Cover Artwork: Carly Oâ€™Sullivan Logo Design: Elise Adams (eliseadams.com.au) Editors-in-Chief: Kat Reed & Levi Barker Creative Director: Tessa Pascoe Marketing Director: Tayla Blewitt-Gray Managing Editor: Natasha Wykes Social Politics: Priyanka Tomar & Al Azmi Narrative: Florin Risley Giles Arts & Entertainment: Jacqui Sutherland Sex & Health: Christian Holman Adapted images, protected under Creative Commons BY 2.0: Plum Blossom Bloom, sung ming whang Flower, Byron World Bud, lostinfog Flower, John M. Quick Violet, John Flannery Carnation, Jim, the Photographer shOUT Magazine acknowledges the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which our organisation is located and where we conduct our business. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past and present. shOUT Magazine is committed to honouring Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesâ€™ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society. shOUT Magazine would like to thank all those who have contributed. For further information about submitting, please visit shoutmagazine.com.au
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CW: family ▪ coming out ▪ colonialism
u o l Co t u O If there was one thing I’ve done in life that I would take back at this point, it would be coming out to my parents. There was no screaming or fighting; a few ignorant questions were asked, but it’s barely come up since. My mum and I still discuss (jokingly, at least on my part) potential arranged husbands, and there’s no evidence of how telling my parents I was queer* strained our relationship in any way. But every now and again it creeps up and pokes its head out like a cat in the rain, clawing at the front door
am hri subr t a i t m e Su Venk
and ruining a peaceful evening cuddled in front of the heater with a thick book and (vegan) hot chocolate. My queerness* is complex, traumatic and beautiful. It’s shaped by everything that I am, and can’t be deconstructed into bite-sized chunks. If I hung out with a brown woman for hours on end, day after day, my parents assumed that we were the best of friends. But if that woman were white, it would raise my parents’ suspicions about whether they were corrupting me, imposing their
lesbian agenda on me. The fault of my queerness*, in their eyes, lies not with me, but with how I’ve been “Westernised”. It’s this misconception—that our cultures are somehow incompatible with identifying as something other than cisgender and heterosexual—that alienates people of colour from both our families and communities, as well as mainstream queer* movements and spaces. And so there’s a struggle, from two angles, that we face when trying to find
community. This is why representation matters. As a young baby queer* growing up, it felt even more isolating to not see others like me on TV. Whether in leadership, the media or activism, having queer* people of colour isn’t just good, it’s mandatory. We can speak for ourselves and we are more than capable of leading. After all, if the queer* movement isn’t for all queer* people, then who is it for? ♦
Teagan April This series of portraits was shot a day I went into uni to take photographs for an assessment. Once I had finished my work, my girlfriend started running in front of the camera and I quickly changed the lights so everything was gentle and I could photograph her. Because we were alone in the studio we felt comfortable and were able to be ourselves. These photographs are a reflection of those moments of intimacy, trust and spontaneity that fuel our relationship. Despite negative comments we might hear and bullies we might face, love is pure and innocent and ours.
CW: postal vote ▪ marriage equality ▪ mentions of queerphobia & mental illness
An Open Letter to Malcolm Turnbull Celeste Sandstrom Malcolm Turnbull, Why? When the leadership spill happened there was a glimpse of hope. Hope that the Australian Parliament would go down a better path no longer under Tony Abbott. Hope that the Australian Parliament would no longer endorse the vilification of Queer* Australians. You quickly revealed that this hope was unfounded. Why have you proved to be spineless and bowing to the right of the party in spite of your own views? Twice. Twice, the Liberal National Party has shown Queer* people in Australia that they do not care. Twice, they have endorsed a grandiose Facebook poll to determine if Queer* people in Australia are legitimate. Twice, they have endorsed homophobia, transphobia and queerphobia in the name of free speech. And twice, this gross error of judgement is entirely on you. $122 million. $122 million to fund a non-binding poll which is harmful, demoralising, vilifying and disgraceful. $122 million which could be put elsewhere in the country and if you actually cared about the Queer* community as you claim, could be used to combat the disadvantages Queer* people face in Australia. But $122 million is the apparent price of the Queer* community in Australia. $122 million is the price you are willing to pay to keep your job that I’d be quite happy to see you lose. I am a Queer* student and activist at the Australian National University. It is all too easy to see the effects of this debate reflected in the Queer* people I encounter daily. They are tired. Tired of your spineless inability to hold to your own views and settle this in parliament. Tired of the endorsement and encouragement of anti-Queer* groups around Australia to promote their hatred and bigotry.
