Pride Zine August 2022
UNSA would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians upon which this magazine was written, the Pambalong Clan of the Awabakal Nation. We would also like to extend this acknowledgement to the Birpai, Darkinjung and Gadigal peoples, as the traditional custodians of the lands upon which the University of Newcastle resides and UNSA operates. UNSA would like to pay respects to all Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge them as the true knowledge holders. We acknowledge the historical inequalities faced by Aboriginal people and the continuing struggle for justice and equality. Black Lives Matter. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.
3 Editor's Letters
Sending you all virtual hugs x Editor Melanie Jenkins (She/Her) What are you most looking forward to this Pride Week? The Pride party at The Newy
I’m here, I’m queer, I’m full of existential fear, It’s Pride Week! A time for celebration and solidarity in equal parts, Pride itself can be painted in so many different colours. For me, it is a time to honour those members of community who have come before us and paved the way–sometimes with their lives–for social change. This zine is a testament to those people, to their children (drag or otherwise), and to the future of the LGBTQIA+ community. For all the allies, the queer, and the questioning, I ask that you flip through these pages with pride. Opus stands by our LGBTQIA+ students and backs the workings of the Queer Collective, and I hope that support can be read through the pages of this zine.
Now, sashay away. Junior Editor Stephanie Jenkins (She/Her) What are you most looking forward to this Pride Week? The Pride expo! What’s up my guys, gals and non-binary pals?
It’s officially Pride Week and we are ready to par-tay!! We’re super excited to bring this year’s Pride Zine to you in collaboration with the Queer Collective and spread messages of love, inclusiv ity, diversity, community and acceptance. We have an overflowing zine this month with extra articles available online! We talk about LGBTQIA+ education and history, the events happening this Pride Week, the women of TikTok who love women, non-binary books to read, birth control as an EVERYONE issue, and SO much Tomore.be editor of a zine that has so many queer and allied contributors, who are celebratory and inclusive, is a massive feat. I feel so honoured to be a part of advocating and amplifying our student voices, especially at times like these. I’m so proud of our team and our contributors for everything that they do to support each other, spread the love, and keep the good fight going.
4 Contents3 Editor's Letters 4 Contents 5 Contributors 6 The Queer Collective Frey Cooper 7 What's on this Pride Week 8 Artist Q&A with Tanya Rege Opus Team 10 Bi *wife* Energy Tyler Bridges 11 Loud, Proud, and Surround Sound Emily Colesr 12 What the LGBTQIA+?! Ivy-Rose Laidler 14 TikTok does Pride Tegan Stettaford 16 Access To Proper Healthcare Is An Everyone Issue Frey Cooper 18 Five Fantastic Novels Featuring Nonbinary Characters for Tweens Candice Lemon-Scott 20 A Brief History of Pride Holly Nicholas 22 Going To The Bathroom Frey Cooper 24 The Erasure of Gender Studies Stephanie Jenkins 26 Pride Horoscopes Stephanie Jenkins 20 24 11
5 Contributors Tiana Williams (she/her) Graphic Designer Our Pride Zine What are you most looking forward to this Pride Week? Tanya Rege (she/her) Cover Artist Being loud and proud Emily Coles (she/her) A whole week dedicated to nothing but unrequited, real, true love is just the greatest thing ever! Frey Cooper (they/them) Seeing my friends have fun Ivy-Rose Laidler (she/her) Celebrating individualityeveryone’sanddifferences. Tyler Bridges (she/her) The visibility of community generally at UON Candice Lemon-Scott (she/her) Celebrating gender diversity with my kiddos, and showing my pride for who they are.
Sometimes, when I’m scrolling through Facebook, I come across the occasional Love Letter (or Hate Letter) from a person asking for more LGBTQIA+ friends, or for resources or some sort of advice. Of course, shout out to those within the Queer Collective who recommend us to those people, but it still is disappointing to see that there are people who still don’t know we exist. So here I am to advertise us and to invite people to join us, get advice, make friends, and have access to resources. Our one, sole goal is to create a space that is welcoming and safe for all LGBTQIA+ students. I, personally with no bias whatsoever, believe that we are completing that goal. As part of this, we host heaps of events which include, but are not limited
We also work towards advocacy through meeting with staff within the uni and SRC members at UNSA to discuss any issues. We are also occasionally asked to consult, such as when we consulted with Auchmuty Library which resulted in the rainbow stairs, among other changes. The Queer Collective is also, of course, involved in the organisation and hosting of Pride Week with our Convenor chairing all the meetings for it. Pride Week is in Week 6 this and I hope you can make it.
