Category Archive: sexuality

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, …

My Catholic guilt: The regrets of a former youth leader

I used to have a job teaching kids not to be themselves. I was a Catholic youth leader, running activities and leading prayer circles every Friday night, organising events and outings, and acting as an extremely unqualified counsellor for a collection of 13-18 year olds. I held a seat on my parish council, and I …

Public intimacy: Reclaiming my identity as a bisexual woman

“Oh, that’s hot. Can you kiss for me?” These words, in different orders and intonations, have been said to me more times than I can count. I’m fifteen, flirting properly with a girl for the first time at a friend’s house. She whispers in my ear, and it is something cute and innocent. I’m experiencing …

Corporate rainbow-washing: The truth behind awards and accolades

Content warning: This article discusses homophobia and transphobia   At my first job, when I was a high school student, my boss was openly homophobic. Once, he told me that being gay was disgusting and wrong, at a time when I was a teenager, closeted, and already convinced I was inherently wrong in some way. Now …

Parenting and sexuality: The time my son found my FetLife profile

Parenting is the ultimate headfuck.  Nothing strips you as bare, nor finds you as wanting. You want to get it so right, and yet you are so goddamned imperfect. From the moment my son was conceived, I knew I wanted to raise him with a healthy sexuality that he could one day enjoy, as I …

Self-censorship at work: The queer ‘hush’ factor

I felt the need to shield my screen the other day. It was my lunch break at work and I was reading an article about the world of lesbian dating on my work computer. I had the screen minimised and my cursor hovering over the tiny x in the right hand corner. If I was reading …

Bisexual visibility in 2019: Why we need to ‘be the change’

Bisexual Visibility Day is a day of celebration that really turns into a month of celebration when all is said and done. After kicking off in the USA in 1999, this year, September 23rd marks the 21st official annual celebration of bisexuality, an event that now reaches across the globe. But September 23rd isn’t all …

OCD and sex: When ‘pure O’ isn’t so pure

It was a Thursday and I was at work, sitting at my desk in a second-floor open-plan office with no windows. I walked over to the printer, swiped my staff card and waited while the pages of my report assembled themselves into a neat pile. Then it happened again, more powerful than before. Images flashed …

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 …

School’s out: Catholic schools and the Sex Discrimination Act

It’s been ten years since I finished school. A decade since I definitively declared “School’s out for summer, school’s out forever”. Between that day, the beginning of the rest of my life, and now, I came out. Returning to my Catholic high school in Sydney’s inner west to see what had changed, I expected better …

Girlfriends, gal pals or partners? Language and queer visibility

I was recently caught in the revolving door of the closet. During small talk with an acquaintance, I’d mentioned my girlfriend. After a meandering chat about household chores, she dropped the word ‘friend’ into the conversation, the cogs turned, and I realised we were on different wavelengths about what my girlfriend was to me. As …

Being queer and body positive

Being queer and body positive

Growing up in Australia in a time when fad diets and homophobia were all the rage, for me, the 90’s and early 00’s meant crash diets and sneaking off to Sydney to make out with girls on the weekend. I hid my sexuality and forced myself to have relationships with men to appease society, I …

Laughing matters: Bringing queerness into comedy festivals

The most wonderful time of the year in Melbourne is upon us: International Comedy Festival time. Each year my dad and I watch the televised MICF events – usually the Gala performance and opening night. Comedy is one of the things that Dad and I bond over the most, sharing a similar sense of humour …

Sam Stoich Image Essay: Shot in the Dark

This series by 20-year-old HIV-positive American photographer Sam Stoich confronts a subject that has long been misunderstood, and remains burdened with ­stigma even today. Q&A with Jess Desaulniers-Lea   Shot in the Dark has a sense of continuum; is this series on­­going? If so, how has it evolved so far and in what direction do you see it …

LBQ women and drugs: Passing the plate around

Content warning: this article discusses drug use.  It’s widely acknowledged that drug-use in LGBTIQ+ communities is high. It also happens that many of the drugs we take are recreational, and illegal. This doesn’t seem to be deterring queer communities, who consume ecstasy alone at a rate almost 6 times that of the general population. What …

When shame comes from the inner-sanctum: Biphobia within the queer community

I am a lucky one. In many ways I never really ‘came out’; I was always openly bisexual. I never questioned that aspect of myself, I was who I was and as a rough and tumble tomboy it seemed entirely acceptable. I kissed a girl at the age of eight and kissed a boy that …

Happy Valentine’s Day, me: How being single became central to my queerness

When I was a kid, my favourite books were the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. Different worlds, fantastic instruments, flying witches, and your soul appearing outside your body in animal form. It was magic, lush, creatively unbound. What impacted me most was a quote from a human character – a scientist – named …

LGBTIQ elders – An excerpt from “Peering Through: Sharing Decades of Queer Experiences”

“LGBTIQ elders have a strong history of breaking down barriers for proceeding generations to live more freely. Some of these stories are well publicised, such as the process to decriminalise homosexuality, while others are more personal, like our elders being role models just by living openly and honestly. Our elders represent an incredible history that …

I’m the gay teacher you want the right to fire

I have been a teacher for the better part of a decade. When I graduated, I was offered two jobs: one in a state school and one in a Catholic school. At the time, my Catholic faith formed a huge part of my identity; I had even undergone additional study to attain formal qualifications in …

Trauma and homophobia: Becoming sexual in my late forties

Content warning: this story discusses instances of sexual assault and homophobia.   For most people, their only understanding of being a virgin at 40 is the Steve Carell film. Not me. After living through years of homophobia – both internalised and not – and trauma, I recently experienced my first sexual encounter, at 48. I’m …

Losing a digital home: Tumblr’s ban and marginalised sexual identities

On December 17, the popular blogging platform Tumblr enacted a ban on “adult content” uploaded to its site. What it means by adult content is images and videos of “real-life human genitals”, content that depicts sex acts, and nipples – but only, of course, ones that are “female-presenting.” Many have pointed out that the blanket …

Bi Mouth: Queer Representation in Netflix’s Big Mouth

This article contains spoilers for Seasons 1 and 2 of Big Mouth. It is recommended that you watch before reading. I have a conflicted relationship with animated shows intended strictly for adults as they often seem to lack substance beyond the realm of offensiveness for its own sake. Big Mouth surprised me – despite focusing …

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Sexuality - Gender - Identity