This is not a letter about my own experience with homophobia and transphobia. This is about the effects of your spinelessness on every Queer* individual and the people who support them. The group this plebiscite affects the most is a group which does not even have a say in this overstated opinion poll. This affects the youth of Australia. By endorsing queerphobia, and do not deny that you are, you endanger young Australians. In the messages they will see across social media, in the conversations they will hear in their schools and homes, they will understand that they are somehow immoral. And they will internalise this queerphobia. Queer* youth are disproportionately affected by mental illness. Queer* youth are disproportionately affected by bullying in schools. Queer* youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness. These effects take years to undo, if they can be undone. By endorsing the vilification of Queer* Australia, you declare that you are spineless. You declare that your job is more important than thousands of Australians. That is a big, bold statement. And that is not what you are Prime Minister for. You were given the position to lead, not to turn your back on a group who needed you to just DO YOUR JOB! You claim you’ve supported Marriage Equality longer than Bill Shorten. You’re not doing a great job of showing it. On the contrary, every action you’ve taken this year on Marriage Equality has contradicted this claim. You have failed to listen to the Queer* community and their demands. The Queer* community told you, time and again, ‘No Plebiscite,’ but you haven’t listened to us. It is difficult to write a civil letter to a man who has enabled few civilities to be afforded to the Queer* community. You’ve set us up to fail and set our equality back years. You’ve set us up to face queerphobia in the coming months even more so than we usually do. You’ve set us up to face public campaigns of hate. It is not good enough.
Yours disappointedly, Celeste Sandstrom
CW: aphobia ▪ mental illness ▪ mentions of gender dysphoria, TERFs & cis/straight passing
A S E X U A L because that’s not what it means I exist! And so do the aphobes now? This article discusses asexual and aromantic spectrums. There are multiple sexualities and romantic attractions that fall under this umbrella. These include but are not limited to; demi-, grey-a, and many more!
When I came out as asexual back in 2013, I was 15, there was little to no awareness about asexuality. I do not think I even truly understood the extent and diversity of asexuality. 2013 was a time when people argued about whether asexuality was real or not on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). 2013 was a time when ace was a rarely used word, and the ‘asexual’ tag was filled with people arguing about whether the A stood for Ally or Asexuality.
Even the split attraction model was something rarely talked about in those days, and only seemed to be something that really applied to people on the ace spectrum. The split attraction model is based on sexuality and romantic attraction being two separate things. In the case of an ace person, they are not sexually attracted to anyone. Which is where our favourite joke comes from, ‘Sex? I would rather have cake’. Whilst initially asexuals not being interested in sex was good for visibility, it has been
very detrimental to some who fall under the ace spectrum. Whilst sometimes I am sex repulsed, at other times I am not, but this does not, in any way, undermine my asexuality. Being sex repulsed does not define asexuality, sexual attraction does. I am still no more sexually attracted to people than I was before. I do not walk into Union Court looking at people, saying to myself ‘mmm yess’. I might occasionally look at someone and think t h e hey y are aesthetically pleasing, though no more than that. I am more likely to be looking out for stray cats on campus and trying to take a picture for Catspotting before they disappear. In terms of romantic attraction, I identify as aromantic. However, I struggle deeply with the concept of romantic attraction, and I do not quite understand it. Do people fantasise about romance? I love my cat. I have loved previous partners. But that does not necessarily mean I am romantically attracted to everyone I love or have loved. In a lot of instances, I am romance repulsed. I dislike public displays of affection, especially when I am part of them. Nonetheless, being romance repulsed does not define aromantics, rather it is the lack of romantic attraction.
I remember when I first came to terms with my asexuality and aromanticism, I was both relieved and frustrated. I wanted to feel sexual attraction and romantic attraction like other people, but I was so glad when I found out that I was not alone. Over the years I have grown more comfortable with my sexuality, but I still hear the occasional remark from people. I am yet to have a relationship where my sexuality was not turned into a joke. I am not here for your entertainment. I am not here for you to make disparaging remarks about my sexuality. I am not a joke. My place on the spectrum has changed over the years, but that does not make me any less asexual. It does not make you any less asexual if you only identify as asexual for a short period in your life. Only you can define yourself. Another thing that has made its way out of the woodwork recently is ‘ace discourse’. In this article I will call it aphobia, because really there is no discourse. It is just words used to disguise an ugly phobia. Aphobes argue that ‘cishet aces’, by which they mean ‘cisgender heteroromantic asexuals’, ‘cisgender aromantic heterosexuals’ and ‘cisgender aromantic asexuals’, are not part of the queer community because they are ‘straight passing’. However,
