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s ion t i d e

Sam Dubyna

Natrydd Sigurthur

It only counts if you saw a penis

Taking it up a peg

USASA Financial Counselling Need help putting the pieces together? A Financial Counsellor can help you to develop a budget, understand your finances better, assist in dealing with university debt management & provide access to food support. To book an appointment visit

Verse Magazine acknowledges the Kaurna, Boandik and Barngarla First Nations People as the traditional custodians of the unceded lands that are now home to the University of South Australia’s campuses in Adelaide, Mount Gambier and Whyalla. Verse Magazine respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging. Verse Magazine also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia. It was and always will be Aboriginal land.

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Editor’s Letter It only counts if you saw a penis Love in five parts Imagine: Sam Dubyna Taking it up a peg Playlist: Songs to bonk to Interview: Natrydd Sigurthur Taboo: STIs Humans of UniSA Romance isn’t dead Bimbos, himbos, thembos, and topping the almighty eggplant Hickey The ocean has skin Ethical tricks Hinge boy Review: How juicy is your fruit? Puzzles Horoscopes: The signs according to Sex Education USASA Clubs Feature: The Rainbow Club Solutions USASA President’s Letter Cover: Natasha McLoughlin

Head Editor Anna Day Comms and Digital Editors Jordan White and Nina Phillips Graphic Designer Emma Horner


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Some things are certain in life: death, taxes and the annual Verse Magazine sex edition. Verse and its many bold contributors can’t stop and won’t stop talking about the S-E-X. I’m hopeful that you’ll find something in these pages that resonates with you or at the very least makes you chuckle. Because, let’s face it: sex is funny and weird and kind of gross. Sex also comes with a fairly hefty dose of responsibility. We’ve taken a crack at trying to understand how sex intersects with love, mental health, social norms and physical wellbeing. We often don’t feel comfortable talking about these crossroads but it’s important that we do. In happenstance that seems fairly in line with 2020’s energy, the sex edition comes out at a time when we all need to be adhering to social distancing behaviour. But as our many contributors will dive into, sex is a flexible, ever-changing concept. If you can’t get into physical contact with others, maybe it’s an opportunity to get creative? Every cloud has a silver lining. Do the right things to take care of yourself and others. If you’re feeling a bit lost, forlorn or confused, know that you’re not alone. On behalf of the Verse team, we hope this edition brightens your day. All the best, Anna




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Edition 33 2020

It only counts if you saw a penis Words Nikita Skuse Artwork Emma Horner

“My idea of queer female sex was formed from lesbian porn categories made for straight males.” 4

“I’ve only ever slept with women, so this is new to me,” I admitted to the sweaty English boy on top of me. A tinder date arranged out of boredom and quite frankly a lack of anything better to do during my mid-semester break had led me to his dingy share house. Barely a ginger eyebrow lifted on his face in response to the confession I had been so nervous to give. As he began poking his way around my lady garden I thought to myself, “Wow, what a woke guy! So accepting of my queerness!” Alas, the dreamy thoughts about this seemingly romantic British gentleman came to an abrupt halt soon enough. Not long into doing the deed, we called it a day. Not for any particular reason, it just wasn’t as thrilling as I thought it would be when I finally tried shagging a boy, so I asked him to stop. I apologized profusely for leaving him blue-balled and explained how embarrassed and awkward I felt. To which he replied, “It’s okay, losing your virginity is awkward for everyone.” “Excuse me?” I asked, “Do you not recall the conversation we had while you were dripping sweat on me about how I have, in fact, had sex before only with women?” “Oh yeah but, like, it doesn’t really count unless there’s a dick,” he replied matter-of-factly. “It doesn’t really count unless there’s a dick.” And in that moment I could have killed that greasy boy on top of me. The conversation continued with him explaining that of course, no form of oral sex is real sex because then every teenage boy who received a blow job would be losing their virginity far too easily; and that maybe if there had been a strap-on or some kind of penetrative toy involved in my lesbian sex escapades, then he would consider my claim of non-virginity to be valid but with some hesitation. And finally, he ended on the suggestion that if I ever would like to try again with a man, I should bring one of my lady friends over to his man cave for some three-way thrills. Needless to say, I have never gotten dressed and exited a building quicker. And so, I have decided to take it upon myself to teach the world what it means to have sex because apparently there are still people living in the 21st century that can’t quite comprehend what the term entails; which is baffling, I know. Firstly, I ask you if an 80-year-old queer lady has been rubbing crotches with other pretty ladies her whole life, is she still a virgin? Has she been mistaken her entire life, discovering only now, thanks to the wisdom of this ginger Brit, that really all she’s spent her life doing actually counted for nothing?

I’m going to answer that for you: no, of course not. That woman is a certified slayer and her sex counts just as much as any straight person. Moving on from grandma’s love life, let me hit you with some facts. An American study by Chapman University, Indiana University, and the Kinsey Institute found that 86 per cent of lesbians reported to always or usually orgasm during sex. This number dropped considerably to 65 per cent for straight women. In another study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, it was found that only 18 per cent of women could orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. It almost seems that if a penis is thrown into the works, sex becomes less real if anything. Although, maybe I can’t blame people for having misshapen beliefs around sex when they’re being fed myths from every which way. When searching the online Macquarie Dictionary to try and find a definition of sex that would prove my point, I was disappointed. When looking up the phrase ‘sexual intercourse,’ I was met with two definitions. To be fair, the first was actually very reasonable: “sexual contact involving the genitals of at least one of the individuals.” A well-rounded definition by my standards. No mention of gender or specific genitals or any focus on penetration. The second was not so reasonable. It read: “sexual union between a male and a female by the vagina, usually resulting in ejaculation by the male; coitus; copulation.” I don’t know what frustrated me more by this: the fact that this definition sees sex as an experience solely shared between a male and female; or that only male ejaculation is mentioned or cared about. I can only assume it must have been written by a man. All anyone with access to wi-fi has to do is a quick google search of ‘sex’ to be shown hundreds of regurgitations of this same definition. No wonder people are being led astray.

that their wands cannot magically or instantly solve. Maybe queer people would feel valid and understood, and not have to try and defend or explain their sexual experiences to strangers. Just to get things clear, by no means am I trying to dis willies. Nor am I trying to invalidate the experiences of heterosexual couples. In fact, I’ve been dating a male for quite some time now and I have nothing but good things to report (so far). All I’m trying to say is that sex comes in many different shapes and forms and liquids and odours and tastes. Penis in vagina is not the only way to lose your virginity (which, by the way, is a completely bogus social construct that should be outdated by now anyway, but that’s a whole other can of worms). Sex should be whatever you want it to be and no filthy tinder matches have the right to tell you any differently. So go forth you horny hooligans and shag whoever you want, however you want (with consent and safe practices always, please) and know that if you want it to count then it counts. Even if you didn’t see a penis. ☐

And now don’t even get me started on the sex education systems in place in schools. Not once throughout my high school career did I learn about queer sex, or female pleasure. My sex education for those things had to come from the internet, which as we just discovered is obviously unreliable. My idea of queer female sex was formed from lesbian porn categories made for straight males. I received a rude shock when I discovered it isn’t all as smooth and easy as the pretty teenage girl and her lonely step-mum made it seem on screen. Maybe if we had proper sex education in schools, and if the media stopped telling us misconstrued tales of sex, there wouldn’t be such a misunderstanding in our society about what the term entails. Maybe men like this British friend of mine wouldn’t think that their penises are the be all and end all, and instead would understand that there are many complexities to the female orgasm



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Part I

Part II

Part III

“love me gently,” she whispered in his ear as his arm slipped across her shoulders. she sensed the fragility of this love. it was as if they were held together by gossamer threads, as if at any moment the threads would fray, and even as she teased at the edges, she felt it slip. so, she held on tightshe let him pierce her red, crimson heart… but holding him was like trying to catch water, or trying to stop the sands of time run through the hour glass.

“love me softly,” she said as he leaned in to kiss her. she allowed herself to feel the beat of his heart against her chest. as if the static of its’ rhythm could pulse through her body too and awaken the sleeping beastbattered, weary and bruised but still living and breathing, wary but hopeful, guarded but open.

“love me wisely,” she breathed as his lips grazed her neck sending quakes through her body down to the pits of her stomach. she heard her voice quiver as she spokethe crackling sound echoing tracks of worry, tripping over broken promises and shattered dreams; fear resting uncomfortably in her soul bones.

Part IV

Part V

“love me sweetly,” she pleaded as his hands ran along her soft edges and across her ample curves. She felt at that moment she could explode into a thousand stars and she still wouldn’t know what real love was made of. she hoped he would be careful where he trod for she knew that even a man on tip-toes could still leave footprints on her soul.

“love me fearlessly,” she mouthed as he lay her down across his earthen alter of mercy, while he fondled her subconscious and it was at that moment that she knew there would never be anything more fragile than watching him unravel himself inside her, as their hips dipped and swayed to the unchained melody playing in the other room. It was then she realised that she would want him until every star in the galaxy died.

Love in five parts Words and artwork Tabitha Lean 6



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Sam Dubyna Interview Christina Massolino Right: “She’s Writhing At The Thought Of You”, 2019, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 110cms x 130cms.

Sam Dubyna is a 24-year-old artist studying her final year of a Bachelor of Contemporary Art at UniSA. Sam creates explosive and expressive paintings that engage with themes of female* sexuality, masturbation and self-exploration. Sam also incorporates themes of abjection and grotesqueness within her work to elevate these concepts into socially relevant contexts. In Sam’s paintings, the biological clarity each figure physically presents is simultaneously riddled with ambiguity where waves of paint overlap and the female form becomes metaphysical. This leaves room for questions and open-minded interpretations, creating a kind space for those who don’t yet understand the power of female sexuality, and emboldening those who wish to celebrate it. *When referring to female or female sexuality and genitalia, we acknowledge there are many different versions of female-ness and types of female bodies in the world including those belonging to intersex, non-binary, gender nonconforming, and transgender individuals. We understand not everyone is simply ‘female’ and invite everyone to connect with Sam’s artworks in whatever way they would like to.





Left: “Body 2”, 2019, charcoal and pastel on paper, 110cms x 130cms.