Finally, we have a Queer Space. This is a little comfy room in the UNSA Building which has been around since 2003. To get there, you enter the UNSA Building, head towards the bathrooms and then go right. We have a little Pride mat out the front. In the Space, there are books you can read, a lounge you can take a nap on, often people are in there who are always up for a chat and we have resources which you can read and take with you. Thank you for reading about the Queer Collective. This is a group which is so important to so many people and I hope, if you feel like it might be the place for you, that you consider joining. If you can’t come to the Queer Space or are a tad nervous about coming in, feel free to message our Facebook Page, post in our Facebook Group (after joining and being accepted) or email me! You’ll always get an answer from someone who is happy to help. Scan the QR Code here to get to our Linktree which has the links to all of our social media pages/groups, as well as how to become an official member with us! Frey Cooper (They/Them) Queer Collective Convenor
•to:Weekly Bitch & Stitches • Weekly Study Groups • Monthly Book Clubs • Three Hangouts Which Rotate Weekly: Asexual & Aromantic Hangout | Queer Women’s Hangout | Trans & Gender Diverse Hangout
What does celebrating Pride Week and this zine mean to you? To quote a show (One Day at a Time) “It’s really empowering to not be defined by who you want to make out with.” I was thinking about that a lot while I was creating this zine cover. For me, Pride is about comfort: there is beauty in normalcy, you know?Loving is natural and, in the end, it doesn’t
With Tanya Rege
A fun fact about me is that I’m actually a kiwi (I’m undercover, shhh). I also believe in creating art just because you can. Art doesn't need to fit a purpose to exist, ykno? That’s my personal mantra.
Pride is a time to celebrate and commemorate all the people who have worked, are working, and will continue to work to make this world better for us all. For over 70 years, Opus has been run by students, for students, with an aim to create a platform from which all students at the University of Newcastle can be heard. This month, we extended that platform to a local student artist to design the cover of our Pride zine. We asked her to tap into what Pride means to her. Say hello to Tan and her artwork: 2 Girls Kissing Hey, I’m Tan, (she/her), and I’m studying a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design (majoring in Graphic Design and Illustration).
Bad art doesn’t exist! A friend once told me that your art is special because you are the only one who can make it. When I realised that, I really made progress on my creative journey. My advice would be to try not to get caught up in other people’s progress. That used to be a major flaw of mine, but comparisons can hold you back if you fixate on them too much.
In reality, it’s important to know that your art is important, and it will always be important, because you created something with your own two hand–and that is very special indeed. So, have fun with it! And make whatever the hell you want!
A large chunk of my process is drafting, experimenting a ton, and a whole lot of reference pictures. I’m very messy when I create something–it’s not pristine, or even remotely clean, I have like a hundred layers at the end of the project (which I never merge). But the chaos is what makes it so fun. I love just doing whatever feels right to me and, in the end, I’m pretty much always happy with what I make (even if it looks a little sideways), because you know what, I made that with my own two hands. It also involves taking long breaks, because when you’re fixated on something for so long you need to look away for a bit so you can really see what fits and what doesn’t. So a reminder, take a break!!!
Where can people find you? You can find me on Instagram! My handle is @Dingo. Tango so go take a squizz–I draw a lot of funny pictures. I also love just having a chat, so feel free to reach out! :)
Do you have any advice for students starting their creative journey?
What went into the creation of our cover this month? I brainstormed until my head was empty. I experimented with potential layouts, different themes, and tried all sorts of colour pallets. I just got all of my ideas out into the page, and picked out what gave me a good head feel. My designs had a big range (even penguins at one point–don’t ask). I also worked with feedback, trying to shape something that I was proud of. I also thought about what I wanted to convey. I wanted something eye-catching and engaging–and obviously something that conveyed the theme. But I also just wanted to convey what Pride meant to me: the normalcy of love and how beautiful not being defined feels. "It’s important to know that your art is important, and it will always be important because you created something with your own two hands."
matter who I love–it doesn’t define me. And I can feel that way because we live in a day and age where we can love freely :) Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
10 Bi *wife* Energy
Bi *wife* energy to us, and our relationship, is the education and learning that comes with having a non-straight partner, and being able to expand one’s education and mind to help love and support said partner. The trend online of many men coming out during pride month with their bisexual wives, celebrating their sexuality, and not feeling threatened by their powerful partners, is an amazing movement that also allows us, in our partnership, to be able to thrive and continue biandissupportablemisunderstood,haswhencommunicationrelationshipsThecommunication.ourkeytoallisand,itisanareathatahabitofbeingbeingtolearnandyourpartnerthekeytosuccesstappingintothat
Words: Tyler Bridges (she/her)
As a bisexual woman, I have had a bit of a different experience when it comes to relationships, my interactions with community, and general perspectives of myself. Many bisexual people can probably relate to the over-sexualisation of bisexuality, as well as the misconceptions around bisexual people being ‘more likely to cheat’ or being ‘selfish’. Bisexual people can also be cut off from the queer community itself, due to some misconceptions around sexuality as a whole. A lot of these issues seem to be getting better as the community and the world learn about sexuality and acceptance, but it is a hard world to live in when you don’t fit into the ‘right box’ one hundred Ipercent.havebeen lucky enough to fall in love. I just so happened to fall in love with a straight, cis man. Sometimes it can be difficult being with someone who does not always get you, but I am happy to report I am with one who tries. When I sat down with my partner to ask a few questions around having a bisexual partner, his answers almost all revolved around communication and learning. I asked him what it was like having a partner who is bisexual… apparently having a partner who will have crushes on the same celebrities as you is pretty dope. We had an open communication about my bisexuality, and bisexuality in general; about what he does to help me and what I do to help him. The best thing about this, and both our answers, was the emphasis on communication, support, and education. As a couple, we are constantly talking to each other about growth, even if not on purpose. Sometimes, it can be so hard to feel heard about a sexuality that is not present right in people’s faces when you are in a heteronormative relationship. My partner luckily has grown to understand this and learnt to be open about what he can do to make an accepting environment. Hearing from your partner, “I want to learn from you, and research, and know what I can do to make you feel comfortable – especially when some of our family may not be supportive” is an emotional thing to hear, but the support rooted in this is some sweet bi *wife* energy. Having a dialogue around what might be an uncomfortable thing –the potential of being outed to family members –opened our relationship up to further connection and communication around what we can each do to support each other.
