HuffPost Her Stories: This Truck Driver Transformed Her Town's LGBTQ Biases

Hi, readers!

Holly Conroy is a transgender truck driver from the rural Australian town of Wagga Wagga. She first tried to come out as trans when she was 27, but her family and friends dissuaded her from doing so. After a five-year marriage to a woman, she came out again at 37, sharing the news with friends on social media.

“Once I got good reactions on Facebook about coming out, that was a huge load off my shoulders,” she told HuffPost Australia editor Alicia Vrajlal. Now she’s planning a three-day Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras Festival, modeled after the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras — Australia’s answer to Pride — that attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Holly’s story is just one of many shared via HuffPost Australia’s new Proud Out Loud series, which profiles people in the LGBTQ community whose voices aren’t always heard, including Indigenous Australians, trans people, immigrant families and people from rural areas. The package of stories is an extension of HuffPost’s 2019 Proud Out Loud initiative in other countries and comes shortly after Sydney won the bid for World Pride in 2023. 

“Readers have embraced Holly’s story, with plenty of circulation on LGBTQ Facebook groups and community hubs,” Alicia told me, noting that the images with the piece “reflected femininity in a male-dominated industry.”

Holly said her boss at a construction company was supportive when they first discussed her coming out and transitioning. Now she drives a truck for a different company, and her straight male colleagues attended the pride parade she organized last year.

“Holly is a pioneer in the trans community,” senior editor Carly Williams told me. “Rural Australia can be a tough place for LGBTQ people and Holly has been imperative in changing that.”

Check out the full Proud Out Loud series, and tell me about other LGBTQ pioneers and role models.

Until next week,

Sara Bondioli, editor, HuffPost U.S.

Follow Alicia (@LeeshieV) and Carly (@Williams__Carly) on Twitter. And check out HuffPost Australia (@HuffPostAU) for more news from Down Under.

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