“I hope that my work serves as an ignition point for people to realise, learn or understand that the female body is so powerful and sacred.” 11


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When you paint is there some sort of energy that drives you? Yes, absolutely—in so many ways. I feel that the physical act of painting is very cathartic and therapeutic, so when I start a piece or even just start setting up my space to paint, I get my headphones in straight away and blast something loud, angry, or heavy to get me focused and ready. It’s as if I am getting ready for battle. I’m personally not great at channelling emotions or crying or running or anything that you’re “supposed” to do to keep a level head, so I really feel that when I paint that that is where I get my big energy release from. How do you manipulate the paint in your artworks and why? Through the course of a lot of experimentation, I found that paintbrushes were neither making satisfying enough marks on the page, nor manipulating colours quite right either. It was then almost an unconscious decision to literally squeeze the paint from the tube directly onto my hand and smear it across the page, which allowed me to manipulate the paint exactly how I wanted to by changing the shapes of my hands or applying different pressures. By literally having a ‘hands on’ approach to my work, I feel that my mark making is a lot more personal. By removing the ‘middle man’ (the brush), I feel that I am allowing for continuous connection to the marks I am making, and for the time between ‘thought’ and ‘action’ to be as minimal as possible. In order for there to be a perfect balance to each piece, I find that I have an unconscious awareness of what amount of colour needs to be within each quarter of the page in order for a piece to feel complete. The tactile quality of feeling the cool, gooey paint in my hands enhances my own personal connection to each piece, as the texture of the paint itself has an almost bodily quality to it. Why do you choose to show a full female figure in some paintings with legs spread, showing a vulva, instead of depicting simply a close up of a vulva? (For those unsure of the difference between the vulva and the vagina, the vulva refers to the external female genitalia including the clitoris, labia, urethral opening and vaginal opening. The vagina refers to the tube located internally). I choose to depict the full female figure within my paintings as the bodies I portray are often in some form of act—that being something like masturbating, or simply holding themselves, or exploring their body. The figures sometimes are fragmented with parts repeated or removed, but this only serves to capture a degree of movement or motion. The figures themselves are a whole body and a whole person experiencing a moment that I am capturing and bottling for only a second. I feel that if I were to remove the rest of the body from the vulva, 12

then I would be losing so much of the meaning behind my work. The female body itself holds so much wonder and interest beyond just a few parts that almost serve as buzzword-like images, so I couldn’t see my work without the entire body attached to those parts to tell part of the story of the female sexual experience. Is there still room for discourse on the female body and sexual exploration in 2020 or have we talked ourselves dry? I think that it is important to still discuss the topic in 2020 because I still feel like the very act of having a body is so weird, strange, unique, and special and yet we all keep our bodies to ourselves still in such a big way, and then shame or dismiss those who want to share, discuss or explore. In regards to the female body and sexual exploration in particular, I feel that through the media we consume, there is a certain way that these themes can and can’t be portrayed, so my thought process then turns to ‘well why can’t I show a female masturbating?’ or ‘why can’t I pose the body in a certain way?’ Through my art, I hope to open the dialogue up by challenging outdated patriarchal systems of belief, by presenting my own interpretations of the female body in response to a total rejection of the uncritically accepted white, Western, male viewpoint. The female body does so many beautiful and gross things and both of those things are okay and normal. Why not celebrate, discuss, and recognise both? Are people confronted by your art? Yes and I love it! I have had people say that the figures look monstrous, that the pieces are ‘too messy’, that the distorted bodies aren’t ‘right.’ Because you can’t usually pick out the figure in each piece straight away, I really enjoy seeing people recoil or become unsure even before knowing what the figure is doing underneath all the paint. When I explain, some people delight in picking out an arm, or a leg, whilst others don’t get the whole concept at all, which is okay too—let’s talk about it and unpack unsureness. How do you hope your art challenges people’s views of the female body and female masturbation? I hope that my work serves as an ignition point for people to realise, learn or understand that the female body is so powerful and sacred, and that its desire and need for pleasure is beautiful, NORMAL, and is something to be celebrated. Whilst my pieces aren’t necessarily clear on the subject matter on first glance, I hope that viewers get sucked in to the swirls, the chaos, and the messiness of it all, and that they truly stop and feel the energy from the piece. Hopefully that energy or the images I create can leave an impression—looking at one of my pieces isn’t going to change someone’s mind on the subjects, but it could start a line of questioning that could domino into something much bigger.



Do you ever feel frustrated when someone doesn’t ‘get’ your art? I do and I don’t. I am very open to discussing my intentions and motivations and explaining what I am making and why. I will always make the point to stop and listen to people’s objections or questions and will do my best to express myself in the most accessible and tangible way possible for someone who is completely thrown by what I create. The frustration only comes when someone won’t hear what I have to say, or will criticize or reject without being informed or at least willing to be informed. I completely respect everyone’s right to their own opinions, but opinions born out of naivety or fear or what you’ve heard your parents say or what the media has told you are hard to navigate around. I feel though that these adverse reactions are simply projections of people’s own self-questioning and inquiry, and it’s completely okay to not be quite ready for these discussions yet too. We’re all on our own journeys and that is something to be respected. What has been your experience in sharing your work with peers and teachers at uni? I have had mixed reactions, but I try not to focus on them too much to be completely honest. I think that I personally have a really clear grasp on what I want to experiment with and where I want to take my work, so when I do receive feedback or suggestions that don’t follow this line of thinking, I am most likely going to listen, examine, and then still do what I think is best anyway. I think a big thing with being in the arts is backing yourself, and trusting both yourself and the process along the way. If I know what I am doing and can see where I am going, why would I even deviate for a second if I can see something great in the direction I am headed? That could be very naive of me to say, but making for me is so personal and intuitive that I’m not perturbed by negative experiences when sharing my work because it’s mine, I made it for a reason, and nine times out of ten I am proud as punch about it, and really that’s all I truly care about. Are there any females in your life or history that have inspired you to be bold in your art? Yes and I am so, so grateful to the lineage of women that I have come from because they inspire me to keep the fire in my belly stoked and blazing at all times. After her husband was shot by the Bolsheviks in Russia, my great-great-grandmother on my maternal side took to the streets and lifted her skirt as the ultimate insult to the soldiers, yelling ‘You’ve murdered my husband and this is what you’ll get from me!” She was then killed in a hail of bullets. Then my grandmother, when fleeing China to get to Australia with her family, slept with her new born daughter (my mum) outside at a train station for three days as my mum was only recently born and was not on the official documentation that would allow her to 14

leave the country. Then my grandmother on my paternal side was captured by German soldiers during WWI, was put into a work-camp, escaped whilst on her way to be executed, was re-captured, then put back into a work camp and stayed there until the war was over. This was where she met and married my grandfather, and birthed her first child (my aunty). The fact that the blood of these three women who endured so much and fought so hard flows through my body is powerful. Their stories don’t necessarily inform my work directly, but knowing that the female experience can often be boiled down to great strength, resilience, and power is such a beautiful thing, so I couldn’t imagine myself creating outside the topic of female-ness when it is such a huge part of how I identify and navigate my world and is something I am so grateful for because without it, I wouldn’t be here today. Do you consider your art feminist, or something else? Yes, it definitely lends itself to the feminist discussion. I draw and paint the naked female body and show breasts and vulvas, and use these as catalysts for discussion and putting these themes out in the world. I would say though, that I see the feminist part stemming more so from my role as a female artist, making art about the female experience, for people who identify with female-ness. Systemic and social constructs have positioned women as incapable of greatness in Western culture, disallowing them to access education and gain recognition within the arts for so long. I think that the feminist aspect to my work is my own questioning of why the art world has been so dominated by patriarchal modes of thinking, and to recognise the significance of what it means to be a working female artist today. Can you give us an indication of where your art is heading this year, and what we might expect to see in the Contemporary Art Graduate Exhibition? My objective for this year is to create a series of large wall hangings that present what I believe to be a more realistic and raw image of the female body that does not shy away from taboo topics and imagery. I will continue to use the themes of abjection and the grotesque to present unconventional female bodies that are large, disfigured, and distorted in order to achieve a representation of the female body, which challenges traditional iterations and imagery. I basically want my work to take up as much space as possible. I want my figures to envelope and tower over everyone and to force people out of their comfort zones. When I imagine and visualise my final pieces, I imagine the chaotic noise of an orchestra all tuning their instruments at once which only continues to crescendo and get louder and louder until there is so much noise that you can’t differentiate one instrument from the next. This chaos and noisiness is the same feeling that I seek to capture and ignite within my work. Let’s see what happens! ☐ Right: “Body 4”, 2019, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 110cms x 130cms.


Taking it up a peg |

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Pegging is the sexual act in which one partner straps on a dildo and stimulates their partner anally. With over 85 per cent of my sexual encounters being in the missionary position, I was left dumbfounded two years ago when a then-boyfriend asked me if I would peg him. “I’m not gay,” he said defensively when he realised my surprise. “No, I know,” I replied shifting nervously on the edge of the bed. While I was aware that it’s perfectly normal for straight guys to like it up the arse, I never thought I would be with one of those guys. My initial feeling of shock was most likely because despite pegging becoming more of a topic of interest— particularly after its appearance on season two of Broad City—it’s still taboo. Whenever I’d talked with other girls, their responses were varied. Some loved the idea, some would only do it with a partner they loved, and others were very quick to shut it down, declaring that if their partner ever asked to be pegged, they would be questioning the relationship. Yet realistically, it shouldn’t be a shock that some guys enjoy anal penetration; as that’s where the prostate— essentially the male equivalent of the g-spot—is. My partner and I talked for almost an hour about it. I found out he’d been pegged by one other girlfriend, other than her and myself, no one knew he was into it. Upon learning that, a lot of my prudence towards pegging diminished. This was simply happening because he trusted me enough to tell me about something that was otherwise, as he described, “kept in the vault.” After that, we decided the pegging itself was something we’d ease into—he physically and me mentally. Following a few weeks of lubed up fingers and butt (is that too much information?), it was time for the real deal. I’ll admit my slender body looked ridiculous with a rather abrasive, blue dildo strapped to it, but the initial uncertainty was quickly replaced with something else; I started to feel powerful. I had a dick and if I swung it hard enough, I could probably knock someone out. I couldn’t help but think: is this how men feel all the time? The pegging itself begun very awkwardly, I had basically


turned his butt into a slip and slide with the amount of lube I had used, which was unfortunately a necessary evil. But after the awkwardness had subsided, I felt something I had never felt during sex. I felt in control. This was important for me because it meant I could bend my boyfriend over and explore taking the reins rather than assuming the submissive role I was so used to. While I wasn’t reaping any of the benefits of sex as I normally would, being able to see my partner enjoy himself was enough. Although someone else’s experience pegging may be completely different, my experience changed my idea of how sex should be. While it was awkward and uncomfortable at times, it made me rethink the dynamic of the relationship and allowed me to feel in control. Because of this, I can say that I’ve pegged once, and I’ll probably peg again—in a safe and consensual manner, of course. ☐