ARLO PARKS An acoustic R&B moment, with their “words as useful as photographs.”
Loud, Proud, and Surround Sound
KEIYNAN LONSDALE Australian owned superstar making waves in America with his silky vocals contrasting with his rapping ability. Sounds like: Childish Gambino Favourite songs: We Are The Children, Gay Street Fighter (if you take anything from this article LISTEN TO THIS SONG, IT IS EVERYTHING!)
Dre a mer Isioma
Sounds like: Cleo Sol, Lily Allen Favourite songs: Caroline, Too Good DODIE Soul wrenchingly intimate. Sounds like: Bruno Major, Missy Higgins Favourite songs: She, Arms Unfolding KEVIN ABSTRACT Stanky as, moody R&B, gorgeous vocals and spoken word. Sounds like: Dominic Fike, Genesis Owusu Favourite songs: Peach, Corpus Christi BEABADOOBEE It’s like you’re in an Indie surfer rock film soundtrack. Sounds like: Holly Humberstone, Ruby Fields Favourite songs: She Plays Bass, Death Bed (coffee for your head) (yes that TikTok song) MINT GREEN Grunge indie rock making you want to bop your head. Sounds like: Spacey Jane, The Vanns Favourite songs: What I’m Feeling, Callie DREAMER ISIOMA Eclectic mind-reading tasty tunes, will put you into your feels but also get you to stand up and yell. Sounds like: Amber Mark, HER Favourite songs: Sensitive (yes that other TikTok song), Hard Music is one of those things that no matter who, where, or what you are–it hits your soul. Whether that means to instil joy, pleasure, and delight; music plucks our heart strings to make us FEEL something. These words are synonymous with pride: the very sense of the word to have “deep pleasure or satisfaction.” So, here are some of my favourite artists supporting Pride and Queer recognition.
Words: Emily Coles (she/her)
To start this off, I am a uni student. I am a straight, 20-year-old woman, an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, and an avid supporter of equality. Around me I have friends, family, and work colleagues who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, so it’s easy to say I have learnt a lot and my education continues to grow. Primary school; we never learnt about any of that. It wasn’t even approached. Apart from me having two male hairdressers who were in love: I got told that “they love each other very dearly like mummy and daddy do” and I thought nothing of it. They were just two guys who loved each other. Then we got to Year 5. My teacher was gay. He was the most amazing teacher ever: he rode a motorbike, was enthusiastic when teaching, and the most understanding of teachers. But he had only taught younger kids until that year… my year. I remember one day my teacher left the classroom in tears because of some of the people in my class. They had been teasing him for being gay. Year 5 boys, being hurtful and mean to their teacher just for being gay. It was frightening to see, and heart breaking. I couldn’t help but feel awful and disgusted that these were kids that I knew, and was in class with. He said at the end of the year, “I’m never teaching anyone other than kindergarteners after this year.” Our class ruined older primary school students for him… High school was an interesting experience. Finishing high school before the panorama (pandemic) was different to now! But we went to school, we learnt PE, and finished school. Do you know something that I don’t remember? Learning about different sexualities, different ways people identify, what LGBTQIA+ means. We learnt nothing of the sort. It was simple: there are males and females, and their genitalia. People can be gay sometimes. This is how you have safe sex.
