SPREADING THE WORD: Clinton Brett (middle) is comfortable with who he is and wants others to become more educated about Klinefelter syndrome.
SPREADING THE WORD: Clinton Brett (middle) is comfortable with who he is and wants others to become more educated about Klinefelter syndrome. Contributed

Teased and tormented, Clinton is now happy with who he is

IT was a typical Australia Day at the pub when Clinton Brett and his fiance, now wife, Jodi Collings heard someone call out "poofter".

When they looked around, patrons inside the Bundaberg establishment were sniggering, whispering to one another.

Their ridicule was directed at Mr Brett but instead of returning fire with his own vitriol, he began to explain why he wasn't your conventional beer-swilling, chest-beating heterosexual.

Aside from liking short shorts - "they're more comfortable" - Mr Brett enjoys chick flicks and cries during movies.

He is also a successful diesel mechanic with his own business who likes motor racing, camping and fishing.

The difference between Mr Brett and other males is he was born with two extra female chromosomes, a condition known as Klinefelter syndrome where little or no testosterone is produced, among other things.

It's been a long road for the 44-year-old - he had a mastectomy at 25 and was teased and bullied growing up - and the incident has triggered him to talk about his experiences to educate the community and help anyone else going through the same thing.

"I love having a good laugh about my genetics with the people who are genuinely considerate and have spent time getting to know me. When you understand me then you can make jokes all you want because we are all laughing together," he said.

It wasn't until Mr Brett was in his mid-20s that he could put a name to his condition. He learnt of the news at the same time the doctor informed him and his now ex-wife that he may be infertile.

"We booked an appointment to have the fertility test. That led to an endocrinologist diagnosing my KS after five minutes of consultation," he said.

 

Clinton Brett is comfortable with who he is and wants others become more educated.
Clinton Brett is a successful businessman. Contributed

But, like most people with KS, Mr Brett knew well before then that he was different.

"I wasn't going through puberty when my male mates were. By 16 I was 6ft 5 with a very soft voice, breast tissue - yep, real moobs - I had no muscle tone, no facial hair and my body began forming like some of the girls in my class," he said.

Of course his family also knew there was something a little different about Mr Brett.

"Imagine the disappointment from my father knowing his almost 7ft tall ruck/centre son was not going to have a future in AFL football.

"I avoided showering with the team and didn't have ambitions to throw my body on the line," he said.

The incident at the pub was not the first and Mr Brett knows it won't be the last.

"Someone said, 'so you're confused with your gender?' Well, I will state the obvious, I'm a lesbian in my male/female body. I'm not the one who is confused - you are, because you didn't listen to me the first time.

"I wear clothing that feels natural for me and I don't borrow from the missus; I buy my own."

Five years ago was a turning point for Mr Brett.

"I finally came to terms with myself. I wasn't going to change and began to enjoy what I'd been dealt with. There is by far worse things in life than what I was dealing with," he said.

Mr Brett's determination is clear, with his diesel diagnostics and training business recognised as one of the best.

"I started from nothing. No finance backing, just drive to prove to myself that I could create something new," he said.

Two years ago he was invited to be a guest speaker at a medical seminar in Sydney, something he relishes.

"I enjoy taking time out from my business schedule to assist and convince others of the freedom and better life you can have by being open with who you are.

"Love yourself before you love someone. I've become an inspiration to many and that's the reward. It's not an ego, I've had one of them and got over it years ago."