Words Peggy Sue Photography Natasha McLoughlin



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Songs to bonk to

Whether you’re alone in your childhood bedroom, atop your partner’s kitchen countertop, or nestled beneath a sweat-saturated stranger, here’s a playlist for all you sexy fuckers. Stay safe. Stay saucy. And, most importantly, stay satisfied! Playlist Nina Phillips Artwork Callum Muzyka



Tune Robbers Omar Apollo Slowly Slowly Bonobo Two Feet Ollie English Barry White cøzybøy Nine Inch Nails Husky Landon Tewers Party Dozen The Chats

My Neck, My Back Ashamed PMTWGR Dinosaurs Go Fuck Yourself Friend in the End I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby i swear this søng is abøut eating øut my best friend’s pussy Closer Need You Tonight (triple j Like A Version) Consensual Puss The Clap Follow us at versemag on Spotify.


Interview Anna Day Photography Natrydd Sigurthur

All of Natrydd Sigurthur’s work is underlined by a focused, noble motivation: to see a better world by taking tangible, deliverable measures. This has taken them into a Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning at UniSA to understand “why our cities are designed and function they way they do, and what we could be doing better to make our communities more sustainably liveable.” But perhaps Natrydd’s biggest legacy at UniSA has been with the Rainbow Club. As the Rainbow Club’s president, Natrydd works with immeasurable enthusiasm, advocacy and care to create a safe and welcoming space for UniSA’s queer community. Verse spoke with Natrydd about how their experience growing up with refugee parents has influenced their approach to leadership and shares a wealth of knowledge on queer perspectives, including Natrydd’s own identity as non-binary, pansexual. We even got a bit of sex advice from them, too.

Natrydd Sigurthur



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Can you tell us about yourself: Where did you grow up? What are you studying at uni? What are you passionate about?

I grew up in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, but my Hungarian refugee parents struggled financially. Being a poor kid at school was a hard lesson in inequality that shaped my political views. Things are better these days, and I visit my parent’s hometown every few years to catch up with relatives. It’s my dream to move there after I eventually finish my Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning. Studying part-time feels as if I’ll never finish, but at least I have time to work, volunteer, and relax. Because of my upbringing, I’m passionate about making positive change in the world, especially concerning the environment, economy, and human rights, and of course urban planning. I’ve followed politics since primary school but didn’t join a political party or become involved in student politics until 2016. There are many brilliant people in my life who give me hope for the future and inspire me to do more than I already am.

It’s been a crazy couple of months. How is 2020 going for you so far?

I had a great start to the year having spent most of the uni break sightseeing around Victoria with good mates. I’ve reconnected with some old friends and made some new ones too. I usually have an active social life, so hopefully technology will lessen any negative impact caused by social distancing. There’s a steadily growing pile of assignments on my to-do list, and my perfectionism is yet again testing their deadlines. Being a pessimist, I cop a lot of flak for generally assuming the worst-case scenario but at least I’m emotionally prepared if it happens, and I expect a fair few in coming months.

How will COVID-19 affect the queer community?

There’ll be unique challenges, and we need to make some tough choices to ensure we get through this. Our lives are about to change socially and physically. The medical community’s priority will be to fight the pandemic, so medications like hormones may be out of stock for a while, and affirmation surgeries will need to wait. Maintaining good lung health is vital, so give up the ciggies and durries if you can. Trans and gender diverse people who chest bind will need to reduce the time spent binding. Restricting lungs from expanding can lead to fluid building up within them, and this is incredibly dangerous during respiratory infections like COVID-19. This’ll be a difficult time for people who experience body dysphoria, but the alternative is risking severe illness or worse. Another concern is that due to their age, we risk losing older members of our community who spent their lives fighting for the rights we now take for granted. Decades of wisdom and experience could be lost in mere weeks. Dating also just became even harder. It’s bad enough having a limited pool of potential partners compared to straight cisgender people, but we’re now expected to keep a minimum physical distance and avoid eating out. Hook ups are a common part of queer culture for many of us, but currently you shouldn’t partake. Definitely don’t hook up if you’re showing symptoms, although if you do hook up please talk to your potential partner about whether they’ve had any symptoms and ensure you all continue practising good hygiene. Stay at home and give yourself a hand.

How long have you been involved with the Rainbow Club? What is your role as president?


I joined the Rainbow Club in late 2015 at the Inaugural General Meeting where I was elected as Secretary, and I later took over as President in March 2017. My main role as President is to be the club’s spokesperson, so I do the bulk of our interviews, articles, meetings, but also coordinate the Club’s overall direction and activities. There’s a misconception that I’m the boss who calls all the shots, but this isn’t true at all! No one on our executive committee outranks another—we all have our roles and responsibilities, but we help each other out. If one of my ideas isn’t good, the rest of the exec won’t hesitate to tell me. I’m motivated to achieve the Club’s goals by building


“There’s an attitude that Marriage Equality was the pinnacle of queer rights and that we’re now all equal just because we can marry each other.” 23


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up support among staff at UniSA and USASA, in addition to the broader community. Running the Rainbow Club is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Before I joined, I never saw anyone like me in leadership positions. It meant that I’d wrongly believed people like me weren’t meant to be leaders. I didn’t fit the typical mould of having a high ATAR or GPA, being middle-class, private school educated, and somewhat narcissistic. By contrast, I’m from a disadvantaged background and have a leadership style that emphasises collaboration and empathy. I don’t believe in selling out on my values to gain power because then I’d just end up perpetuating a status quo I don’t support. I don’t feel the need to suck up to people nor suck them off in order to achieve my goals. What’s been the most challenging thing during your presidency at the Rainbow Club? And what’s been the most rewarding?

Tackling queerphobia, both on-campus and within the broader community has been incredibly challenging. I’ve had students report incidents of homophobia, transphobia, and sexual assault to me. It’s heartbreaking whenever a student discloses abuse, which is why I and our Club’s executives undertake training around mental health and sexual violence. It’s been rewarding to see progress made towards achieving the Club’s goal of improving the lives of queer students. Years of forging close working relationships with staff at UniSA and USASA have produced great results. UniSA’s Ally Network is close to being launched, we’re working with the USASA Student Board to get better queer student representation, and we’re looking at room audit data with Facilities Management to find a suitable queer space on-campus. Winning leadership awards for my work with the Rainbow Club has been an honour.

How do you think the internet and social media have changed conversations and understandings about sex and sexuality?

It’s definitely made information about sex more accessible and broken down many taboos around discussing topics relating to sexuality and gender. Queer people have the opportunity to connect with each other like never before, especially through platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you like heaps good memes and daily articles that’ll make you question the world, chuck the Rainbow Club’s Facebook page a like. No longer constrained by geographical location, we’re able to reach people outside our social circles and communities with ease, and work together with our allies to amplify our voices. Dating apps have also given us a way to meet others and pursue a variety of relationships, whether that be platonic, sexual or romantic. The overall increase and accessibility of porn, nudes, and dick pics isn’t exactly wholesome, but the reality is that people will use technology to meet their sexual needs. That said, we have a social responsibility to keep things legal and consensual.

How do you think the queer space will continue to evolve in the 21st century?


There’s an attitude that Marriage Equality was the pinnacle of queer rights and that we’re now all equal just because we can marry each other. But marriage is just one right we’ve fought for and won. Hopefully as more people feel comfortable being openly queer, this will result in us being more accepted due to increased visibility. There’s a queer “look”, and this comes in various forms across our communities, but unfortunately many people who are perceived to be visibly queer face discrimination. Society is still less flexible with gender than sexuality, so this is especially pertinent for trans and gender non-conforming people who still face being shunned for being too different. I hope to see workplaces, institutions and society in general become more accepting of people being themselves, including those of us who have disabilities and chronic health issues. That said, queer people will always be in the minority, but there’ll always be a good community out there who have your back. Unfortunately, there are organised groups of people who don’t want us to exist and are working in the opposite direction of our goals to be accepted.


“I don’t believe in selling out on my values to gain power because then I’d just end up perpetuating a status quo I don’t support.” 25

For our taboo column this edition we’re talking about STIs. Is there anything you want to say on STIs and the queer community?

There’s no shame in having an STI. Approximately 16% of Australians will get one at some point. But you can and should take the following steps to avoid catching one. Condoms and dental dams. Using these properly and consistently is the best strategy for avoiding STIs. They come in different sizes, flavours, materials, and can be sourced for free from USASA Student Spaces, health clinics, and of course the Rainbow Club. Keep one with you, whether that’s in your pocket, bag, or even a discreet condom tin (they look like lolly tins, so no one will know what’s inside). Test often. If you’re sexually active, test every three months if you can. Even if you haven’t been sexually active recently, test at least yearly, as STIs can be asymptomatic. Queer-friendly health services like SHINE SA and SAMESH both offer free and low-cost testing without the need to book an appointment, and UniSA Medical at the city campuses also bulk bill STI tests for students. Get on PrEP, or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. While it does not protect from most STIs, taking prescription daily PrEP, or event-based PrEP is effective at preventing HIV infection. The doctors can talk to you about PrEP, if it’s suitable for you, and get you a prescription.


What have you been reading, watching and listening to lately?

I read a lot of journal and news articles about urban planning, which is one of my passions. Although, I legit enjoy doing my course readings, I love to engage with creative literature through publications like Verse. Recently, I’ve been catching up on episodes of the Danish show Bedrag – I’m a huge fan of the Nordic noir genre. Lately I’ve been listening to Hungarian artist Wellhello, and Russian singer Alekseev’s album Моя звезда. While studying, I like to listen to WMD and the Adelaide band Brokers.