Now, that was good and all. Except for when we were forced to turn to the internet alone to find out what we needed about sexuality, gender, and diverse experiences. Not our school teachers – the ones that were bringing us up into the world and preparing us for life – yeah no, there was nothing of the sort. It was even worse when there was a polyamorous couple in our year who were bullied tremendously because they were different. No one had ever seen that sort of relationship represented in school before. People were highly confused and very set on their views, which were often nasty and Thatdegrading.wasa few years ago. So I’m out of high school now, a big uni girl, and I’ve learnt so much about everything! Pronouns,
Words: Ivy-Rose Laidler (she/her)
being more respectful, how to ask questions about certain topics, and, no matter what, do not judge. I was never judgemental, but I was previously in a friend group of very judgemental people. Moving outside of them, and doing my own research, made me open my eyes to being kind and respectful. But it seems like the school system has stayed the same. My boyfriend has a little sister who I’ve known for half her life now! I’ve watched her grow and develop into a lovely young woman who knows who she is and what she stands for. About six months to a year ago she came out as bisexual to her family, and they took it amazingly. She goes to the same school that I went to and has “beef” with the PE department. Most afternoons she gets back from school and tells us about her day, usually an update on the PE fiasco. It started when they were given the task to record their BMI, weigh themselves for three days, and record their caloric intake to see if they were ‘getting bigger or smaller’! Year 9’s, this was given to. Then, the teacher told her that girls ‘need to be skinny’. That was just the start of the downfall. It continued. Her class was given information about the LGBTQIA+ community in the form of statistics, which outlined that if you’re anything but straight you’re more likely to be reckless, a drug addict, and mentally unstable?! Without context, this implied that “if you’re anything but straight, you’re doomed,” Learningbasically.about this was heart-breaking. The school tried to bring in LGBTQIA+ community education and went in the total wrong direction – to the point that my boyfriend’s sister has been speaking to the PE department and principal about the misinformation and misguidance in the education she is receiving. I hope that her, her generation, as well as the generations before and after her, actually help out and make the schools change their education practices and teach students about LGBTQIA+ Iidentities.wouldlike to leave on a nice note by stating that my Year 5 teacher married the love of his life and became the first Australian gay couple to marry. Pride!
Words: Tegan Stettaford (she/her)
outcomes and subsequent outcry that has flourished since the Roe v. Wade debacle, I feel there is no better time to celebrate all women; and with respect to PRIDE, the wonderful women who love women: TikTok edition.
TikTok does Pride
ANOUN/prvId/Pridefeeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
One of the most popular and ever-growing social media platforms at present is TikTok. The nostalgia it encapsulates from the times of Vine and the prospect of overnight fame means most of us have lost countless hours scrolling, if not also in the creation of, TikTok media. The algorithms behind what content shows up on the For You Page is well beyond me, but the content I seem to frequently receive encompasses cute animals, Taylor Swift content, and beautiful
@hayleykiyoko Hayley is not a stranger to the spotlight. Outside of her ever-popular TikTok, Hayley is known for her music (‘for the girls’ says it all) and various acting roles, including characters in The Vampire Diaries and Wizards of Waverly Place. Hayley is openly lesbian, with her TikTok providing a beautiful insight into her life with her partner and her advocacy for the community.
@itsjojosiwa Jojo was an icon well before her TikTok days and public acknowledgement of her sexuality. For the die hard, OG fans of Dance Moms, Jojo will always be the little rocket of energy with the loud outfits and bow in her hair. However, Jojo has really made a name for herself since leaving the Abby Lee Dance Company; her accolades include a very successful YouTube channel, Dancing with the Stars extraordinaire, musician, popular merchandise creator (including the classic hair bows), author, and of course, TikTok superstar. TikTok was the primary platform Jojo utilised to publicly express her sexuality, and the response was immensely positive. Her TikTok now boasts wholesome videos with her girlfriend and fantastically prideful outfits in the way only Jojo could.
Most Australian Tiktok users have probably seen Peach on their timeline at one point. She has the most iconic style; she really makes it clear that a colour can be a personality trait. As an Australian influencer and musician, Peach has quite the fan base. Her music, take for example ‘Blondes’, publicises her identification with the LGBTQIA+ community. In January this year, she publicly came out as lesbian on her Instagram page, and we have since had the pleasure of this content coming onto her TikTok account.
I absolutely fell in love with Laura and her account due to her dog Poppy – the woo girl. Unfortunately, Poppy is no longer in the picture due to a breakup between Laura and her boyfriend at the time. Shortly after this personal ordeal and the relinquishment of ownership of Poppy, she came out as lesbian to her ever-growing Tiktok community. She is honestly just a ray of sunshine and, even without Poppy in the picture now, seeing her grow and be comfortable with who she is (alongside her cat Indigo) has been a wonderful experience from the outside looking in.
I simply cannot get over Dove’s evolution. I remember watching her as the young blonde in Liv and Maddie on Disney Channel playing two very different twins. She seemed to start coming out of her shell in later Disney roles including Descendants and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, I watch her as a bold brunette, so confident in herself and her career. Her prowess in the music industry is blowing up exponentially with her song ‘Boyfriend’ really highlighting her personal comfort with her sexuality being in the public domain and also becoming a trending sound on TikTok.