when I came out as aro ace, my experience was one of being strongly ‘othered’. I was told my sexuality was not real, that I was not ‘a plant’, that I was celibate, that I was abstaining, that I would not be ace when I met the right person. My sexuality was not accepted as real, and whilst those at the time tolerated me, I truly think they believed that I would grow out of my asexuality. Whilst my asexuality has not caused me to experience the same amount of harassment or discrimination as other members of the queer community, it would be wrong to characterise that as straight privilege. Agender people are accepted as a part of the community, they are not seen as ‘cis passing’. You would not compare a white cis gay man to a trans woman of colour. They are both members of the queer community, though they both face varying levels of discrimination. A lot of things can play into discrimination and privilege. Where aphobia goes wrong is that it assumes that some ace people ‘pass’ as straight, and therefore experience no discrimination. To me, this sounds a lot like recycled biphobia, saying that they could ‘pass as straight’, or were just going through an ‘experimental phase’. It also is reminiscent of transmisogyny, where Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) say that trans women benefit from male privilege, when they really do not at all. It is time to stop saying people have privilege where they do not. Although I could repress my
identity and be ‘cis and straight passing’, this is just another form of oppression. Though ace people may not experience discrimination walking down the street, they could be facing discrimination from those who know they are ace. The constant casual aphobic remarks—‘are you broken?’, ‘you will find the right person soon’, ‘your sexuality does not exist’—wear you down. They make you question your existence, and they make you feel broken. Asexuality has long been a sexuality, however it is still medicalised. I recall a time when a psychiatrist drilled me with questions about my sex drive, to check whether I was ‘normal’. Gender dysphoria and other sexualities have been similarly categorised, but have since been taken off these lists. The fact is that being queer means being anything other than a cisgender heteroromantic heterosexual. So when someone tells me I only belong in the queer community because I am agender, I tell them to fuck off. Honestly I have probably experienced more difficulty identifying as ace in terms of social stigma, than I have being gender diverse. Of course I am constantly misgendered, and face social, medical, and institutional barriers. But I have never felt more lonely than when I came out as asexual in high school and had to defend my very existence. ♦
The First Time Janine Wan first time someone made me blush Gazes averted, eyes darting around, but I caught her glance and she smiled. In the depth of that blue, I wanted to drown, right then, never more like a child. first time I gave in to a crush No person had liked me like he did before, swept in; didn’t think to say no. His love I held on to, was surely the cure, yet she held my heart, so I had to let go. first love to give me a rush A friend at first, then enamoured, and grew, enchanting and so diamond clear. His eyes were so loving – then her eyes so, too – a love that filled me; no fear. first time I didn’t keep my identity hush Writing this poem, counting this beat heavy words filling each pause – poems aren’t messy, they’re precise and they’re neat: memories of me I once was.
Janine is one of those rare ‘straight-law students’ at the ANU, but she’s definitely not a straight law student. She has grown up primarily in America and Singapore but is now one of Canberra’s biggest fans. She loves reading, free food, human skeletal analysis, and Oxford commas. The biggest audience of Janine’s writing is currently on FanFiction, but she hopes and prays that you will never find her work on that site.
ANU Queer House 14 Liversidge St 27 June 2017 Teardrops on the windows Ducks on the roofs Lake sky grey She talks I listen Tea boils Rainbows dangle Overhead Spiders assemble Here three friends Share one blanket Communal warmth Thoughtâ€™s unnecessary Comrades Share bread share butter
â€“ A. C. Torrington
A. C. Torrington is studying a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies (Year in Asia). They can often be found curled up in the Queer House.
CW: colonialism ▪ racism ▪ mentions of body shaming, sexism, drugs & genocide
The 20 Things I Learned By The Age Of 20 S w a g a t a
L a k s h m i
G h o s a l
White privilege is everywhere. You will need to fight it for the rest of your life in order for your voice to be heard. If you need to shout, shout. If you need to talk over him in a tutorial, do it. When that white boy makes arguments supporting colonialism, you best let him know what you really feel. Don’t let him walk all over you like his ancestors did to yours. Don’t let him shout over your opinions. Don’t let him speak for you and your people.
2 Boys will come and go. Some will use you and abuse you, some will kiss you
and then claim that they aren’t ready for a relationship. Some might be open to a relationship, but you may not be. Don’t stress about them. Enjoy the aesthetics, kiss some, lose some of their numbers. Boys don’t understand the difference between a MAC Ruby Woo or Russian Red, so there’s no point dressing for him. Trust me, he’s not worth you losing time and valuable opportunities.
3 Some people may make fun of your love for Bollywood, and your inclination
to do some thumkes to the beats of Chaiyya Chaiyya. Drop these people from your life. You don’t need people who make fun of your passions. They will only drag you down. Embrace your love for its masala-pan, remember that Bollywood may be kitsch personified but it carries the hopes and dreams of millions. Watch some Satyajit Ray, show your white friends how Martin Scorsese and other directors have actually taken his films and made them available to a white, Western audience.
4 People will make fun of you because of your race. They will use it in arguments
against you. They will stereotype you, but it’s important for you to remember that you are not that stereotype. You are not an angry, fiery brown woman. When your brother comes crying to you because someone has said his skin is dirty, tell him that it’s not. Tell him it looks like mocha. Tell him his skin is beautiful and rich and full of history. Make sure that your brother is afforded a childhood. Don’t stay silent.
5 Your family is the most important thing in your life (other than your best friend).
They will love and support you, no matter what. They will be there for you every step of the way. I know that you will fight them and sometimes you won’t want to talk to them, but you will get over it. When you finally leave, you’ll miss their protection. You’ll miss their warmth. You’ll miss their love. You’ll miss your mother’s wit, your father’s legendary biryani and your brother’s cuteness. But that’s ok, you still need to move away and grab at opportunities that are presented to you. Grab at independence.