How do you practice self-care? What’s your advice for others to take care of themselves?

Well, my mates would say that my self-care is me venting to them and making bad jokes. But really, I try to find balance in my daily life. I aim for eight hours of sleep every night, go for walks, connect with nature, and eat well. My mental health is usually fine, but sometimes stress gets to me and I fall into a slump. There’s no shame in admitting when things aren’t okay. Reach out to people you trust and seek professional help. Actively try to unlearn selfdestructive coping mechanisms. Create a supportive network around you by joining Clubs like batyr and Raising the Barre, who both do wonderful work around coping with mental health issues. The counsellors at UniSA are a free service, so book a confidential chat with them. Also, anyone with a Medicare card can see a GP to set up a free Mental Health Plan and get a referral to a psychologist. Everyone goes through challenges in life, some more than others, but you’re not alone and there’s people out there ready to help you.

What’s one piece of sex advice you wish everyone knew?

If you want to give someone an orgasm, just ask them how they masturbate. It seems like an awkward question, but people know their bodies and how they like to be touched. Always practice consent – ask beforehand if the other person is okay doing something, ask during the act, and ask again afterwards. An enthusiastic “yes” during sex is an even bigger turn-on than moaning. Also, don’t date or sleep with anyone ashamed to be seen with you in public. They don’t respect you, and they know you don’t respect yourself enough either. You deserve better. ☐

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Edition 33 2020

STIs Words Emma Horner Artwork Hannah Coleman


n 2001, my year 8 class had our first round of sex ed. Our teacher for this subject was an aging priest named Father Stuart. Following the mandatory explanations of the biology behind sexual reproduction, we were shown how to fit a condom to a banana, and then alerted to all of the ways in which we could get pregnant or contract an STI from having good old-fashioned penis in vagina sex without using barrier protection. Despite the presence of God in our school, statistically speaking there was still a high possibility that some of us in the room would turn out to be gay, so Father Stuart reluctantly and very awkwardly acknowledged that sometimes men would engage in sex acts with one another, but made sure to thoroughly demonise the practice and remind everyone of the absolute inevitability of contracting HIV following this deviant behaviour. It’s no surprise that during early 2000s sex education, there was still no mention of how to have a healthy, respectful sex life or sex for pleasure or safe sex outside of the realm of heteronormativity—at least not in my experience. Now, I may have only been thirteen but I was pretty certain that I was going to be having sex with women instead of men. This hadn’t been discussed at all, so in the part where you could write your anonymous question on a piece of paper, I asked “How would two women have sex, and can they get STIs?” As Father Stuart read my question out loud, my heart raced with both anticipation and shame, as people looked around the room trying to figure out who the lesbian was. With a tone of cruel, haughty indifference that I had never heard the Father use before, he snorted and said “I have no idea,” eliciting sniggers from the class as he tossed my question into the bin. The following year, we got another shot at sex ed. Fantastic. Our teacher this year reassured us that although she was the daughter of the college headmaster, extremely religious and also one hundred per cent a virgin (meaning that many students in the room, in fact, had more experience with sex than she did), she was going to do her best to answer any and all of our questions. “Fuck this,” I thought and didn’t even bother asking any questions—no shade if you are waiting for marriage, I’m just saying that as a virgin, you might not be the best candidate to teach sex ed. The delegitimisation of my sexuality indicated to me that what I would be doing—the relationships and the sex that I would be having—were not as valid or real as those of my heterosexual peers, and therefore did not carry the same real risks. Now, there’s a whole bunch to unpack there, which I will save for my therapist, but the point I’m making is that I left that classroom with no concept of what sexual health meant for me. My late teens and early twenties were a time of abundant sexual


activity with many partners and zero precautions. So, it’s no wonder that I contracted an STI. Now, in terms of STIs, let me tell you, I got lucky. I got one of those easily cleared up ones, and it happened during a bit of a lull in my sex life, so I didn’t have to do too much investigating to work out where it came from, and if I had passed it onto anyone else. So now you know that I’ve had an STI, and guess what? So have many of your peers! A few of them have kindly shared their experiences with me so that I can share them with you, and we can all feel a little more open about the whole business. A couple of years into a long-term relationship, Fred* found out that her partner had herpes, but hadn’t been able to find the courage to tell Fred earlier. When Fred tried to speak to her partner about the situation, she found that her partner’s shame led to each conversation being immediately shut down. Fred began getting tested regularly, and went about educating herself on how to be in a relationship with someone who has herpes. Over time, they were able to have better conversations about sexual health and implement enough safe practices in order to be able to continue an intimate relationship.

and lick them. You don’t want to wait until you’re in your twenties to have that one, trust me. So, what can we take away from this? How about, that around matters of sexual health, we need to be brave, respectful, honest and supportive. We need to be educating ourselves and our sexual partners, and opening up a dialogue around these matters. We should not shame others, and we should not feel shame ourselves, because STIs are a part of life, but it’s your actions around them that you can control. Most importantly, though, have fun! Wait, actually no, that’s not the most important part, the other stuff is still the most important part. ☐ *All names in these stories have been changed because it’s more fun for me that way.

Fred doesn’t believe that there is enough support for people with STIs who want to know how to date, have fun, and keep all parties physically and emotionally safe. Fred told me that “following this particular experience, I promised myself that when in a sexual space with anyone, I would give and offer information openly, empower myself by letting sexual partners know that I take sexual health seriously, and get tested often.” Fred reflected on the isolation and shame that she saw her former partner suffer through, and wishes that this wasn’t the case for them, and although Fred would have felt safer and more respected had she been told sooner, she was still glad that she was told eventually. My old friend Billie* recently shared with me that she’s had chlamydia twice from two different one-night stands. The first time, she presented at the doctor with cramps and spotting, and was actually very grateful that she’d shown symptoms, because chlamydia can easily go undetected. The second time, she received a phone call from the doctor of a recent sexual partner to inform her that she should get tested. Then, there are the near misses. Take Randy’s* story for example: “I once thought I had genital herpes, but it turned out I had adult chickenpox… I was so happy and the doctor was like ‘ummm, this is so much worse. You need medical attention…’” Randy, I’ve also had adult chickenpox, and it’s a waking nightmare. Any kids reading this, you see another kid with chickenpox, go up



Photography Natasha McLoughlin

Everyone has a story. Humans of UniSA is a deep dive into the lives of our fellow students to unravel the threads of their personal history, quiet ambitions, and their hopes, worries and joys. Take a fleeting glance into the vivid lives we pass by each day in the hallways and classrooms of UniSA.



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elcome to my office. What do you want to know? Tell you about me. I am male…this isn’t going to work if you laugh the whole time. So tell you about me. I am a male. I am 22 years old and I study product design at UniSA and I’m in my third and last year of that. My hobbies include procrastinating, and not doing uni work whatsoever. I don’t know how I’m going to pass this year. This COVID-19 thing is really doing me up the arse as well, which is fun. Ah…because when it came to selecting uni subjects when we were in year 12, my parents did it for me and thought that I’d be good at this so they did all my preferences and this is what I—I just rocked up. I was like ‘oh!’, you know. Mum and dad: ‘oh yeah, you got enrolled in this, congratulations.’ You beauty, sign me up. I’ll get on the bus and just rock up and here I am. Only five years later. I feel like this isn’t anything to do with the interview. Um… Do my parents make a lot of life choices for me? Well, yeah I guess up until the age of, I don’t know, like, ten mum still dressed me. I think that’s probably when she stopped. At 11 I decided that I’d choose my own clothes. I like product design…why do I like product design? The fact that I understand on a philosophical level what being a designer is and I think that helps me understand, like, the work better. So I think that design is mostly about a process—things don’t just happen. I think most people understand that but if you understand your process as a designer then that’s how you become a better designer and that includes being able to resonate with clients or empathise with the target audience or end user. So firstly, you have to understand that you completely strip down that you don’t know anything about whatever you’re— WHAT?... What?...the fuck? Yes. I’m doing an interview— Are you going to put in how much you’re laughing as well? As I was saying, you know, Sydney Swans are a really good football team. So for me it’s like—we are actually currently doing a subject called Design Cultures and Societies, which is looking in detail at this. But if I was to approach it I would firstly read the brief 10 million trillion times and even then you won’t understand the brief so you have to then identify—you have to ask yourself a bunch of questions like: who, what, when, where, why, how, sort of stuff. And then you actually have to go out and ask the people who are the ‘who.’ Right so, if I’m designing a toothbrush for a five-year-old, I’d have to go and ask five-year-olds what they want in a toothbrush. Well, I don’t know. That’s exactly the point. So, the design process is saying I don’t know anything about the toothbrush anymore and then going out and finding— because everyone’s got preconceptions about everything, right? But you don’t—well this is what you will find is that


you run into dead ends if you just design on what you think everything is. So the design process, I feel, it starts with being able to make yourself vulnerable and say ‘I don’t know anything about something’ which is whatever you are wanting to design, and going and finding out what the actual user wants, how they operate and how they interact with the existing products. So in terms of design process, I think from there you have to maintain the user and that experience in your mind when you rinse and repeat everything. But it’s about having your stable building blocks, which is research and understanding, which I think I’m pretty good at. Not blowing my own horn or anything. You know, I really like anal. Don’t put that in. No! That’s a lie, you can’t put lies in. Hey, what am I claiming?—I’ll sue you. What else do I like? I like computer games, and I like surfing and I like music. I like doing those things on repeat for hours on end and that’s about it. Hanging out with my friends, playing sport, loving my girlfriend so, so much. Oh, I buy her chocolates every Tuesday, I bring her flowers every Friday and we have sex once a year. Well see, I’ll paint a picture: sex swing—actually, I feel uncomfortable in this interview talking about my sexual prowess. Well, surfing I just watch a lot of surfing videos and hope that I then dream about surfing so then it’s like I’m kind of actually surfing. Well, the other night I met Kelly Slater, two nights ago I met Fisher the DJ and we surfed and hung out all day so that was kind of cool. What are other dreams I’ve been having recently…? But yeah mostly I think COVID-19 is making me appreciate my dreams a lot more and I try and like, you know, watch something on Instagram or whatever and then immediately go to sleep afterwards and hope that I dream about whatever I’ve been looking at. So that then I kind of live through like a virtual reality but it’s like a dream. Actually, can I talk about the wholesomeness that I had on Saturday night? Okay. So, me and the lads decided that we were going to Zoom. Zoom call. I’m sure everyone is familiar with Zoom now—thanks a lot COVID. We were going to Zoom and we were each going to drink six beers and it was a race to drink six beers the quickest. And you know, lots of shenanigans ensued. One of my mates passed out at his computer with the light on and woke up and wondered what had happened and I had to fill him in and yeah it was just an all round great time. It was weird—I sort of felt like they were there with me even though I was just drunk in my bedroom all alone. It felt like I had a real connection with them. So that was something that was wholesome. ☐ Interview and photography Anna Day

