Category Archive: activism

Archer Asks: Uncle Jack Charles

Archer Asks: Uncle Jack Charles

When Uncle Jack Charles appeared on a 2015 ­episode of Q&A, he took the opportunity to point out to Australian viewers the ways in which the country is uniquely and peculiarly racist towards its First Nations peoples. It’s something he has experienced and seen, a lot, firsthand. His words resonated strongly. The beloved actor, trailblazer, Indigenous-theatre pioneer, …

Out of the Archives: Inside Out and prison abolition

Out of the Archives: Inside Out and prison abolition

Content Warning: Incarceration ALGA has a range of content relating to struggles for prison reform and prison abolition. This edition of Out Of The Archives will uncover some of this history.   In the last instalment of Out of the Archives, we brought you the story of Sandra Willson, a lesbian subjected to wrongful imprisonment …

Out of the Archives: The story of Sandra Willson

Out of the Archives: The story of Sandra Willson

 Content warning: Incarceration, LGBTQIA phobia, Indigenous incarceration, violence, suicidal ideation, aversion therapy ALGA has a range of content relating to struggles for prison reform and prison abolition. This edition of Out Of The Archives will uncover some of this history.   Historically, queers have been targeted by state violence, and still are today. It is …

Creating art in a post #MeToo climate

Something shifted two years ago, when the first #MeToo found itself pinned to an alluding tweet. Unwittingly, we had stumbled into a new uprising: one laced with belated anger and hot breath. One that was necessary and tingling. One itching to be found in the pages of future history books. Art, business, hospitality, sport: every …

Archer Asks: Raquel Willis, executive editor of Out Magazine

Writer, speaker, executive editor of Out Magazine and former organiser for the Transgender Law Center, there’s no denying that Raquel Willis is an impressive force for good. Based in the U.S, Raquel is a Black queer transgender trailblazer backed by a formidable CV, with her work in community organising to lift up the voices of …

The Religious Freedom Reforms 2019: A loophole for intolerance

I ran into a teacher from my school recently. It’s been eight years, he barely recognised me. But when he did, the first question out of his mouth was “Do you have a husband?” In the space of about three minutes, he rephrased and asked the same question twice more, finally settling for “What about …

Archer Asks: Cheryn Frost, creator of Hydraulic Fucking

Hydraulic Fucking is a queer political theatre performance that shares the wisdom, research, and humour of Yuwaalaraay woman Cheryn Frost. Created as a part of her residency at Sydney’s PACT Theatre, the one-woman show draws parallels between fracking and sexual consent, and serves as a call to arms to prevent further environmental devastation from taking place …

An open letter to the trans and gender diverse community from Mama Alto

My dear trans siblings, my gender diverse family,   Are you hurting right now, or sad, or lost, or confused, or tired? I know I am. Every day in our political and media spheres we see more and more attacks on us, and those like us, just for daring to live and exist as ourselves. …

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 …

Pink-tinted glasses: After marriage equality

“It’s done! We did it,” a colleague of mine tells me in the tearoom.  I know what he’s referring to. Two days prior to this exclamation, it was announced that 61.6 per cent of Austra­lians voted ‘yes’ to legalise same-sex marriage (SSM). Eyes beaming and shoulders relaxed, he says we can finally move on and be …

Attention whores: Sex work as spectacle

I’m walking down King Street in inner-suburban Sydney with my headphones in, engaged in that detestable digital-age behaviour: scrolling through social media while walking. I come across a video posted by Juno Mac, a UK-based colleague and comrade in sex-work activism. I’ve been watching her posts closely this week because she’s where I’d like to …

Being a stealth trans man when transphobia is on the rise

The election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil isn’t an isolated phenomenon. As a politically compromised transgender man, I can’t help but interpret it as part of a worrying reactionary backlash. I live in Argentina, the first country in the region to recognise trans people’s right to change our names legally and access gender …

LGBTQ+ rights in India: Decriminalisation, activism, and pride

It was historical. In September, India’s Supreme Court declared the unconstitutionality of laws punishing consensual sex between homosexual adults. The judgement was the result of a legal challenge by prominent members of India’s LGBTQ+ community: dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri, and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur, …

Out of the archives: Animal Liberation at Mardi Gras

Out of the archives is a new series from Jess Ison looking at queer her-/their-/his-tory in Australia in collaboration with Nick Henderson from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA).   Criticising Mardi Gras is not just an annual social media sport, but also a queer rite of passage. Whether it’s not enough portaloos in the staging …

‘Yes’ one year on: Choosing marriage

The anniversary of the 2017 postal survey returning a ‘Yes’ result commemorates a complicated legacy. Many in our community will celebrate this day as a great moment in the history of gay rights, while for many others it is overshadowed by the bitter experience of those difficult months. Contrary to much of the commentary during …

Making Love and Making Law

Making Love and Making Law

I was born in 1991, the year that Nicholas Toonen, a gay activist from Tasmania, sent a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He argued that criminalising sex between men in private was a violation of his right to privacy. In that year, homosexual sex was still a criminal activity in Tasmania. Under …

Indigenous queer elders: Stepping up for mob

Now in his 50s, Peter Waples-Crowe is a powerhouse community figure in the Aboriginal LGBT community, managing a career in public health alongside a significant body of visual art that reflects his unique intersections. After catching up over cigarettes outside the State Library of Victoria, and reflecting on the sombre irony of smoking tobacco products …

Intersex variations: Western medicine and the Hippocratic Oath

Depending on when it was you asked my parents about their children, they would tell you they had three girls and three boys or, more lately, two girls and four boys. When I was born one of twins, the attending physician wasn’t sure if I was a boy or a girl. I would later learn …

Queering the map: an archive of queer space

There are places that overflow with queer energy each and every time I pass by them. There’s the park in southern Sydney where I had my first gay kiss. A street in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg North where I wore a dress in public for the first time in my life as a trans …

Trans women in sports: End the discrimination now

Wading into the deep end of the pool as a trans woman athlete has been fraught with problems. I was only three years into my transition when I made the decision to return to sport in 2004. Prior to this, I had been a competitive athlete since my 5th grade of school. All I had …

Gay rape fantasies: What do our kinks say about us?

content warning: this article discusses rape and sexual trauma. I remember trying to work out how he made the typo. “I want to rape your cock with my hole.” How could he make such an error? He wasn’t to know how triggering that statement would be to me, so I bit back angst to calmly …

Identity, mental health and postcolonial trauma

A good friend of mine recently asked me to write a piece on the way that depression has impacted my life for a friend’s blog. Thinking about it, I came to realize that the psychological illnesses I have incurred over the years are situated within the history of postcolonial trauma. My ancestral heritage goes back …

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Sexuality - Gender - Identity