Welcome to our special series celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in MercyCare’s employees, volunteers and service users. Our stories are accompanied by Steve Wise’s remarkable photographs, that show how these ordinary, yet extraordinary, people are individually effecting change for themselves and the people around them. We hope you enjoy their personal stories.
Cody Rout – MercyCare Disability Services User
Cody Rout loves to rap.
“Sometimes I can’t tell people stuff so I rap it out and get all my anger and frustration out,” Cody said.
“I rap my life story, what’s going on with me, how much I love my girlfriend, about when my Dad had leukemia, about living on the streets.
“I have been on and off the streets since the age of 17 because I had troubles at home. After my Dad died it got a bit too hard for my Mum.”
Cody was homeless for nine months before connecting with MercyCare.
“I always thought to myself that I wasn’t perfect. I used to look at myself in the mirror and think, I’m just going to be Cody the low life. But then I got help.
“MercyCare helped me to look forward and see what is out there. I never thought I was going to find somewhere to live, but there’s housing out there.”
Cody now has his own unit and regularly accesses counselling and doctors, in part to help in his gender transition from female to male.
“I’ve always known I was male. From the age of two I started dressing up in my brother’s clothes, then I didn’t have a boyfriend. That’s when my Mum said to my Dad, I think Cody’s a boy.
“It was really hard for my Dad. He just kept saying I was confused. I came out after my Dad died because he wasn’t really accepting of it.
“When I came out it made me feel really good.
“For other young people that are homeless or (gender) transitioning, I want to say, don’t lose hope. And don’t give up.”
At times Cody was tempted to give-up as he was in-and-out of adolescent psychiatric wards due to his mental health, but he always knew life would improve at some point.
“There’s a lot of trans people out there who can’t find anyone to help them, but don’t think you won’t find someone to help you. You will get there at the end of the day.”
Now with his own home, Cody has taken steps towards becoming more independent, not just looking after himself but his cats, guinea pig,
bird and fish.
“I’ve always loved animals actually, but I had never owned a cat. It was always dogs. And then you know, I got my first cat Socks and yes, she’s my everything.”
Cody’s mission now is to turn that love for animals into a volunteering role before seeking paid employment.
“In my family, if you got a job, you stick to it. For money I’ve got to think about the cats and then think about me and bills. I also want to be supportive of my girlfriend like she has been of me.”