Humans of UniSA

Chris Shute Bachelor of Design (Product Design)



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Emily Tomassian Bachelor of Social Work


Interview and photography Emma Horner

Humans of UniSA


had been working in hospitality for a long time when I remembered that once upon a time, I had been wanting to work in conservation and land management. So, in 2011 I went to the TAFE open day to look at courses at Urrbrae, and it was really up my alley. I was excited that there was something out there like that because I didn’t know that there was something so practical out there, like fieldwork. I studied for two years at TAFE and completed a Diploma of Conservation and Land Management. I went on to start a degree in Biodiversity and Conservation at Flinders Uni, but it was less practical than I wanted it to be. I worked in the field for a few years, but it was um... well the field could be rewarding, but it was pretty heavy manual labour and a lot of the work was a hybrid of landscaping and conservation work, which is not what I had wanted to do. I thought about going back to uni to study conservation again, but you know, given government funding cutbacks in fields like that, I thought it probably wasn’t a very sustainable career. Part of my hospitality background included some very specific experience making raw desserts, so I started and ran a small raw dessert business for a few years, but that wasn’t something that I found very fulfilling either, so I decided to go back to uni and study social work. What drew me to Social Work? Probably the same thing that drew me to conservation—wanting to have a career that’s fulfilling but also practical, in a sense of ‘taking action.’ When I thought about what other things I was passionate about aside from conservation, social justice was one of them. I was hoping to be able to use some of my other qualifications as well, including my background in yoga teacher training, roll and release therapy and also meditation. It’s an area which has a large focus on mental health and personal wellbeing, and I realised that this was one of the reasons why people came to use these services. It made me think that I wanted a career in a service that allowed me to work with people meaningfully, but at the same time, I didn’t like the direction that the yoga movement had taken. It’s something that has been appropriated and co-opted in a way which has caused it to become rather elitist and inaccessible to many people, for various reasons. Classes can be financially inaccessible for some, labels are telling people that you need to buy certain clothes or have a certain figure or level of fitness before you can even start yoga, it’s often inaccessible for people with different physical abilities and other special populations. It’s often very ego driven too, and I realised that it wasn’t an industry that I wanted to be a part of, so yeah I decided to study social work instead. I think that the therapeutic benefits of yoga and meditation are significant, so I am hoping that there will be an opportunity for me to incorporate this skillset into a social work practice too. Aspects of my course which interest me change all of the time because with every topic, you find a new point of view and gain a new insight into things, but something that I have realised is that I have a particular interest in working with youth to limit their engagement with the youth justice system. I would be really

interested in working on programmes such as justice reinvestment for youth, and I would like to do more work with overrepresented groups in the system, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. I’m interested in the challenges which are unique to LGBTQIA+ communities too, including overrepresentation in rates of suicide, poor mental health, homelessness, lack of support networks and engagement with community, isolation and so on... I identify as a queer Armenian woman. Although I identify as Armenian, I’m not in contact with my father, who represents the Armenian side of my heritage. I have a few memories from when I was younger, but I don’t feel like I have a solid base to go into a community and feel like I belong. That’s something that I’d like to work on, probably when I finish my degree. What would that look like? Probably engaging with the local community, maybe a trip over eventually, but I think it’s more sustainable to engage with people here to gain an understanding of my heritage and culture. I think that there will potentially be aspects of the culture that I already connect with that I don’t know that I was unaware of, or that I will find to be reflected in my personality. Yeah, being very outwardly emotional is my experience of my father and my grandmother. Apart from that, we’re very... well my father and my grandmother were very hypervigilant and anxious. I think for Armenians, that comes from a history of persecution. My grandmother and my father came over as refugees, and my grandmother lived through the Armenian Genocide, so I think that they both carried a lot of that trauma with them. It impacted their lives and their relationships and how they moved through the world and interacted with people on a daily basis. When I finish my degree, I would like to be working in advocacy. I’d like to be working rurally, within communities. I would like to be working on projects with a view towards decolonisation, and promoting connection to language and country for the Indigenous population... it’s a hard thing for me to talk about because at the end of the day I’m still just another white person, you know what I mean? There are a lot of areas I’d like to work in... it’s hard. It’s really just advocacy that’s important to me, and there are lots of things I would like to do within that. I guess in terms of sex and sexual politics, I really think that we still need to make more moves towards the destigmatising female sexuality, and at the same time, stop over sexualising women’s bodies. I mean, that sentence sounded contradictory, but you know... when I was growing up, anyone who was sexually active was considered a slut— well women that is. Not men, men were commended. Any girls who had multiple sexual partners were stigmatised, so I think that probably, the intervention needs to happen early, like in schools, teaching that sex is natural and normal and that there is no different measure for men and women, or for boys and girls. ☐



Edition 33 2020


was always a creative kid. Heaps into music. Yeah, I think that was my main creative outlet for a long time. Not making it but consuming it. I’m a big fan of hip-hop. I got into comedy in my early 20s. I was like, ‘I want to do that,’ so I just started doing it. It’s been almost five years now. Just wrapped up Fringe where I had my first solo show, solo hour. It was pretty good. Fringe kind of sucks though. It’s becoming an increasingly corporatised climate. New and up-coming artists, that don’t have management, struggle to fill seats, whilst paying exorbitant amounts for room hire, Fringe registration and advertising etc. You put all this effort in, years worth of talent and hours and hours and hours of work, trying to build a show that hopefully means something to you and that you’re proud of, you know. You do all that to fill half the room every night and not make your money back. You lose money. I started this degree, partially, to help with comedy. There’s a lot of aspects behind it that help with that, just in terms of the graphic design and everything, you know. I’m also a really big fan of film and cinema. I’ve always been into weird stuff. Surreal stuff. I think in every aspect. I’m getting more weirder though. If you saw me when I first started comedy it was much more normal. Normal is boring. I like expressing myself in an abstract way. It’s like, expressing yourself through layers. If you ask my ex-girlfriend, she’d probably agree that I don’t know how to express myself like a normal person. I’m just psychoanalysing myself now, I guess. Is this supposed to be an interview or a therapy session—what are you doing to me here? I’ve heard the market in Melbourne, it’s easier to do like weird comedy. My comedy. It’s weird, surrealist, kind of conversational, observational stuff, which I heard fairs better in Melbourne. And Adelaide… bunch of philistines. I guess, that’s the thing. I don’t want to throw away certain aspects of my artistic creativity in order to get more people coming to my shows. I made all my own posters, I did all the graphic design myself, the marketing, everything was done by me. Catered to what I thought it should look like and feel like. Evidently, that’s not appealing to a broader audience. But I’m not sure how much I want to sacrifice to get more people in. And they’re going to be stupid anyway. They’re not going to understand the show. They’re not going to like the jokes. We haven’t progressed very much here in terms of comedy. I know I’m sounding—what’s the word?—obnoxious. No, stuck up? Narcissistic? Nah, what’s the other one? Just, up himself. Hoity toity. I understand how I sound. I know I sound like that. But I’m not wrong, that’s the thing. The general public don’t really care about the arts. They


go see Peter Hellier or fucking Hughesy in the Garden. No one really takes a risk on the smaller, lesser-known artists. I don’t think anyone flips through the Fringe guide and thinks, ‘that sounds interesting to me, I’ll go see that.’ They just go, ‘Oh Hughesy he’s great, he does that bit about, you know, trains.’ Amazing. What a conceptually brilliant idea, comparing the public transit system here in Australia to England. Fucking brilliant. Who could come up with such a nuanced out there concept! Yeah, I’m salty! I lost money! Cost me thousands of dollars to do this. Half my friends are quitting, I have a right mind to follow suit. But I’m—Nah. I’m not gonna quit. Basically, I want to come out of this degree and try to find a job in the film industry to support my comedy. Or, potentially, use the skills that I’ve learnt in my degree to get jobs in comedy. Not necessarily “career” jobs, but you know gigs; film gigs and graphic design work, which I have been doing. During Fringe I had a few film jobs: filming shows and editing them; graphic design; designing people’s posters. I didn’t charge lots, I’m still trying to get my foot in the door. Creativity? I don’t understand people who don’t have something. Some kind of art that they pursue. Whether it’s music or writing, painting, photography, anything. I don’t understand how people exist without a creative outlet. I feel like you’re kind of, like, desolate. I’m not sure where I’d be without comedy. I think I’d just be sad. Every Monday, I run a comedy night at the Rhino Room. Giggles Comedy. It’s heaps of fun! ☐ Interview and photography Nina Phillips

Humans of UniSA

Gene Freidenfelds Bachelor of Media Arts


Romance is not dead


What is romance in the bedroom? Cliché rom-coms give us this idea that it might involve flower petals on the bed or even a candlelit bubble bath. What might be forgotten in the heat of this on-screen action? The C-word: Condom. Many people think that talking about condoms before sex kills the romantic mood. False. Respect is key to romance and key to preventing unplanned pregnancy or an unwanted sexually transmitted infection (STI).

“Dental dams are a great way to enjoy oral sex without the risk of STIs.”

