Articles

Queering history: Brian McGahen and Bolshevik Bloomers

For this next instalment of Out of the Archives we introduce you to Brian McGahen (1952-1990). He leaves behind a complicated life which begs the question, how do we write queer legacies? Out of the archives is a series from Jess Ison looking at queer her-/their-/his-tory in Australia in collaboration with Nick Henderson from the Australian Lesbian and …

Being bisexual and mixed: Preserving culture through a queer lens

“Did you know that Madison is a… bisexual?” my aunt harps during the heart of Australia’s ill-famed plebiscite debate in 2017, locking eyes with my mother as she mouths the word. The transgression, rather. Bi-sex-ual (|bʌɪˈsɛkʃʊəl|): something that is neither here nor there, a kind of “duplicity” that Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan knows well. “You’re …

Navigating PTSD and the sexual self

Navigating PTSD and the sexual self

Content warning: this article discusses sexual assault and trauma.    Flat on my back in a dark, unfamiliar room. The door is shut but a crack of light seeps in from the corridor. A hand reaches to unzip my jeans. My pussy’s wet, my nipples hard. A heavy breath heaves and a deep voice whispers …

Living with HIV and the politics of AIDS

I contracted HIV from the partner I shared a terrace with in Sydney almost twenty years ago. I realised the virus had entered my blood while I lay in his arms watching ads on the television for the upcoming Sydney 2000 Olympics. My partner cradled me while I complained of fevers and chills. That night …

Homelessness services must strive to understand and support nuanced identities

My identity is made up of different identifiers. I identify as being male, was perceived as effeminate when young, and grew up in public housing in western Sydney with my iTaukei (indigenous) Fijian father and Anglo Australian mother. I was brought up in a relatively conservative Christian family, and now I have much more progressive …

Family, cars and finding autonomy: Unpacking complexity in homelessness

I didn’t think of myself as homeless when I finally did stop going home. It didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t feel bad. Over New Years my partner and I went camping. Some nights we were so lazy setting up a tent that we slept in the middle of a private farm under just the …

Dead canaries: Gaslighting in relationships

I had always considered myself a very empowered person who was able to be assertive in my relationships and maintain healthy boundaries with the people around me. Actually, my boundaries could sometimes be described as more robust than healthy. It often took people months to get beyond arm’s length. A year or so ago, I …

Social work, accountability and hope: How does our youth homelessness system serve trans folks?

When I started working in the youth homelessness sector five years ago, I was not prepared for all the ways that the homelessness system was, and still is, not built for folks like me. I’m a non-binary trans person, and for five years I have worked alongside young people without housing. I was definitely not …

Aroma therapy: The smell of my vagina helped me overcome shame & love sex

I want women to smell their underwear everyday. Why? I overcame shame and learned to love myself by getting high off my own supply. Many women recoil at the smell of their vagina, I know, I was one of them for many years. Too many “smells like fish” jokes around the lunch table from awkward pre-pubescent …

The great interracial divide: Long distance relationships, language and truths

To celebrate my resignation from my first full-time job after college, I booked a flight from the Philippines to Singapore for a break. I brought one bag with me for a month-long stay. When I landed I realised how reckless my decision was. I had no idea what I was going to do there. I …

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Sexuality - Gender - Identity