6 Being fat doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful. Being dark-skinned doesn’t mean
you aren’t beautiful. Remember that beauty is a social construct, and it is something that shouldn’t bind you and your self-esteem. There are hundreds of women out there who are a bit fat, have dark-skin and hairy legs. That doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful. A man’s acceptance doesn’t validate your beauty, your soul does. You are beautiful no matter what anyone says. So throw away that bottle of Fair & Lovely your aunty gave you and go back to watching cartoons with your nieces and nephews.
7 It’s ok to be unsure or uncomfortable about your sexuality. Some people figure out their gender identity and sexuality earlier on and some figure it out when they’re 70. You don’t owe the world any information about your identity. You only owe yourself that information so you can feel more comfortable in your own skin, your own surroundings and environment. The world will still accept you. Come out of the closet (if need be) when you are comfortable with it.
8 Don’t stop believing in equality. Don’t stop believing that you deserve more than
this white-washed, patriarchal society is willing to offer you. You are more than your gender. You can be anything you want. When your little brother states that girls can’t play soccer or tennis or Pokémon, set him straight. Don’t leave it at the age old adage of ‘boys will be boys’. Let him know girls are capable and wilful and can put up a hell of a fight. Remould him—don’t let society indoctrinate him.
9 Take care of the people you love and never let them go. They will annoy you
constantly, and you will definitely fight with them, but when the time comes you need to fight for them. Remember four things: your mum birthed you and she will be able to comfort you in any situation; your dad will love you no matter how many times you fuck up and how many times you fight; your brother is annoying but there is no one better for hugs and love, you will miss him terribly when you leave for university; and lastly your best friend will always be there to share your frustrations so remember to treat her right and don’t throw away that friendship for a guy.
10 In year 11 you’ll realise that sometimes your girl crushes aren’t platonic,
sometimes you want to be with them. Don’t be scared, there’s nothing wrong with you. You are valid and you are loved. And when year 12 rolls around and you’re too stressed about being queer, and being a woman of colour and studying enough to achieve what your parents expect of you, lean on your bestie. She is there for you. Don’t keep her at arm’s length. She’ll love you and support you no matter what.
You will be tempted by alcohol and drugs when you are in university. Only experiment if you feel safe and comfortable. Don’t let someone pressure you into smoking a blunt if you don’t feel like it. Don’t let them pressure you into anything ever. You will drink so much sometimes that you’ll make out with people you don’t know and that’s ok. You’re allowed to make mistakes, just don’t let it become a regular habit. Take care of yourself and learn to be the life of the party without getting drunk.
12 Let those feelings out, don’t hide them and don’t suppress them. If you do,
you will blow up at some point and it won’t be pretty. You’re allowed to cry and you’re allowed to vent your feelings to people. You are not a burden. You can cry into your pillow when you need to. It’s not a sin to contact professionals for help, that’s what they are trained to do. Go on pills if you need to. Learn how to cry, for yourself.
13 Your best friend is your sister from another mister (and mother actually—you
aren’t related). She is the best damn thing to have happened to you, and she will always listen. Yes, you live over 3000 kilometres away from her, but be there for her. Guide her through heartbreak, like she has guided you for the last 6 years. She is the love of your life, and even though sometimes you may get frustrated by her flakiness, remember that at her core she is the best human being in this world.
Sometimes you’ll face racism from within communities that you thought were safe. Don’t get disheartened. There may be elements of racism in the queer or feminist community but you are allowed to be there. Don’t be frightened. Turn to your friends for support and solidarity. You’re allowed to feel weak, but make yourself strong by showing them that it is your space too. Take up as much space as you need.
You are the child of a refugee. Listen to her when she talks about her life. Listen to her when she relates the obstacles she faced to become a successful business woman. Your mother might struggle with English but that doesn’t make her any less of a human. She deserves dignity and respect. Realise that she speaks 6 languages and if anyone dares to mock her remind them that they are fools who don’t realize how goddamn intelligent your mother is.
16 Talk to your elderly grandparents. They love you. They
want to hear your voice. When your grandfather tells you in a shaky voice about his experiences during Partition don’t be shocked to see him cry. Let him cry. He has kept this inside for nearly 70 years so let the man speak. Let him tell you about running through checkpoints. Let him tell you about seeing his mother slowly starve herself to death so the rest of the family could survive. Let him tell you how most of his remaining family in Bangladesh was massacred during the 1971 genocide. Remember that you are a survivor.
you allo to
17 If another well-meaning white woman asks you if you’re the first woman in
your family to go to university don’t freeze. Tell her that your mother has a Master’s in economics and is a qualified chef. Tell her that both of your grandmothers got married young, had children and completed their Masters and doctorates. Tell her that your great grandmothers all had university level education. You are not an outlier. You are the product of centuries of female rebellion in the face of extreme difficulty. Don’t erase that.