Whether you’re in a relationship or enjoying the casual vibe, using condoms is a great way to tell someone, “Hey, I really like you a lot! In fact, I like you so much that I value your sexual health and don’t want to put you at risk of STIs or unplanned pregnancy.” Condoms, like sexual partners, are not a one size fits all deal. Maybe you feel like condoms aren’t for you because you tried a $2.50 franger out of a dispenser in the toilets when you were 17 and it pinched a bit. Well, remember that there are hundreds of options out there. This can range from different sizes, materials and shapes, to different types of condoms altogether. Don’t love having to stop and roll on a condom? Consider the internal condom that can be slipped on up at any time and used for front and back hole sex! In a same sex relationship that doesn’t involve penises? Dental dams are a great way to enjoy oral sex without the risk of STIs. Feel like condoms don’t turn you on? Consider adding a cheeky bit of extra lube into the mix (you really can never have enough lube). Sex with condoms doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable, it’s just about finding the right option for you, and having an open conversation about your expectations around sexual health with your partner. With STIs on the rise nationwide it’s easy to feel like romance is truly dead. A recent study by SAHMRI into youth sexual health found that only 36% of young South Australians used a condom with a casual partner in the last 12 months! Chlamydia, and some other STIs, can be completely asymptomatic in up to 70% of cases, meaning that even if you can’t see anything funky happening downstairs there might be a hidden visitor that you can pass on without even knowing it. So, the next time you start questioning whether your romantic life is dead, rest easy knowing the most affectionate act is caring about you and your partner/s sexual health. That is genuine romance. SHINE SA provides free condoms at the front desk of all clinics. SHINE SA also provides free sexual health checks to people under 30 with a Medicare card at the SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice and Woodville clinic. For more information about condoms, safer sex and other sexual health information, visit ☐ Words and artwork SHINE SA 39


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Bimbos, himbos, thembos, and topping the almighty eggplant Words University of South Australia Rainbow Club Artwork Lucy Edwards

“We wish to champion champagne as a more appropriate food-based metaphor for sex.� 40



Edition 33 2020


ince the advent of the internet, the lexicon of modern courtship has adapted in some quite unexpected ways through the addition of new words and concepts. While those with a prescriptive view of language as a static, immutable concept decry the onset of new vocabulary conventions as the heralding of a totalitarian nightmare state, the reality is far less frightening. Language has always been fluid and new words expand our vocabulary, rather than being the real-life equivalent of Orwell’s Newspeak—a constructed language designed to reduce a person’s vocabulary and thus take away a person’s ability to illustrate certain concepts. These new words allow us to fill linguistic niches that have been historically left wanting, and nowhere is such an expansion needed than in the oftentaboo subject of sex and romance. The first among these linguistic innovations comes as a result of the emoji keyboard, which adds a hieroglyphic element to modern text messaging. Our vocabulary has expanded to give flirtatious meanings to these new pictures. At the forefront of these glyphs with amorous connotations is the eggplant emoji, representing a penetrative instrument of sexual congress, biological or otherwise. Convenient as the eggplant might be to suggest shape, lexicographically, us 21st century folk can do better than a simple vegetable as the universal “dick” symbol. We’ve thought about it, and we’ve found an emoji which more than beats it. At the very least, the champagne emoji equals the eggplant in its representation of the phallus (or other sexual instruments), in that it possesses both length and a bulbous tip. But its connotations more than top the eggplant. Indeed, phallic fruits and vegetables notably feature among emojis generally: banana, carrot, corn, cucumber, mushroom, potato and yam. It’s not hard to get your recommended daily intake if you count emojis. While such foodie emojis are crudely representative of the variety of shapes and sizes of penises, they all fail to do what the champagne emoji doesn’t: illustrating the


explosivity of orgasm. While sex does not necessarily require the parties involved to achieve climax in order to successfully be a unanimously satisfying experience, an orgasm’s physical and psychological qualities have an undeniable, euphoric quality.

and affectionate. Used in small fandom communities, primarily by people already marginalised in life due to their gender or sexuality, these nerdy enclaves are putting into practice the central philosophy of sex positivity—that there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of great sex.

We wish to champion champagne as a more appropriate food-based metaphor for sex. For one, the champagne emoji affords more sophistication in its penetrative metaphor. Its connotations with good cheer and celebration makes sex a thing to be celebrated between partners—an expression of hedonistic pleasure - and what drink embodies the pleasures of life, joyously partaken in by all who consent, more than a flute of bubbles? For the other, one must also bring into consideration the accompanying, receiving, peach emoji. Because with it—and not the eggplant—can come-ons based around the peach bellini be made. Other dick emojis include the hot dog, joystick, and cricket bat, but they too fail to convey the same extent of euphoric pleasure.

Language tends to trickle upwards through social strata. Words and phrases often originate in marginalised communities queer communities, lower-class communities, communities that are culturally and linguistically diverse, or communities where all three intersect. These terms become cool and countercultural, and later, are deemed acceptable for broad use by our culture’s trend makers. This linguistic evolution is a time-honoured tradition in English, and it’s thought that now commonplace language attributed to the works of playwrights like William Shakespeare originated from such humble origins. This tradition continues today in the widespread use of slang adopted from the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which in turn originated from the then-maligned ball culture of 1980s New York City.

The second innovation we wish to toast is the metamorphosis of the word “bimbo” as it enters the new decade. The word began its life as a slur against promiscuous women, to brand them and broadcast their lack of moral, social, or intellectual value. However, as the sex positivity movement has grown legs and made fishnet-stockinged, stiletto-heeled leaps and bounds in the fight against whorephobia, in fandom spaces on the internet, the word “bimbo” is seeing new life in the form of two new words: “himbo” and “thembo.” These words respectively mean a promiscuous man or masc person, or a promiscuous gender-neutral or nonbinary person.

Much has been said of this linguistic evolution’s more pernicious qualities, such as its contribution to cultural appropriation and continued marginalisation of the cultures from which such language is borrowed. However, alongside these detrimental qualities can also come genuine strides forward in social progression and acceptance. Many people don’t so much as bat an eye at a masculine person in makeup anymore, because makeup is now no longer seen as exclusively female, and by extension inherently frivolous or degrading. Perhaps, likewise, as the words “himbo” and “thembo” become more widely used alongside their sister word “bimbo”, the stigma of promiscuity will slowly dissipate for the people who are most harmed by it.

While the continued use of slurs against “promiscuous” women still remains insidiously pervasive in our society, what we see in the words “himbo” and “thembo” is not the hybrid-like eruption of two new slurs with which to degrade people who like sex. Instead, what we see in those words is something altogether more positive

If you ask us, that’s a future worth raising a glass of champagne to. ☐

“Language tends to trickle upwards through social strata.” 43



Words Ezra ThĂŠodore Tillett Photography Kaitlyn Davison

Ezra Théodore Tillett

“Oh,” Noah’s mouth has pulled away from mine, and his hand is holding my chin, twisting my face away from him. “That’s dark.” His thumb strokes the side of my neck and up rises the ghost of his teeth from an hour ago, plucking my skin like a bowstring in his incisors.

By midday I’ve washed my hands so often the skin is papery. That’s just the dust, of course. My break times start falling naturally into gaps when the backroom is otherwise empty. The feeling of dirtiness subsides if there’s shelves to hide their eyes and my face.

“Oh, fuck,” I tug the shower curtain to one side and eye myself in the mirror. There’s a deep blotch settling just left of my carotid. “Why’s it so high?”

There are drunken men dancing on the platform and my entire body thrums like a livewire when I pass them, half convinced they’re about to start shouting slurs at me. Once the turnstiles are to my back, monotony returns. Off the train at Central, two blocks South, one East, nose out of book just long enough to cross with the throngs at each intersection and board the bus. I finish a chapter and flip the page but before the letters register, a sudden barking shout from the farthest seats throws me back eight months. The words aren’t words anymore, my hands are shaking and there’s the carcass of a cry in my throat. My heartbeat is erratic; I can’t breathe; can’t think; need to undo my top buttons (shouldn’t have done them up) before I hyperventilate—but some part of me still recognises the reason it’s there. If I take it off, I’ll be too exposed, purple letter too dark, neck too pale, the shape too much like a target. Far more dangerous than asphyxiation. I get off early and walk the rest of the way home, armour buttoned up to jugular even after my breathing is even.

“Wear a scarf,” he chuckles against my shoulder, still loose-limbed and a tad uncoordinated from the activities previous, even though I’ve now tensed back up. He pulls me back into warm water and peppermint steam. “I didn’t know you bruise so easily.” “Well, I did, I suppose, it’s just,” I roll m,y eyes at myself “I haven’t had a hickey since I was a teenager.” I flick his ear when he laughs at me again and he says he’s sorry, but he isn’t really. While he’s brushing his teeth, I slip into each of my collared shirts to check which offer me back a modicum of dignity. One. Noah comes back into the bedroom while I’m checking different ways to arrange a scarf to casually hide the stain on my neck and he eyes my lack of trousers. “Interesting look.” “It’s Summer.” “It is.” “I look ridiculous.” “Well,” he comes and gently unwraps the scarf, throws it over the doorframe. “If you go in just like this, I’m sure people won’t even notice your neck.” I flick him on the opposite ear. *** Despite the bruise humming like a sordid brand on my neck, the brisk morning means no one looks twice at my scarf. I rattle to work and back on the train without being bothered, my neck only prickling warmly on coffee breaks in the stuffy backroom. Later, when it’s blustery, I wind the wool tight enough to smother me as I lock up the store, every errant gust sending my fingers to clutch at the tassels. The next day I wear the buttoned shirt with the highest neckline. One of my co-workers cracks jokes and the other casts judgemental looks between sorting stacks of new books, but it’s fine—I’ve not done anything wrong.

Noah and I go for dinner together. In between plates of nigiri, he compliments my turtleneck and is met with a scathing look. I do feel safe with him here, even if I’m overly aware of how close our chairs are. That night in bed I straddle him, and he cracks jokes in between kisses, until I forget that I’ve been upset for even a moment this week. It doesn’t take long before I’m naked and his boxers are across the room and he’s pressing up in between my thighs and I’m moaning, but when he kisses my neck, I scramble off him. I’m suddenly just sticky and naked. There’s a burning behind my eyes and in the back of my throat. When I calm down enough, I try to explain—“It’s not that I don’t want to,” it wasn’t anything you did, it’s just me, I’m too stressed and in my head—all just meaningless clichés, because I’m avoiding the issue. “I’m…” “Ashamed?” “No, not that,” I don’t want it to be that, it’s not that. “I’m anxious, like, fuck, I’m so anxious. But it’s not even that it’s this—” I can’t bring myself to really acknowledge the mark on my neck. I gesture vaguely and then feel incredibly childish for doing so. “Like, I know I’m Out, but I don’t like to be… blatant.” I bite my tongue hard enough to taste copper and shake my head because we both know how it sounds.