Access To IssueAnHealthcareProperIsEveryone
Words: Frey Cooper (They/Them) Safe to assume that most of us have heard about the recent tragedy which happened in the US. Roe v Wade was a landmark decision in 1973 by the U.S Supreme Court which stated that the Constitution of the United States conferred the right to have an abortion. This year, almost fifty years later, Roe v Wade was overturned as a result of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, which ruled that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. From this, the power to define abortion rights or restrictions has been returned to the individual states. For many, especially those living in conservative red states, this means a major part of their bodily autonomy has been ripped from them. Seeking out an abortion in some states within the US can even be seen as a felony, which could impact both the person receiving the abortion as well as the person performing the abortion (and, if charged, would mean those people cannot vote). Being forced to be, and remain, pregnant strips someone of their bodily autonomy and rights as a human being. Of course, you may be wondering why I’m discussing an American issue at an Australian university. There are fears that the current climate in the USA may impact Australia’s own laws and policies regarding access to abortions. Firstly, Australia’s policies surrounding abortions are not perfect. Each state and territory has different rules regarding the cut off time for accessing an abortion, and the requirements involved, as we do not have a constitutional right to abortion in the same way that Roe v Wade provided for those in the US. For example, in Western Australia abortion is still regulated by the Criminal Code, and only last year did South Australia move it from criminal law into healthcare legislation. Now, there’s a risk that current conversations and debates within Australia regarding Roe v Wade could create a stigma within our country around access to abortion. If such a massive step backwards could occur in a country that we have such close ties with, there is a very realistic concern that it could happen here as well. This is why we must remain vigilant, attend protests, and continue to have these conversations about why we need safe pathways for everyone wanting an abortion to access one. This entire situation has been interpreted as powerful, yet uneducated, men asserting control
Please read that sentence again. So many protests within America and Australia have remained aware of this, making sure to use inclusive language and ensure they are a safe and welcoming group for all impacted. Unfortunately, there are just as many groups, organisations and rallies which are very women-centric, catering and advocating mainly towards white, able-bodied, cis women. This isolates and excludes a large number of the population who do not fit into that box, but are still impacted by these changes. I highly recommend staying in the loop about this, and encouraging others to do the same. Seek out advocates who do not fit into the box I described above, and listen to what they have to say. Also, as a side note: do remember to take breaks, as doom scrolling is not healthy. Sure, it’s good to be aware of what’s going on, but therapy is expensive.
So, by all means, protest for the right to have an abortion and access contraception, but make sure to not leave anyone behind.
17 over the bodies of women. In part, this is true. But we must be aware during our fight that access to abortion impacts so many more demographics than only women. Not all women can get pregnant and not all who can get pregnant are women.
Trans people are not the only ones feeling as though their rights are being neglected during these fights, and so we must be aware to not alienate so many who are suffering all the same. Instead, aim to use inclusive language, consider the path your march is taking, make your social media posts accessible, and be kind to others–you never know what someone else is going through.
This middle grade book, peppered with black and white illustrations, follows the journey of Zed, the nonbinary protagonist, who goes on a road trip with soon-to-be friend Gabe and his older sister to discover a lost manuscript about four monsters. Playing out as a scavenger hunt, they follow clues from the fragments of the book left behind, and an online group. Meeting a range of people along the way, they navigate heat, car breakdowns, being misgendered, finding a queer community, and getting to know one another. Ultimately, the lost story serves as a metaphor for Zed and Gabe. The monsters in the story not only present as queer but as remaining positive and proud of who they are, because “the monsters in the book refuse to change when the humans want them to be un-weird.”
There was so much to love about this book that celebrates queerness and difference, in all its guises.
Words: Candice Lemon-Scott (she/her)
Hello! I am a cisgender woman and proud mother to two queer kiddos; my eldest being nonbinary. I am also an award-winning and internationally published author of 15 books for young readers, and a doctoral candidate at UoN. My creative project is a middle grade fantasy novel featuring a nonbinary protagonist. As such, I have been doing lots of reading. It’s exciting to see so many great books coming out featuring nonbinary characters when they were nearly impossible to find just a few years ago. I am happy to share a handful of my favourite fiction novels here!
Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino Alex Gino is one of the best-known writers of queer middle grade fiction in the US and this book doesn’t disappoint. It’s a touching story of nonbinary and “fat and fabulous” kid Sam and their best friend TJ, also nonbinary, as well as other queer best friends Val and Jess. Sam and TJ embark on a school and community history project to create a statue of a historical figure through whom they may see themselves. They discover local historical figure Alice Austen, a famous photographer and queer woman who had a life-long female partner. From this discovery, the kids embark on a journey to increase the visibility of queer people in history. Though at times ‘instructional’, the book gives kids positive language and knowledge on queerness with an uplifting message of finding your community, being comfortable with who you are, and celebrating gender diversity. A joyous read for children of all gender identities and backgrounds.
The Fabulous Zed Watson by Kevin Sylvester and Basil Sylvester
Five Fantastic Novels Featuring CharactersNonbinaryforTweens
For more of Candice’s recmmendations, head to our website at unsa.org.au/opus, or scan the QR code!