18 Remember that even though your brother is literally from a different
generation, and you don’t look anything alike, you are family and you will share a bond with this strange little kid (cause that’s all he ever will be to you) for the rest of your life. He might call you an old hag. He might even take over your cute bedroom once you leave home, but resist the urge to murder him, because you’ve practically raised him. Remember that you saw him when he was in the nursery just 5 minutes after he was born. He is the constant in your life. And he loves you too.
19 Go and explore the world. Eat different kinds of food.
are owed be
Meet new people. Broaden your perspective on life. In London you’ll see centuries worth of valuable items the British have looted from your people, and in the tower of London your family will very loudly make plans on how to steal the Kohinoor back, in English. In Paris you’ll see the famed Versailles and realise that yeah sure, it’s beautiful, but nothing can beat the palaces of Rajasthan and Mughal empire. In Italy you’ll eat the best damned pasta you have ever had, but you’ll crave the phuchkas of Kolkata. You’ll ache to visit the motherland. Go whenever you can.
20 You are allowed, in the seminal words of Tom and Donna, to treat yo self.
Here are some things that make you feel good when you’re feeling down: decorating your bullet journal, cleaning your room, window retail therapy (you go online, look at beautiful clothes and figure out how to get it made India for way cheaper), eating chocolate, drinking your $4.95 bottle of pink Moscato, cooking your traditional foods, watching Koffee with Karan, watching any romantic Bollywood movie (big plus if it’s anything by KJo, Suraj Barjatya or if it’s Jodhaa Akbar - because shirtless Hrithik Roshan makes you feel things), talking to your best friend over the phone for 4 hours even though both of you need to wake up early the next morning. And when you’re hanging out with your friends on the balcony watching a gorgeous Canberra sunset you’ll think, ‘Maybe I’ll be alright’.
Films to Wa A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica) A Chilean trans woman named Marina working as a singer in a nightclub is embroiled in an investigation into the death of her serious boyfriend, Orlando. The police are suspicious, and believe her to be involved in the death, particularly because her boyfriend is much older than her. Winner: Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay at the Berlin International Film Festival.
120 BPM (120 Battements par minute) This film depicts the story of the Parisian chapter of ACT UP during the AIDS crisis in the early 1990s, based on the life of Director and Co-Author of the screenplay, Robin Campillo. Winner: Grand Prix, Queer Palm, FIPRESCI Prize, and François Chalais Prize at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival, as well as the Sebastiane Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
They The story of a 14 year old named J who uses “they/them” pronouns and has been on puberty blockers for 2 years. J is struggling to find an identity that describes their fluidity, and is asked to make a decision about whether or not to transition medically, and in what ways, but find it difficult to adapt their fluid identity to the static idea of transitioning in medicine. Directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, ‘They’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festical in 2017.
atch Out For In Between (Bar Bahar) This film follows the story of three Israeli-Palestinian women living as roommates in tel Aviv. It is a coming of age story about women living away from their families for the first time, and struggling to find a balance between their religious and family values, and the choices their identities. Premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and was awarded the NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere.
Princess Cyd Sixteen year old athlete Cyd travels to Chicago to stay with her novelist aunt for the summer. There she falls for a local girl who offers to show her around the neighbourhood. Winner: Sidewalk Film Festival Audience Award for a Narrative Feature.
Thelma When a Norwegian student named Thelma moves away for University in Oslo, she begins to fall in love with another woman. Raised in a strict religious household, she finds these feelings troubling, but she is unable to control them. These feelings also begin to trigger in her inexplicable powers that effect the world around her. Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was nominated as the Norwegian entry or Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Academy Awards.
SHUT UP AND LISTEN A Statement by the People of Colour Caucus at Queer Collaborations This statement addressed Queer Collaborations 2017, held at the University of Wollongong, as a protest against racism. Specifically, it raises the voices and the anger queer* people of colour have against the racism they face in queer* communities. Unfortunately, Queer* Collaborations is not the only queer* community that benefits from an ingrained racism and oppresses POC members of a queer* experience, and as such this statement is being released to as many publications as possible to finally get our voices heard. It is important to note that this statement was created by a group of gender diverse individuals, particularly lead by a queer* woman of colour, genderfluid and non-binary individuals.
Hi to everyone here, we’re the people of colour caucus and we’re tired, of being marginalised, being ignored and being spoken over at the same time. This is something that happens year-in, year-out at QC, but not just that; it happens everywhere. As we write this, we’re laughing, we’re joking, we’ve found humour
in the midst of being suffocated by whiteness. But sorry, you’re not invited. It’s autonomous! First off, we’d like to remind you that we don’t owe you an apology, an explanation, or our cooperation. By standing here today and saying this, we’re doing you a favour. We’re giving you the chance to be better allies. You’re welcome.