Edition 33 2020

Noah’s eyes are gentle, their weight on my face is soft, but I can only stare at his chest and the creases I put in his shirt. “We all have internalised shit to deal with,” he’s speaking oh so carefully. “It’s not your fault, and I don’t think any less of you for it. And we should talk about it properly, when you feel ready.” I hum and squeeze his hand and let him kiss my cheek. But I still have to shower and cover myself in pyjamas before I can let him hold me properly, and I hate myself a little bit for that. It takes a long time for me to sleep. *** “Lovely view isn’t it?” She asks, oblivious. The lady is at least 50, and all smile lines. There are faint wisps of grey at her temples, and something maternal in the creases of her eyes. I offer a quick glance out at the various shades of dry brown creek before it’s lost to a graffitied tunnel wall, then smile noncommittally at her. “I suppose.” “Oh, reading, reading, what book have you got?” I thumb the page and lift it so she can read the cover. She tilts her head this way and that to read the spiralling text in a way very reminiscent of my mother, mouthing the words to herself. “’Allen Ginsberg’, is he any good?” “Depends what you mean by good,” I say, and she looks lost for how to continue. A moment ticks past, I check my watch and feel something in me droop. I close the book and meet her eyes. “Long day?” She is delighted to chat, and with thankfully minimal effort on my part, she steams ahead. I tell her where I work, that I’m headed to meet some friends, that I take this train every day; she regales me with tales of quiet rural life, how she’s here for a visit, her husband is back at the hotel, napping. “So, I’m going to see the concert all on my own—in The Big City!” She says it conspiratorially, quite the novelty for her. I ask if she comes to The Big City often, and she tells me her son lives here, so yes, they do quite often. Out comes the photo reel of a blond twentysomething with square glasses and a squarer jaw. She swipes through more than twenty red-eye spotted, blurry pictures, each with an enthusiastic explanation. “That’s all of us on a hike—you go hiking?” It’s a question but she only glances in my general direction before carrying on, “It’s nice you have so much nature nearby, I couldn’t be in a city all the time without nature... and that’s the view from Johnny’s building—he’s in I.T., that’s the 7th floor, you know—oh, and here he is with Marie, his girlfriend, she’s very pretty—do you have a girlfriend?”


“Ah…” How articulate. Why did she have to pause here for fuck’s sake? The discomfort is radiating off of me, but her face curious and waiting, innocently ruddy in the sunset. “Not… Not quite my area. “ “Oh.” She leans back in her seat. “Do you have a… boyfriend?” She holds the word in her mouth as if holding aloft a dead mouse. “Yep,” I want to curl in on myself but refuse to. She turns back to her phone and keeps flicking through her camera roll with unfocussed eyes. I suppose we are done talking. The urge to ease her discomfort simmers in me, vying for an unwarranted boil. Not my responsibility; not my problem. Shouldn’t be my problem. The light is dimming fast outside the scratched window, the train is juddering over a short bridge and— “What stop was that?” I swivel and crane my neck to read aloud from the destination display at the far end of the compartment. “It’s okay, I think you need the next one, right?” But the lady is staring at the place where cool air is touching my neck. When I catch her face, it’s switching very quickly from shock to such a level of distaste that she can’t conceal it. The moment her nose twitches I know the direction her thoughts have taken and the way she looks sharply out the window tells me everything else. My throat is a tacky kind of dry and my face is prickling but everything else is cold. I wonder exactly what she’s picturing in her head to make her face pinch up like that. I don’t panic, because I don’t really feel an immediate threat in her disgust. I just let her leave without a goodbye and carry on with the weight of her revulsion still filling the air. It sinks past the skin and stains me without permission. It won’t wash clean for a long time. When I see Noah again, we drink tea in the park by the pale blue phlox. We go to the library and when his fingers run the spines, they come away greyish. He leaves smears on every page of the stories he reads to me while sat in the section that smells like old parchment. We take off our coats at home and watch a film before bed. I don’t share a word, because I don’t want to stain the moment, and the stain isn’t the issue. I wake first in the morning having dreamt of pages overflowing with words and dusty fingerprints and wonder which is more eloquent. Ink is just as much of a blemish if you’re expecting a clean white page. Somewhen between Monday and Tuesday, the hickey fades to a discolouration so slight it is almost invisible. ☐

The ocean has skin Words Nahum Gale Artwork Vinica Teng

you, my darling, are an eastern aphrodite / came to be from the seafoam, afar but you, my darling, hath not seen the sea / hence you know not that the ocean has skin your hair, it trickles / like the creek that feeds the river and gives way to the great blue it ebbs, it flows / it curves like a stream around the valley of your chest / your breasts, a peak, unto their own sand dune skin, sculpting biblical truths / and dear, the hair lay fallen like autumn leaves but all lay praise to the garden of earthly delights / the chasm of life / eyes unto your holy vagina dream dearly of this untouched meadow / where all creeks, peaks, sand and leaves are birthed sunflower of pubis fields / awaken clitoris root / give way, your genitalia utopia soil of the flesh / sunk deep, young mother life on earth evolves / as do you alas, cometh the day for purity fucked away / you fear not the serpents in your tree you fear not the ripe apples / nor the cum (the poison) yet to penetrate you fear only the sin shedding ye adolescent flower patch / negating birds – and bees, violently pollenating / you lay awake observing your honeycomb tower lay mother, naked as you came / for a while, at least, with your head against waves younger than the 6am sun / you cradle the hill that stirs earthquakes unto the land you know not the toll / you know not the weight / for mother, atlas knew not of your shoulders and you recall the night to come / a lonely island amongst a sea salt tub blood spoiled the waters / your weeps dripping into the seas my darling, your soil was cold / and nothing grew again / afloat, ‘twas your placenta and I still sit awake at night / moonlight on my dick for my body be no temple / but I speak to the ocean with the sway of my hips a many a woman I have fucked in my days / but all of whom, I praise to you my darling mother of ocean waves / caress forever and a day, onwards eastern aphrodite / I see you caught up inside so, say you want to leave / well, that would be alright



Ethical Tricks: An etiquette guide for clients of the sex industry Edition 33 2020

Words and artwork Kitty Belle

This piece is an extract from the Red Delicious Collective’s guide for clients of the sex work industry. The Red Delicious Collective acknowledges that privilege and intersectionality create different experiences for workers in Australia, and globally. While this article aims to empower sex workers, Red Delicious Collective are aware that not all workers can select to work in an environment where rights can be sought, or indeed choose to work or not.



Entering a parlour As you enter a sex work establishment the receptionist is your first point of call. Receptionists are often the backbone of the business, taking on many roles including security. Take the time to show courtesy to your host by wiping your feet, being friendly and well behaved. Look after them and they are sure to look after you. Worker introductions If a prior booking has not been made, a client will be introduced to the workers available on shift. If you find that you are not interested in seeing a worker who comes to introduce themselves to you, please still be polite; not all workers are for every client but everyone deserves common decency. As introductions are often not obligatory and a transaction has yet to be made, please do not try to be physical with the worker in this time unless otherwise guided. “Intros [client introductions] are always a little nervewracking, meeting a stranger and being looked over and compared to other workers takes some getting used to.” During bookings Tip the worker! Even simply leaving your change really means a lot and is also an indicator that you have enjoyed your booking. For a worker, bringing up services outside the base rate paid is not always easy; some workers don’t want to seem pushy. So don’t be afraid to ask, however, it is not okay to keep asking if what you are after is not on offer. Keep good hygiene. This includes nice fresh clothes, using cologne (not too much), showering prior to the booking, practising good dental hygiene and using a mint/gum for fresh breath, and making sure genitals and other areas which may contain bacteria are clean. When the booking has come to a close it is polite to not create so much conversation as to take the worker overtime, as there are likely other bookings for them to attend. “I have decided to never date my clients as it can easily complicate things, I genuinely appreciate many connections I have formed, but I will never take it further” Pushing boundaries and consent It is a worker’s right to feel safe and be treated with respect at work. There is a common assumption amongst clients that workers want to be pleasured as


a default. This can lead to non-consensual touching. It is the responsibility of the client to practice consensual interactions with your selected worker. There is no dancing around the subject, unconsented activity is absolutely not on. This is harassment or this can be assault. You may traumatise your worker. Be a good client, ask don’t assume. The worker will most likely charge more for extra services like touching, so come in cashed-up if you know you want to get handsy/need more than just the basics. It is a worker’s right to select what they are comfortable with providing in a booking, and this may change shift to shift. Don’t come to a booking with an “I’ve paid for you” attitude. You have not paid for the person, you have paid for their services, and all workers provide something different. “I become extremely uncomfortable when a client starts groping me without my consent, there is a genuine fear of a loss of control of the booking. I then have to be stern and kill the mood, giving less affection because I am uncomfortable. I don’t go to work to be harassed, none of us do.” Privacy Mechanics or florists do not come to work to date, and most workers in the sex industry don’t either. In fact, many are already in healthy, full-time relationships. As most workers would like to keep a professional worker/ client relationship, asking for a worker’s number or pressing to see them outside of work only creates an air of awkwardness and may lead to the termination of services. It is preferable that you don’t ask personal questions like how much a worker makes or how many clients they have seen for the day. This does not need to be exchanged and delves into sensitive information. Sexual health Be sure to get regular check-ups at your local sexual health clinic. Workers want to work safely and to limit the spread of STIs. If a worker selects to use personal protective equipment (condoms, gloves, dental dams, etc.) please respect that this is a normal part of minimising the risk of exposure.