Ana on the Edge by A.J Sass Though fictionalised, this story of figure skater Ana is aligned with the author’s own experience as a nonbinary skater competing in the gendered world of the sport. Ana begins to question her gender identity when she’s uncomfortable having to perform a feminine routine. She also enjoys being mistaken for a boy by trans skating student Hayden. From here, the novel explores Ana’s gender dysphoria and gradual understanding of herself as being nonbinary, through the immediacy of a first-person present tense narrative. Ana works through the discovery of her gender identity, coming out, friendships, family and acceptance in a very real way around the pressures of competitive sport. The story ends with Ana still exploring some aspects of her gender identity, such as name and pronouns, but finding a place to begin to be comfortable with understanding her identity. This demonstrates nicely that not everything has to be ‘figured’ out straight away on the journey of self-discovery.
This is a dual narrative story, alternating point of view between Daniel and Ash. Daniel’s a sensitive kid who often breaks down in tears. Ash is genderfluid and is supposed to ‘be out’ at a new school. The only problem is, Ash doesn’t come out and everyone thinks she’s a girl. But when she starts to feel like a boy, it gets more and more difficult to present as female and admit she’s genderfluid. When Ash’s crush on Daniel turns to romance, telling the truth proves even more difficult for Ash. Things are further complicated when Daniel secretly protects a dog that was supposed to be euthanized and goes to Ash for help. Occasionally I found it hard to differentiate the two voices, especially through a first-person narrative where the characters have similar family situations. All in all though, it’s a touching read about truth, self-acceptance love, family, friendship - and dogs - that explores the complexity of coming out as genderfluid and questions binaries including and beyond gender.
Stars in Their Eyes by Jessica Walton and Aśka (Recommended for 14+) Despite being for a young adult audience, the graphic novel Stars in Their Eyes is finding its way onto upper primary school bookshelves. Maisie travels to a fan convention with her mum, excited to meet her hero, the movie star Kara Bufano, who is an amputee like her. Maisie’s dreams are shattered when her idol is unable to appear due to illness. The event takes an unexpected but welcome turn when Maisie meets Ollie, a nonbinary volunteer at the con. Immediately the two bond over a shared interest in fandom, books, movies, music and connecting with the queer community. They begin to write their own fan fiction and, as the story develops, so does their romantic attraction, which includes the first kiss moment. It’s a sweet queer first romance with gorgeous graphics that support the story. It also touches on the joy of supportive family, queer community, seeing yourself represented in media, and of course, the power of fandom.
Both Can Be True by Jules Machias
The Stonewall Riots June 29th 1969
The first Pride March was held commemoratively on June 28th 1970, one year after the first Stonewall uprising in NYC. The community marched to demonstrate against centuries of abuse, including government hostility, employment and housing discrimination, Mafia control of gay bars, and anti-homosexual laws. The first Pride March was proposed by lesbian activist Ellen Broidy (NYU Student Homophile League) & Craig Rodwell (Homophile Youth Movement).
Words: Holly Nicholas (she/her) Part 1: The Stonewall Uprisings and the First Pride March (1969 – 1970)
A brief history of Pride
The history of Pride is one that is fast becoming extremely influential in the development of new societal laws, customs, and traditions. To understand Pride, it’s important to understand where it all began… with the Stonewall uprising of 1969, which encompassed a series of events between police & LGBTQ+ protesters spanning over six days. A police raid of the Stonewall Inn (a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, NYC) catalysed the outburst of activism from the LGBTQ+ community. Media coverage at the time, and subsequent pride traditions, cement the Stonewall uprisings in Pride history. It's crucial to understand that the ‘Stonewall uprising’ is often referred to as a ‘riot’. This terminology was used by police to justify brutality towards the marginalised LGBTQ+ community. As was common for gay bars in the 60s, the Stonewall Inn was operated by the New York Mafia, who cared solely about turning a profit as opposed to the wellbeing of their clientele while also having the means to pay-off the relevant people to continue illegal operation. Staff adjusted to subsequent and commonplace raids, and were often tipped off that one would occur ahead of time. Raids occurred monthly and early in the evening on average until June 28th 1969, when the mould was broken. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn that night decided that enough was finally enough.
There have been many important support beams laid by brave men and women, which will not be forgotten and will forever be celebrated, and because of these heroic figures there is hope for reconciliation in the future.
The harmful and oppressive anti-LGBTQIA+ laws in Australia began even before Australia’s invasion, with ‘The Buggery Act 1533’, which was Britain’s first civil sodomy law. The law outlawed both sodomy and bestiality (effectively equating male homosexuality with bestiality) and both acts were punishable by death until 1861.
Australia and the rest of the world still have a lot of bricks to lay to bridge the gap between the respect, safety, and opportunities the straight community receive, as opposed to the LGBTQ+ community.
Dennis Scott and Eddie Hackenberg in gay rights march Geoff Friend, courtesy Geoff Friend and Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives
• The Daughters of Biltis (1969)
In October 1973, Liberal PM John Gorton put forward a motion that, “in the opinion of this House, homosexual acts between consenting males in private should not be subject to the criminal law.” But this did not have any practical effect as homosexuality was under state jurisdiction. Tasmania held firmly to the criminalisation of homosexuality, eventually leading to the Toonen v Australia case before the UN Human Rights Committee. The case ruled that sodomy laws were in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Tasmania refused to repeal sodomy laws until the Keating government passed the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994 which stated that: “Sexual conduct involving only consenting adults acting in private is not to be subject, by or under a law of the commonwealth, a state or territory, to any arbitrary interference with privacy within the meaning of article 17 of the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
In 2014, the passing of the Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Bill signalled the end of the ‘gay panic’ defence laws in NSW.
