I am a Melbourne-based writer, editor and teacher. I love to write and talk about sexuality, gender, feminism, race and education.
I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me
must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.
This week, I wrote an article for Daily Life about my first Pap smear, which unfortunately was also my first experience of coming out to a doctor. The doctor was religious, and used his role to ‘educate’ me about the unhappiness and shame associated with being homosexual.
Since writing this piece, I have been saddened to read some comments that blame me for my naivety in not doing my research before going to this doctor. One particularly hurtful comment said that the fact that he was able to make me feel so ashamed suggests that I know there is something wrong with my sexuality. Both of these arguments are triggering, #victimblaming, and fairly disturbing.
In my case, I now know about websites like DocLIST, which help lesbian and bisexual women find supportive, understanding doctors. When I think back to my 2004 experience, I feel shame – even to this day – but I also feel anger. Why was this man able to talk to me like this? Why didn’t I feel able to stop him in the middle of his torrent of abusive words and tell him I was leaving? Why do doctors, especially male doctors, have so much power over young women?
I have a wonderful working relationship with the superb and talented Sheree Joseph at The Vocal. The Vocal is a social initiative by Fairfax Media Pty Ltd. and they are action-oriented, social-first and radically positive.
I recently wrote a piece about being a shy extrovert (if you even believe that the binary of extrovert/introvert exists). Since then, I have received messages and had fascinating conversations with people who identify as shy extroverts, social media introverts, awkward extroverts, confident introverts, etc. Regardless of how you feel about the binary, I think it is pretty obvious that there is a spectrum of social behaviour that is largely influenced by our brains, social development and mental health. At the end of the article, I recommend Sian Prior’s book “Shy: A Memoir”, and Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. I can also recommend the Dear Sugar Podcast (Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond), which addresses many of these issues regularly.
Let me know if you want to talk more about any of this!
Please retweet the following tweet, as my wonderful wife, Rachel Chapman, has been nominated for LOTL’s inaugural Powerlist. She is doing important research on educators’ understanding of gender in early childhood education and how this impacts on young children. She will be presenting at the ‘Beyond the Culture Wars’ LGBTIQ History Conference in Melbourne (25-26 November 2016). I went to their conference in Adelaide last year, and I highly recommend it!
— LOTL Magazine (@LOTLmagazine) September 20, 2016
I recently wrote an article for Daily Life about the inaugural Pride Game between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans. The article is about my experiences with sport when I was growing up as a queer woman, as well as the AFL’s links to homophobia, racism and misogyny.
I really enjoyed the Pride Game, and in many ways, it challenged my longstanding beliefs about AFL and homophobia. I now believe that things can, and will, change. However, some aspects of the game still bothered me. I plan to write an update about my experience at the game shortly.