If you’d like to read the Red Delicious Collective’s full version of ‘Ethical Tricks: An etiquette guide for clients of the sex industry’, contact Kitty at


Words and artwork Sam Brown

Verse Magazine

Created by students for all students. Verse Mag is your UniSA magazine. It’s unusual, unconventional and pretty damn cool. Submit your work and stay up to date with everything Verse, including the latest stories, reviews, release dates and heaps more at 53

How juicy is your fruit? Eggplant isn’t a fruit? Fruits aren’t sexy? Think again. So you’re trying to impress your main squeeze. Perhaps you need to show someone you love berry much just how grapeful you are? You’ll find this sexy collection of mineral- and vitaminrich fruits alluring. And even if you don’t, we still love you. You’re one in a melon, baby. Words Jordan White Artwork Leah Nolan



Peach Sex appeal: Juicy Lucy Made (in)famous by that Call Me By Your Name scene, peaches are tender, sweet, and taste like summer. Unless you like it juicy, enjoy this one outside. Make it into iced tea or do with it what you please. Stay away from the nut… er pit, though. Those bad boys are laced with hydrogen cyanide.

Banana Sex appeal: Sex goddess Ah, the humble banana. Potassium-rich and sure to delight, this versatile snack will keep you going for hours. Slice it up with a load of peanut butter, add it to your oats, take it to go, do whatever you like. Just don’t leave it in your bag for too long because there’s nothing apeeling about a mushy banana.

Eggplant Sex appeal: Odin’s saggy nut Seriously, what even is an eggplant? ‘Sexual’ use of the eggplant emoji is banned on Facebook and Instagram for a reason (plot twist: because there’s nothing sexy about them). If you’re not a plant or an egg, I’m not sure what you are. Can you eat these raw? Who knows. Safe to say I’ll forever be an eggplant virgin.

Strawberries Sex appeal: Cuteee.. They may not be the sexiest fruits from the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Strawberries are cheap and easy going—just like your last fling. Feeling extra seductive? Dip them in chocolate. Oh baby, now we’re dripping.

Pomegranate Sex appeal: Drippingly moist Mysterious yet sophisticated, some studies suggest the pomegranate improves one’s libido. Don’t be shy to get your hands—or mouth—dirty with this one, and be sure to always treat it respectfully. I’ve heard pomegranates tend to get seedy.












Across 3. Fire Starter 5. Buzzes like your phone but definitely isn’t your phone 7. Don’t let the love bugs bite 9. Latex protection for oral sex 10. Used to hang out clothes Down 1. A non-binary version of a bimbo 2. Will Smith does this 4. The fruit that tempted eve 6. Drink too much and regret it the next morning 8. Pot of gold at the end of the...

Puzzle Master Anna Day Solutions on page 62








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Edition 33 2020

The signs according to Sex Education Artwork Emma Horner Words Anna Day (also a real astrologer)

“I’m owning my narrative!”


Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

Eric Effiong “Wash your hands, you detty pig.” The planets, the World Health Organisation, and Eric have spoken. This isn’t a horoscope, it’s a public health announcement.

Taurus Apr 20 - May 20

Adam Groff “Everyone’s got a picture of my lovely big dick.” Skip to page 5 if you want to see it too.

Gemini May 21 - June 20

Lily Iglehart “To be clear, I don’t want to have sex with you specifically. Just a human man with a penis.” Sometimes, we think were asking for a lot but maybe we should ask for a little. And then you’ll get less but maybe that’s more? Size doesn’t matter Gemini, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

Aimee Gibbs “I’ve been wanking all night. I ate four packets of crumpets, and I think my clit might drop off.” There’s nothing left on the supermarket shelves. F**king calm down Cancer, nobody needs that many crumpets.

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

Jackson Marchetti “You know, it’s weird. You’re my age, but wise. You’re like my mum... in a little man’s body.” Mars is on the retreat, so if there are unhealed rifts in your life now is the time for you to resolve them. Often, it’s best to make the first move. Ask adversaries to apologise for their offences and buy you a cake.

Virgo Aug 23 - Sept 22

Otis Milburn “We all have flaws, and our bodies do things we have no control over. But we can always control being truthful.” Don’t worry, astrologers always tell the truth.

Libra Sept 23 - Oct 22

Dr Jean Milburn “I think I realized I’d become too independent for relationships.” Charge your crystals and keep a 1.5 metre radius. We’re social distancing, babyyyyy.

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

Viv Odesanya “I’m chairing the algebra group then I have to write a letter to my Polynesian pen pals. Other people do have lives too.” Venus just jizzed on Jupiter, so prioritising yourself is important at the moment.

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

Mr Hendricks “Ed Sheeran. I mean, say what you want about the little fella, but he’s a total genius right?” Vitiligo is in your quarter this full moon, meaning you should set aside old prejudices. Also, avoid small, ginger-haired men.

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

Ruby Mathews “I covet your pantsuits” Want what you can’t have. It’ll keep you striving for greatness.

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

Maeve Wiley “All of our brains are slowly dying. You’re not unique.” Hey Aquarius. You’re a sensitive, feeling type. Did you know that this is because you’re ruled by Uranus and Satan Saturn?.

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

Ola Nyman “You’re not a kangaroo, Otis, you’re an asshole.” Marsupials keep it in their pouches and if the situation isn’t right, you probably should too.


Club Feature: The Rainbow Club Artwork Lucy Edwards Interview Anna Day


Who are the Rainbow Club?

We are seven fabulous students of various sexualities, genders, political beliefs, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, who are undertaking different degrees. What unites us is our commitment to ensuring all queer students at UniSA have a positive, safe, and supportive experience. We chat every day, and have forged solid friendships over the years, so the club is a big part of our lives. We all have different roles within the club but no hierarchy. We contribute what we can, and learn from each other.

The Rainbow Club is here for students of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities. How does the Rainbow Club support students if they’re not out?

If you’re not out, you’re not alone—some of our members and executives aren’t out to everyone in their lives. So supporting people experiencing this is something we’re very conscious about. Queerness is valid regardless of whether a person is out or not. We’re always available to talk over Facebook or email, and we’ll never out anyone against their wishes. We want to provide opportunities for people to be openly queer, especially on-campus, which is why we’re working with UniSA to establish a queer space. Our focus is getting one at both City West and Mawson Lakes because City East students have access to the University of Adelaide’s George Duncan Room (apologies to Magill fam—we heart you but R.I.P. campus consolidation). Much of our social media is about what it’s like to be queer and from a culturally and linguistic background, so we share people’s personal experiences of what it’s like to not be completely out. We strongly recommend following our Facebook page for heaps of useful queer articles and memes.

The Rainbow Club has been going strong for five years now and has become an essential part of UniSA. What are some of your proudest moments as a club?

We are very proud of the work we’ve done together with our allies within UniSA to make the Ally Network a reality. It’s taken almost three years, but we’re nearly ready to launch it. If students are facing issues related to being a queer student, they will finally have formal support from a group of staff. Winning USASA Club Awards every year since 2017 has also been a great feeling. USASA has gone above and beyond in supporting us over the years, and to have our achievements recognised is both incredibly humbling and motivating. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to achieve our other goals soon as we’re always busy making steady progress behind the scenes.

Tell us about the 2020 Queer Ball coming up on April 3? Is that still going ahead?

We were really looking forward to it but decided to cancel the ball based on the health advice around COVID-19 and social distancing. It was going to be spy-themed and would’ve been the 4th joint ball between The Queer Society, Flinders University Queer Collective, and University of Adelaide Pride Club. We kept ticket prices low at $40 (compared to $200 for some other balls) because our goal is accessibility rather than profit, so we’ve refunded all tickets. We intend to hold it later this year, but we’ll see how 2020 goes...

How can allies support the Rainbow Club?

Listen to queer people and our individual experiences. For real, legit genuinely listen to us and what we have to say and what we want you to do to help us. In order to work better with our community, be open-minded to learning about our members. Acknowledge that each person has different levels of knowledge about the queer community and that equity can only be achieved through a critical self-reflection of what we know and how we can move forward. Don’t be woke and throw one group of us under the bus because you think another group of us deserves more support. Intersex and gender diverse people face societal obstacles that white, gay men don’t. We encourage supportive staff to join the Ally Network. We need your support to foster institutional change and make UniSA a leader in supporting queer students. We’re all in this together. Join the club. ☐


USASA Academic Advocacy Free, confidential & independent advice. Advocates help you to pursue your rights on a wide range of academic troubles & can increase your chances of receiving a positive outcome.


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Crossword Solutions Across

SUDOKU Solutions Easy

Not So-Easy

3. Fire Starter (tinder) 5. Buzzes like your phone but definitely isn’t your phone (vibrator) 7. Don’t let the love bugs bite (hickey) 9. Latex protection for oral sex (dentaldam) 10. Used to hang out clothes (peg)

Down 1. A non-binary version of a bimbo (thembo) 2. Will Smith does this (jiggy) 4. The fruit that tempted eve (pomegranate) 6. Drink too much and regret it the next morning (champagne) 8. Pot of gold at the end of the... (rainbow)

Puzzle Master Anna Day

President’s Letter Hello again, and welcome back to another President’s Letter. It’s an interesting time to be a student at the moment with the unfolding COVID-19 issue. USASA has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that the student voice is heard throughout the uni at such an important time. As a result of COVID-19, USASA has had to move most of what we do online, so whether you’re reading this as a physical magazine or online, thank you for still supporting Verse. This is uncharted territory for most of us, and with the changes that we see happening, it’s important to take care of yourselves in this trying time. Make sure that you’re following the health care advice as dictated by the authorities, but also take some time for self-care. Don’t forget to check up on your mates either, even if that means substituting pub hangouts and dinners with a phone call. It’s times like this when we need to come together (although not physically) as a community and look out for one another. As always, USASA is here for you. If you’re struggling with money, make sure you get in touch with our financial counsellor, and if you’ve got any issues with study, talk to our advocates. If you’ve got a general enquiry or question for us, make sure you send us an email too. Make sure you follow all of the USASA social media accounts, and keep an eye on your emails for the latest updates. It may seem like society is stopping, but rest assured, USASA is still working, albeit from home now!




Free wellbeing events for all students.

UniTopia Online is here to help you check-in and chill out from the comfort of your own home! Join in from anywhere. Any time. For two weeks of free, health & wellbeing events. All the activities on offer across the two weeks aim to help you: • • • • •

Relax: Be calm, rest & worry less Move: Strengthen your body & mind Create: Bring your ideas to life Connect: Find a sense of belonging & purpose Nourish: Eat well to support your health and wellbeing

UniTopia Online kicks off: Monday 4 May until Friday 15 May Running 2 sessions each day: 11am & 2pm For more information head to


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