Part 2: Pride in Australia
• The Homosexual Law Reform Society in Canberra (1968) • Campaign against Male Persecution (1968)
Prominent LGBTQ+ rights activist, Rodney Croome appealed to the high court challenging Tasmania’s continued criminalisation of homosexuality despite federal law in 1997. Australia also recognised the ‘gay panic defence’ as a viable application of the provocation doctrine, which allowed for the violent crimes of perpetrators to be excused. This defence remained legitimate until the early 2000s, when pushes for law reform resulted in it being overruled by parliaments.
Gradually, Australian states eliminated the death penalty and replaced the punishment with life imprisonment. Victoria was the last state to remove the death penalty, eventually replacing it with twenty years imprisonment. In the late 1960s, organisations and community groups began to spark debate calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality altogether. Australia’s first LGBTQIA+ lobby groups include:
Words: Frey Cooper (They/Them)
Going To BathroomThe
Last semester, I had an assignment which required me to write a research report. My research project set out to explore the impact that gender-neutral bathrooms have had on the transgender and gender diverse student population at UoN. It investigated whether these bathrooms have had an impact and, if so, whether it is a positive or negative impact. In 2018, as part of Pride Week, UoN officially opened its gender-neutral toilets. This was due to wonderful people fighting for this right, including the Queer Collective. For those of you who may not have noticed our gender-neutral toilets, I’ll describe them to you. Around our UoN campuses, there is a select number of disabled toilets which also have a ‘gender-neutral toilet’ sign on them. So, when UoN unveiled the gender-neutral toilets in 2018, they didn’t build new toilets for us, they placed a sign on already established toilets. At the time, those who were consulted agreed this was sufficient and accepted the proposal. Times have changed. Also, as a side note, there is technically a difference between ‘bathroom’ (meaning a room that has toilets in it, but also sinks, and maybe urinals) and ‘toilet’ (meaning a room which has a toilet in it, much like the disabled/gender-neutral toilets at UoN). If you read the existing literature regarding the existence of gender-neutral toilets/bathrooms, like I did, you’ll notice that most of the articles argue for gender-neutral bathrooms, believing that they would positively impact those who would use them. Public bathrooms are seen as social spaces where gender roles and stereotypes are enforced and acted out. So, a trans woman, for example, who is made to use the male bathrooms is at the same time forced to ‘act like a man’ in order to ‘fit in’ to this social space, out of fear of what might happen if she doesn’t. Through this, and what that Foucault guy said, we can argue that segregated bathrooms are technologies of disciplinary power which uphold the gender binary by forcing people to choose between two gendered bathrooms. The people who use these bathrooms then police each other and confront those who ‘don’t belong’.
Trans people live in fear of being confronted, approached, or worse, when using the bathroom simply due to how they might look. So, the research argues that gender-neutral bathrooms would give trans and gender diverse people a safe place to do their business without this fear. I was able to interview four people about their own experiences with gender-neutral toilets at UoN. Of course, my data pool was limited. I wasn’t able to interview any trans femme people or trans women, whose experiences would have been vastly different to those I was able to interview. All my interviewees were in their twenties, and all of their experiences would have been impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions that reduced the amount of time that they were present oncampus, and thus time using the gender-neutral toilets. Everyone I interviewed was also ablebodied, and this impacted their experience as well, as you will see. This is where my data comes from. Overall, my research suggests that access to gender-neutral bathrooms is a neutral, bordering on negative, experience.
"Trans people live in fear of being confronted, approached, or worse, when using the bathroom simply due to how they might look"
When I asked my participants about what improvements they’d like to see, they all talked about having more genderneutral options, separating gender-neutral toilets and ‘disabled’ toilets, and constructing gender-neutral bathrooms, not toilets. Having more options, and options that are actually spaces built especially for trans and gender diverse people, would positively impact the lives and experiences of UoN’s trans and gender diverse staff and students. We would love to see this change happen, and for consultations to begin again for this to come
A couple of my participants also expressed concern over, what if, when exiting the genderneutral/’disabled’ toilet, someone asked them why they were using it, as they appeared able-bodied? This would be humiliating for my participants, as they would be faced with either needing to ignore this person, or ‘out’ themselves to justify their actions. As a result of the current layout, my participants explained that they would often just not go to the bathroom and, instead, would hold it until they got home. This, of course, is not good for your health and can result in both incontinence issues and contracting UTIs. My participants also talked about how they would need to leave campus as soon as their classes ended to do so, which meant they had to miss out on the social side of uni and the educational resources the university provides.
gendered bathrooms, they should use those and not occupy the ‘disabled’ toilet as someone who could not use the other bathrooms may come along and not be able to go.
