I’m Coming Out (again)

During the postal survey on marriage equality, both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns often used trans and gender-diverse people to make a point. Our sexual preferences, clothing, mental health and genitalia were discussed in the media but also by supposed friends and allies, often in offensive, exploitative and harmful ways.

I figured it was time to write about being non-binary and genderqueer. I wrote a piece for SBS Sexuality, and hope that it helps illuminate the experience of being gender-diverse for those who don’t understand, as well as being validating for those who have had similar experiences to mine. It is not a guide to non-binary identity, and I don’t go into detail about my realisation or pronouns. I’m happy for people to contact me, and appreciate those who have shown their love and support.

A few months ago, someone asked me to describe my gender using a gif. I knew what I wanted it to be immediately: Ilana Glazer dressed in a suit, grooving out and ignoring the surrounding chaos. So here is that gif, and I think it says a lot.

Ilana in ‘Broad City’ season one

 

Out of the Closet – The Big Issue

I’m very excited to tell you that my essay ‘Out of the closet’ has just been published in The Big Issue Australia. It’s particularly thrilling because this issue includes interviews with Björk, Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) and other awesome writers, musicians and comedians.

While the title of my essay might suggest yet another piece about coming out, fear not. It is about the fact that Rachel and I have now been married four times – yet our marriage is still not legally recognised in Australia – and plan to get married a fifth time in 2018.

Time to act for Marriage Equality

Australians, please don’t become complacent about the marriage equality vote. It isn’t the most important issue going on in the world, clearly, but it still matters. You can advocate for marriage equality and for all the other issues you care about. I will be reminding people of these other issues once the survey results are released on 15 November and I have celebrated/cried enough.

If you are a straight ally and have been helping: THANK YOU! We couldn’t do this without you. It has been an awful time for our community, and I truly appreciate your support. It might be worth considering if there are any other ways you can help at this point, beyond talking to your communities, putting up posters, etc.

There are phone banks taking place all month in the lead up to the vote closing on 7 November (https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/call-party-for-equality-tickets-38370977627 and there are many others). Please send me a message if you need more information. Phone banks are essential for reaching people who have forgotten to vote or don’t currently care enough to bother. If you or someone you know needs a replacement form: https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au

If you are straight and generally pro marriage equality but haven’t done much or anything at all, please think about why. Are you actually pro marriage equality? If you’re voting no, that’s your prerogative. But if you are voting or have voted yes, and want your queer family/friends to have equal marriage rights (and I assure you, you have queer family and friends whether you know it or not), we could really use your help. Send me a message if you are unsure what to do next.

If you are afraid to ask your family members what they are voting – and this is something many people have told me that they feel – please message me and I’m happy to provide tips on how to approach it.

#australianmarriageequality #voteyes

Interview with Mary Lambert

I had the weirdest and most amazing experience this week. I happened to contact Mary Lamberts publicist about a fortnight ago, after noticing that Mary had announced her North American tour for her new EP Bold.  I asked if I could interview Mary about her EP, her upcoming tour, and her activism. I have noticed her activism in her music but also on her blog and social media platforms, on issues ranging from queer identity to mental illness and abuse, body positivity, and the Black Lives Matter movement. I suggested that it could potentially “create momentum for an Australian tour.”

Little did I know that Mary would be coming to Sydney, Australia to play with Macklemore at the NRL grand final on 1 October. And I had the opportunity to interview Mary and write a piece for Junkee about it. 

The whole situation has me pinching myself because Mary Lambert was my #1 dream musician to interview. At one point, after I mentioned my own experiences as a queer writer and activist, and my struggles with mental illness, Mary said “I feel like we are kindred spirits.” OMG. Don’t worry, I didn’t overshare too much.

So I will leave you with this gif to summarise my feelings about all of this. Yes, I am over-excited and haven’t come down from this high. And I think that’s okay. 

 

Kill Your Darlings

I’ve been a fan of Kill Your Darlings for many years, and I am so excited to have had a piece published in their January issue. My piece is about my time at a writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed in the French alps, which I thought would be the ideal place to escape the distractions of everyday life.

The workshop was practical, inspiring, complex, and, in many ways, life-changing. Outside of the workshop room, however, I struggled, even with my dream writing conditions (a view of the Alps, with a cheese platter nearby) to find the peace and stillness I needed. In this piece, I consider what is needed to become fully immersed in creative work: whether it is solitude, collaboration with peers, the privilege to take time off from ‘real life’, unplugging from devices, or a matter of discipline or motivation.

You can read the editorial and order Issue 28 here.

 

Events in November and December

I’ll be presenting at the Youth, Health and Practical Justice Conference on Sunday 4th December in Sydney. The conference is organised by the UNSW Practical Justice Initiative and the UTS Faculty of Health. It is the first national interdisciplinary conference for those working to promote young people’s wellbeing and health in education, health service, community, and youth work settings.

In addition to presenting about my own work with young people, I will be co-presenting an academic poster with my lovely wife, Rachel Chapman. She is doing important research on educators’ understanding of gender in early childhood education and how this impacts on young children. For those of you based in Melbourne, 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!