says of the political debate that erupted during the federal election. “I started advocacy when I was fourteen, still at school, and I remember I got to around being 19 or 20 and saying to my Mum, ‘I feel so tired.'”

“I feel like my life hasn’t really begun yet. I only just got out of high school and I’m so exhausted. I want to feel like I’m a young person. I want to be out and in the world having fun with no worries, but I’m worried about everything all the time, and I’m so exhausted.

Stone shares that she went through a process of setting more boundaries and making sure she made time for herself.

“That’s why I kind of wanted to take a step back a little bit, because I needed to live my life. Up until that point, I felt like I’d spent my life living it for other people, for which I’ve been happy to do and wanted to do, but I realised in order to keep doing that work actually needed to set some boundaries, otherwise I just completely run out of juice and I wouldn’t be able to help anyone.”

Georgie Stone

With Neighbours coming to an end Stone says she’s happy to move from being Mackenzie Hargreaves, and spend more time being Georgie Stone.

“It’s weird to leave that behind. I mean, I did take a lot of her costumes, so she’s still with me in a way.” Stone said, the actor says she’s happy to be closing the door on that stage of her life.

“I think that’s healthy as well. I didn’t I didn’t necessarily want to play her for a very long time, and she’s young, she’s a school girl and I’m 22 now, so I think it’s probably good to let her be, and be be an adult.”

The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone is part of the program of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival.

Graeme Watson

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