WARNING: The following story contains homophobic and transphobic remarks that may be triggering for some.
She’s one of this season’s most controversial stars but it appears Ines Basic’s presumptuous behaviour also transcends off-screen.
Labelled a ‘bully’ by social media users across the country, the 29-year-old legal assistant allegedly went to school with former contestant of ‘The Voice’ James Banks.
James, who appeared on the reality program in 2017, has opened up to Now To Love about the bullying he endured from Ines and her friends, which led him to moving school.
“Ines was, in what my friends and I would call, the ‘Rat Pack’. It was her and three or four other girls,” he explains to the publication.
“I wouldn’t say she was the coolest kid in school, but she was popular.”
It was during this time that the now 27-year-old struggled with gender dysmorphia.
“At that point in time, I was portraying myself as female and was comfortable in that,” he recalled.
“One day after school, there was a place called the ‘back track’ which was like a back alley that cut through all the back area to get home and I remember I was growing my hair because I wanted to be female and I had this tiny little pony tail.
“I was so proud of this tiny little pony tail. I was walking through the back track and I heard yelling behind me and I looked back and there were people behind me – and Ines was there. [One of them] came and slapped chewing gum on the back of my head.
“I didn’t even make it half way through grade eight, I had to pull out it was so bad.
“It was basically just these three or four girls and the boys they were having things with – whether it was going into school, whether it be on lunch break – I was always being called a ‘f*ggot’, I was being called ‘p**fter’ and any name you could think of.”
The bullying continued to intensify so much that he had to move to another school in another suburb to finish Year 8.
“I would say that that [this] was the first point of bullying for me going into high school – so that was definitely the first part of my life that kind of threw me from being in primary school and just being young innocent, and automatically go into this big school and there’s Ines and her friends who would yell: ‘You’re a faggot’, ‘You’re a freak’, ‘You’re a poof’ and so it was a starting point,” he remembers.
“It’s very hard for me to translate now as to why people are looking at me because I still have those feelings of, ‘Am I a freak’ or ‘Am I a weirdo’?
“What is it about me that make people stare at me. I see people whisper as I walk past and it’s just constantly in the back of my head that they’re automatically thinking or talking about these things that happened all those years ago.”
James has come forward to raise awareness around the correlation between bullying and transgender.
“A lot of young people reach out to me and talk about being transgender and wanting to commit suicide,” he told the publication.
“Bullying is never OK in any sense. You are put on this earth as who you are for a reason. You should be able to be proud of that and never be discouraged about who you want to be or why you want certain things.”
James’ message to Ines?
“You reap what you sow.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.