Whiteness is everywhere, and it’s overwhelming. But when you yourselves are white, you can’t see it and what it does. White people benefit from this privilege in every aspect of your lives, and that includes your queerness*. Just because you have faced oppression as a queer* person, it doesn’t mean that you no longer benefit from your whiteness. There is a history of white supremacy everywhere, in broader Western-dominated societies and in queer* culture. People of colour have been bogged down by this trauma for decades, for centuries. In addition to the struggles we face within our communities for being queer* and within white culture for being people of colour, to be sidelined because of our race within queer* spaces is fucking exhausting. Of course we’re angry. When marginalised people are angry, they protest, they shout, they demand change. The privileged don’t always like this, because to acknowledge that they have an edge over others by default, is to acknowledge that something needs to happen. And so, you call us aggressive, you say we’re not engaging in productive discourse. You ask us to be nicer. Calling people of colour—and black people in particular—aggressive when we’re expressing the frustration and anger we have IS a way of shutting us down. You want us to talk about our oppression on your terms. You don’t want to be confronted, because there’s the urge to maintain the status quo: whiteness. You want people of colour to be palatable, agreeable, inoffensive. You want us to assimilate.
To the white people in the audience nodding along to what we’ve been saying, to whatever we’ve been fighting for, we see you. We see your canned responses to our anger, the reposts on Facebook, the “yaaas queen”s (which, by the way, is cultural appropriation). And we don’t need your half-assed solidarity. What we need is—we’ve said this before, but apparently you didn’t listen, so we’ll say it again—for you to shut up and listen. That means acknowledging and confronting your whiteness in every single aspect of your lives, and recognising your privilege. It means knowing that if you’re out there on the streets fearing discrimination for being queer*, we’re fearing that and being told to go back where we came from. (Believe us, it still happens. Turns out racism isn’t over.) Oh, and remember, unless someone is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, they aren’t from here either. Challenging your privilege is confronting, and pretty damn uncomfortable. It’s scary to know that everything you took for granted your whole life so far could break down. I mean, can you imagine not being given jobs, or being terrified of just walking home at night, just because of your race? What a concept! These conversations aren’t easy to have, and discomfort is normal. Feeling this unsettlement can take a toll on your mental health, but we’re here to remind you that mental ill health is not an excuse to be an asshole. Your struggles are entirely valid, but there’s a difference between not having the energy or spoons to have a conversation on a given day,
and shutting down a conversation in its entirety because ‘it messes with your mental health’. White fragility masked as mental ill health is racist and unproductive. You are still benefitting from your whiteness, and you still have an obligation to learn and unlearn. On that note, has nobody considered that white supremacy may have fucked with our mental health too? I mean, you’d think that centuries of colonisation, oppression and abuse at the hands of white people would affect us in at least some way. And yet, we’re still here, we’re still queer* and we’re still fighting. You expect us to march for marriage equality while having “no fats, no femmes, no Asians” on your Grindr profiles. You want us to stand behind— never with—you, while using our cultures and vernaculars as a costume. You think we’re here to conform to your presentations, your expressions, your conceptions of queerness*—which are bland and unseasoned. No thank you. But here’s the problem: we aren’t here for you. The people of colour in your lives are some of the strongest people you will ever know. Every day, we wake up in the face of white supremacy and keep going. Queer* Collaborations does not exist without people of colour. This movement, as well as many others, is built on the backs of people of colour. And you still haven’t stepped off. We’re sorry that our existence and struggles inconvenience you. We’re sorry that you’re made uncomfortable by us calling you out. We’re sorry that
we’re going to continue to make you uncomfortable for as long as it fucking takes. We’re sorry that white privilege has done so little for you. We’re sorry for trying to break down a system that isn’t made for us. We’re sorry, we’re sorry, we’re sorry. Wait, actually, we’re not. We know that a lot of people here are going to, by the end of today, forget all about what we’ve said and continue taking your privilege for granted. And maybe you’ll say, ‘But you haven’t told us how to be better white people?’ If you really want us to spell it out for you: stop taking up our space. Start reading things people of colour write and let us speak for ourselves. Recognise that you will never understand our struggles, and know your place. Stand behind us and use your privilege to uplift our voices. Ask us what we want, and never assume that you know. Acknowledge that we never have to give you an answer, which you’re just going to have to deal with. And for once, don’t be racist, just be quiet. Thank you for listening, we wish you no good fortune in the upcoming new year. This message has been brought to you by our Asian sister Scarlett Johansson.