Everyone I interviewed had the same major opinions. Firstly, the current situation is not good enough. My participants expressed fear and anxiety over having to ‘take up space’, as the gender-neutral toilets are also the ‘disabled’ toilets. They were worried about, what if someone who needed the toilet ‘more’ came along and couldn’t use it because an able-bodied trans person was already using it? There are not many ‘disabled’ toilets at the uni, often just one on every floor of a building.
Ourabout.Queer Collective has recently received stickers and posters from the National Union of Students. It is part of the We All Need To Pee campaign, which promotes accessible gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. If you’re able to, feel free to come into the Queer Space in the UNSA Building and take some posters and stickers to support the campaign and spread awareness. If you cannot come into the Queer Space (as it is a Safe Space for LGBTQIA+ or questioning people), feel free to shoot me, or the UNSA office, an email and I can get some to you.
The University of Newcastle prides themselves on being, in their words, “a leader in equity and diversity” internationally. Loud about their Progress to Equity Plan, engagement with student collectives such as UNSA’s Queer Collective, and their outward push to appear socially and politically progressive when it comes to diversity; the university nevertheless falls short when it comes to enacted
the university introduced a Gender and Sexuality Studies minor available to those studying a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Arts (combined). For those in need of a refresher: a minor requires the completion of 40 units of study, usually equated as four courses. In the case of Gender and Sexuality Studies, students are able to choose their 40 units from a list of directed courses. Or, that’s the idea. While the introduction of the course had the potential to demonstrate integrated educational change by the university’s hand, the reality is quite Thedifferent.Gender and Sexuality studies minor is lacking at best. The limited selection of courses under the Gender and Sexuality Studies umbrella (made even smaller by those courses that are “not currently offered”), the lack of direction for ‘directed’ study, and the limited interdisciplinary scope of the minor, all point more towards performativity than effective institutional change. At the time of writing, only four of the eleven courses listed under the Gender and Sexuality Studies minor are offered. For those keeping score, that means any want for a tailored and specialised look into gender studies and gender research is squashed. While I commend the university, on the one hand, for their attempt to create academic recognition of gender research, a half-baked offering is just not good enough. Gender studies has huge interdisciplinary reach. Many humanities subjects already have a gender studies component sketched into their structure, and this time spent on the intersectional nature of gendered social critique is incredibly valuable. Compared to the wider reach of these humanities courses, the limited offering under the Gender and Sexuality Studies minor feels misguided at best and performative at worst. One student laments, “if they don’t have the content, they shouldn’t offer the course.” Asking students to carve their own path through a Bachelor of Arts may be well-intentioned. When at the expense of valuable and increasingly relevant information on gender and sexuality, however, this lack of direction tells students that their attention is better directed elsewhere. The university should hold itself to a higher standard than simply adopting ‘rainbow capitalism’ tactics—using buzz words and deftlytimed rainbow flags to ‘sell us’ their inclusivity (and our Whenenrolment).Itransferred into the post-2018 stream of the Bachelor of Arts back in 2019, I faced the same disappointment that many students are facing now with the offerings under the Gender and Sexuality Studies minor. While the creation of the minor has incredible potential, a four-year stagnation doesn’t quite cut it. I hope that the university continues to work with LGBTQIA+ community advocates and professionals to ensure the accessibility of UoN’s courses, I also hope that we students continue to hold the University of Newcastle to account: to cater to the needs of our community with respect, intention, and progress on the mind.
Words: Stephanie Jenkins (she/her)
The Erasure of Gender Studies
Rainbow Capitalism and the University of Newcastle
Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 21 Put your left foot in. Take your left foot out. Put your left foot in— No, not in your mouth!
Capricorn Dec 22 – Jan 19 Not everything is a test—only some things. Can you tell the difference between them? Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18 The aliens won’t know where to collect you unless you adver tise your position Pisces Feb 19 – Mar 20 Fishy, wake up. I don’t like this. Fishy wake up. Hey, hey, hello?
Words: Stephanie Jenkins (she/her) Aries Mar 21 – Apr 19 Simmer down, boiling pot. Your hot-pot head is a stew of ideas, but don’t let them boil over. Taurus Apr 20 – May 20 Remember that energy vampires can only come in when invited. Gemini May 21 – Jun 20
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! I hope you brought your bear spray, little Gemini!
Leo Jul 23 – Aug 22 Did you catch the meteor showers last month? Try to bathe in the next one that comes along. Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 22 ‘My house, my rules,’ the Virgo says in the mirror. The tiny germs in their body quake with fear. Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 21 Your plate may be full, but you’ve never felt hungrier. Chow down.
Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 22 Unbeknown to yourself, you do have what it takes. To do what, you ask? Indistinct murmuring. Libra Sep 23 – Oct 22 If you’re ever feeling down, just remember all the little bacteria who live on your body and are rooting for you.
28 University of Newcastle Students Association Publication Pride Zine August 2022