Stories about: identity

“Hello, welcome!” said Loona Teek, a pastel pink-haired queen wearing a tight vintage dress and a wide, purple lipstick smile as she swept us into a bar in Haebangcheon. At first glance it looked like most Korean dive bars. A rickety old wooden staircase led to a tiny basement, where mismatched chairs were strewn across …

Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and scholar from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World, which was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His second book of poetry, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, was longlisted for Canada …

I am 28 years old and still can’t say my name properly.  This is not from a lack of effort, but due to a deeply ingrained self-consciousness. Theoretically, my name should be easy to say. Two syllables, reasonably phonetic – but every time I say it, it comes out a little different. Image by: Jon Tyson …

I love how sex workers call themselves simply ‘workers’.  “Are you a worker? I’m a worker.” Even clients say it: “My ex-girlfriend was a worker.” It’s both a code name for the most stigmatised work in the world, and a rebuttal against the assertion that our work isn’t “real” work. To say “I am a …

Have you ever seen a bird fly into a window? They don’t try to slow down or brace for impact, because as far as the bird is concerned, there’s nothing there – until there is.  My window, my invisible wall, is a grimace of annoyance, an exasperated sigh, an awkward silence after I speak.  A …

As a bit of an oddball child, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was teased for a sexuality I didn’t yet realise, and for a gender identity I couldn’t yet fathom. It wasn’t until my teens, when I found my fellow queers and self-proclaimed weirdos, that I experienced a sense of community. Again …

The name is Wakim. That’s Wak-eem, not Whack-em. My childhood was filled with tabouli and hummus, and punishment was a smack with the wooden spoon. I’m Lebanese, and my features show it. The thick, curly hair on my head is what most people first notice about me. This hair was a catalyst for breakdowns in …

The first time I became cognisant of the importance others placed on romance was when I transitioned from the children’s section of my local library to the teen section. Suddenly, all of the books were about falling in or out of love. Nobody, it seemed, was all that concerned with friendships anymore. Until that point, …

Content warning: This article discusses violence and suicidal ideation.   Having been involved in queer-led activist and organising circles for some time, I’m all too familiar with caring for people in crisis. I’ve watched as friends burn themselves to the ground caring for at-risk members of our communities, guiding them through addiction, homelessness, suicidal ideation, …

My adolescence began when I was 19 years old, emotionally at least. It started, as things often do, with a book. I was in my first year at university. I had been bemoaning the secondary school final exams for eviscerating my reading habits. Many of my peers complained of a similar ailment: “I miss reading …

Some humiliations are delivered by people with good intentions. They warn you your fly is open or that the bottle of red wine you drank has turned your teeth grey. But, statistically, most humiliations are delivered for no good reason at all – and by my mother. “You completely lost yourself with that first boyfriend,” …

“No, no, no!” I was playing Chopin’s Etude Opus 25 No. 1 on my teacher’s grand piano, an expansive black instrument that filled the entire room. It twanged discordantly as my fingers fumbled, and I flinched at each reprimand. “Let’s just move on to the Bach and see if that’s any better.” For nearly twenty …

I’ll level with you, I type out. I kinda have no idea what I’m doing, so you’ll have to be patient with me. Her reply is immediate: That’s okay! As long as we both have fun with each other, that’s all that matters. It’s May 2020. Amongst everything else going on in the world at …

Viewed in the most literal way, the internet is dreadfully mundane. It is a series of interconnected networks comprising many computers and servers, all using standardised communication protocols to exchange information. What makes this web of cables and computers a technological spectacle is that it allows people to invent new worlds and reside in them. …

Heteronormativity and popular history

Caroline Newcomb lived and worked with Anne Drysdale on the Bellarine Peninsula for thirteen years, until the latter’s death. In her diary, Caroline described “my dearest and much-beloved Anne” as “the desire of mine eyes”. Upon her own death twenty years later, Caroline was buried beside Anne’s remains in their former residence of Coriyule. Historian …

Nevo Zisin is a Jewish, Queer, non-binary activist, public speaker and writer. They run gender inclusivity workshops in schools, workplaces, and in their local Jewish community. Nevo previously authored Finding Nevo, a poignant memoir on the experience of gender transitioning.   In the opening pages of The Pronoun Lowdown, you say: “I realised that I was …

I work as a social worker in a prison. It is a tough gig working in a system that is oppressive by design and marginalises the marginal. It’s even tougher as a non-binary trans person who is also an abolitionist, plugging away for a wage in a system that perpetuates ongoing violence against queer and …

‘Love in the Time of Coronavirus’ has been a source of entertainment and commentary during the pandemic. Playing on the title of Gabriel García Márquez’s novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, the hashtag has been attached to everything from questions about how to maintain healthy relationships during lockdown to stories about people ending up …

The first time I looked up my natal chart, I was in the computer lab at high school. It was around 2003, when whole class periods were still allocated for ‘computer studies’; we were let loose in a room of bubble-shaped, candy-coloured iMacs, and told to see what we could find. I found astro.com, though …

Most people don’t know exactly what their life will look like, or what they definitively want. We all have ideas about such things, but like burning incense, these ideas swirl and transform, twisting and augmenting over time. This can become more complicated amongst sexual minorities like myself. Sometimes other LGBT+ people find it problematic if …

This year has been hectic, to say the least. To round out the year that we’d rather forget, we have put together a top 10 list of our editors’ picks for 2020. You will see some of the excellent pieces published this year, the most-read pieces and our older favourites. Our online editor Roz Bellamy’s …

Hetsplaining male bisexuality

I was standing on the balcony of Bondi Golf Club at a straight wedding, a glass of champagne in my hand. My girlfriend at the time was introducing me to a number of her friends who I hadn’t yet met throughout our year-long relationship. One friend, Anna, was telling us a story of a recent …

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Sexuality - Gender - Identity