This statement was followed by an act of protest. All POC that were present and standing in solidarity turned their backs to the almost entirely white audience to proclaim:
â€˜And finally, youâ€™re behind us on this!â€™
CW: mentions of racism & homophobia
Reflections on Queer Collaborations Sumithri Venketasubramanian
First Impressions On the first day of the conference, it was apparent that this wasn’t everyone’s first time at QC. There were inside jokes and reunion hugs and some of us missed the memo about green hair, but the space was far from unwelcoming. In fact, there was lots of attention and importance given to disability, mental illness and other inclusions (such as queerness*, naturally). From the norm of not assuming people’s pronouns, to the use of AUSLAN applause to ensure the comfort of those with sensory issues, I learned about many things I had previously not questioned—a nod to my privilege. There was even a bathroom buddy programme where people volunteered themselves to accompany others to whichever bathroom that they wanted to use. But for all the awesome things the initial few hours of the conference
boasted, I was scared and anxious. I didn’t see very many people who looked like me, and I had no clue how I was going to fit in. The workshops run by delegates about a whole lot of issues (self-care, allyship, erasure within queer* circles, to name a few) seemed really interesting, but I was slightly sceptical of the framing of those discussions, and where they would acknowledge non-Western cultures and all the expectations, shaming and violence that queer* people face within them. There were autonomous caucuses and workshops which were safe spaces for people to organise, connect and form community through shared experiences of oppression. It was only during the first People of Colour caucus that I had my first feeling of belonging. While acknowledging that the term “people of colour” is
far from homogenous, and that there are hierarchies of power between and within non-white communities, the solidarity found in resisting whiteness
and expressing discomfort associated with being in predominantly white queer* spaces can be very comforting.
Emotional Labour Galore Something that I found really hard to ignore during the conference was the disproportionate expectation of emotional labour from certain groups. Emotional labour refers to the management of one’s emotions as a part of the work they do; it’s often associated with service-based, people-facing occupations. The grievance collective elected at the start of QC— which was there to bring any concerns delegates had to the organising committee if necessary, or address interpersonal issues between delegates at the conference in working toward the inclusion and safety of everyone attending—had a support officer, but hadn’t been trained in vicarious trauma, mental health first aid, or the sort of professional guidance that the work they do would actually require. This is something that would have been tricky to reconcile, given the immensely tight schedule, and perhaps even providing grievance officers with some handouts or resources could have been helpful. Emotional labour is a term I’ve heard used lots in advocacy circles. Dealing with institutions that marginalise people or having to explain or justify one’s struggles to others who have the privilege of not experiencing this can be an immensely exhausting process; however, people have to ensure that they
maintain a certain tone of voice in order to avoid being labelled as “angry” or uncooperative. Many non-attendees would have heard of, and hopefully read the statement that was released by the People of Colour caucus titled “Shut Up and Listen”. The statement didn’t come out of nowhere— it was presented on the conference floor in response to the tone-policing and microaggressions directed towards a black woman who was running a workshop on being a better white ally to people of colour. An emergency caucus was called that night, and a decision was made to release a statement calling out racism not just at QC, but in queer* spaces generally. There was no obligation for us to take that time out to write it. We could have gone about our dinner plans and gone to some other workshops instead. But we chose to be there, because the message was important to share and there was only a small number of us who could relate to and speak to it. And that’s a sad reality: often, when it comes to addressing certain oppressions, it’s those most marginalised who take on this task as spokespeople because nobody else can do it. Cont. next page
Take Care of You I was greatly involved in the drafting process of this statement, and I remember feeling incredibly anxious after we delivered the statement because we’d said something polarising (although really, calling for people to be decent human beings isn’t that radical). I ended up stepping out of the conference for the rest of the day, which set my FOMO off a little bit, but it was exactly what I needed. It helped that I wasn’t staying with the rest of the delegates, and I was able to switch on and off from conference mode. Armed with my two-litre bottle of orange juice, I took a walk by the beach and forgot all about the conference for the day. (It’s a little hard to take a break when getting homophobic and racist comments thrown at you in public during your precious self-care time, though). Conferences are exhausting, and not the most accessible for everyone. Learning and following formal conference procedure takes time and energy, which not everyone can afford. Compulsory regular breaks throughout conference floor were ensured; but still, sitting for hours on end discussing the wording of long motions would have taken a disproportionate toll on those with disabilities. In addition, making new friends can be terrifying and it’s easy to feel isolated even when surrounded by other lovely people. All these concerns are valid, and it doesn’t mean that certain people should be excluded from conferences altogether.
Self-care is something so important to navigate when attending student conferences. There is so much to see and do, and everything seems so attractive. We want to go to every workshop and social event, and soak up the beautiful pride around us. But it’s also good to know that we’re not there to go for all of QC, but to take away what we can of it without burning ourselves out. For some of us, that may mean attending one workshop for the entire week, and for others it can be just going for the social events. I spent an afternoon at the Wollongong Science Centre & Planetarium, which was so much fun. Forming and keeping a routine that’s comfortable for us, whether that’s going for a run in the mornings and/or debriefing with friends at the end of the day can help us ground ourselves and prevent getting too caught up in the overwhelming excitement of the happenings of the week. Conferences may not be everyone’s cup of tea at all, and that’s okay. There’s no right or wrong way to change the world and build solidarity. As I waited at a cafe in Moss Vale for my connecting train back to Canberra, I thought about all the drama, laughs, lessons and memories I’d experienced in the past week. Maybe I’ll go back next year, and maybe I won’t. Either way, Queer Collaborations 2017 was an incredible yet exhausting experience for me. I’d learned so much, and it lit a bit of a fire in my brown, queer* soul that I bring to other spaces in my life. ♦
Run Away With Me
CW: mentions of homophobic slurs
Florin Risley Giles
Well I remember being really nervous about what I was going to wear. Until about half an hour before I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go, but Mitch came and knocked on my window and I was looking for an excuse to give up memorising lines anyway so I said sure I’ll come, and student tickets were only ten dollars. I had this new shirt, white with a print of black peppercorns, and I put that on and I tied my hair back and I looked at myself in the mirror and took the shirt off again. Mitch was lounging on my bed. He was talking, telling me about a reoccurring dream in which his ex-boyfriend walked into rehearsals one morning and announced that he was our new acting coach. In the end I wore a pink and blue sweater and I wore my hair down. I was so scared people would think I was queer. We were running late and as we hurried across the residence halls the atmosphere was of subdued high spirits. Everyone was on campus, waiting to see Mitch’s queeny housemate Piers win the Academy’s annual talent competition by lip-synching to Carly Rae Jepson. I sat in the third row of the Roundhouse Theatre feeling frumpy and alien while Mitch flirted with Piers’ burly-camp best friend Cameron; and the host, a third year Acting student, became steadily drunker every time she reappeared to introduce another act. Stocky, ginger Daniel Deane from the year above us did a robotic calisthenics routine and a girl from our year delivered a spoken word piece, in which she smeared her expensive velvet leotard with handfuls of chocolate cake. The Academy’s Crowning Queen was a third-year Music Theatre student with two backup dancers who did a Broadway song and dance routine about being the perfect woman. Every time Cameron leaned across me to share a comment with Mitch on my other side, his musky Jean Paul Gaultier cologne filled my nostrils and my heart gave several robust thumps. Piers-as-Pearl-E.-Gates received a thunderous applause at the end of his bit and I found myself peculiarly miffed because he lip-synched but I knew he was studying contemporary voice at the Academy and he could really sing. Piers almost cried when he was crowned. He towered over the losing contestants but his pale thin limbs were curled and vulnerable when he bent to set the crown upon his backcombed wig. Mitch left for a party I wasn’t invited to precisely as the competition closed, and I fumbled my way into the crowded foyer where students and teachers were milling and eating flimsy rectangular sandwiches. Cameron and I waited in the throng with Piers’ fag hag, a non-Academy student with lank brown hair and bad breath
named Sherrie who laughed too loud and desperately wanted to be an actor. Piers materialised legs-first from backstage, still dressed as Pearl in a neon green lame leotard with silver shoes and the chunky plastic crown perched on his Alaska Thunderfuck hair. He was trying to hide just how proud he was. The crowd parted for him and we jeered as he approached us; he shook his bum, then took Sherrie’s hand and thrust it into his chunky neon tuck. I was torn, as always, between releasing myself to the camp excitement of my friends, and hanging back in case someone saw some horrific secret truth in my eyes. Beneath his makeup, Piers failed to resist the satisfied look of someone who’s worthiness has for the time being been established. Sherrie darted off to fetch him a drink, and in a quiet moment he stooped his ear to my mouth so I could tell him he looked beautiful. I was elated when he took the studded leather cuff from his wrist and secured it to mine instead. (He tried to nick it back from me a few days later during an on-campus screening of Rent! but I wouldn’t let him get away with it.) When Piers’ admirers thinned out Cameron drove the four of us to McDonalds. Piers was sweating but he stayed in drag and tongue-popped at the busboy as he ordered fries and a thickshake. Cameron took my hand and led me to sit down and share some chicken nuggets. He smelled so good, it made my eyes smart and the blood pound in my temples. Mitch stayed out all night, but Piers was living in the back room of Mitch’s res dorm and we drove back to campus and chatted and teased one another and further trashed the dormitory hallway, Piers peeling his leotard off and bending down to give us a juicy view of his spread arse cheeks as he flung his dressing gown on. Sherrie helped him pick the wig glue back from his forehead and he let me wear the crown while he showered. I didn’t always know how to like Piers—frankly, because he knew I was closeted and queerly ridiculous—but I felt really proud of him that night. I snoozed on the couch beside Cameron while the two of them sleepily played out the last of their bitchy-faggots routine, and I tried to absorb some holy part of the both of them that I could save inside of me and unleash when I understood it all a little better.
Florin Risley Giles was once a student of the performing arts but now does English and Gender Studies at the ANU. He loves eyeshadow and is always late for class due to backcombing his hair. Florin has a special place in his heart for poetry and boys, and is the Narrative Editor for this magazine. You can find him on Instagram at @florin_risley_official.
ShOUT Magazine is a LGBTIQ+ publication for ANU students and staff. We aim to be bold, thoughtful and educative, seeking to start conversations within the queer community and their allies.
ShOUT is a magazine run by and for the queer community at the Australian National University. This zine represents the start of ShOUT's pr...
Published on Oct 30, 2017
ShOUT is a magazine run by and for the queer community at the Australian National University. This zine represents the start of ShOUT's pr...