February 24th 2018
7:00 pm - 8:45 pm
245 Wilson St
Eveleigh NSW 2015
In this unforgettable Queer Thinking co-presentation with Trans Sydney Pride, a diverse range of trans people will share their experiences and truth in an evening of storytelling covering Struggle and Sequins, Love and Life. Hear stories of survival, resilience and finding happiness in their authentic selves throughout the four decades of Mardi Gras.
With speakers covering four decades, discover just how very far we’ve come with trans visibility, acceptance and pride. There in the melee of 1978, in every festival, every parade and on stage at every party since. Hear about the early struggles, the glamour of the sequins, the resilience in creating a successful trans life and the power to love ourselves, our family’s and partners.
Meet the storytellers:
Karen is a true pioneer and living legend in the history of Sydney drag. At the very young age of 15 Karen decided she would pursue a feminine lifestyle, being drawn into the glamorous world of fashion and the catwalk. Karen was hired by June Millinery in Sydney to create her style of ladies headdress, and being the first male milliner in Australia drew enormous publicity - from there her star status began.
In the early 1960s Karen debuted as the compare of the first all-male revue in Australia, The Jewel Box coffee shop in Kings Cross. What followed was an extraordinary career that saw Karen perform at arguably every historical venue of the last century: The Purple Onion 62, Les Girls 63, Ivy’s Birdcage 67 and her own club Karen’s Kastle 68.
Karen was a big star, who throughout the 70s headlined (along with Rose Jackson) the most well-known of gay showrooms Capriccio’s, also known as International Vanities. These excellent production shows are now the source of fond memories for all who visited.
Karen went on to make guest appearances at the Balmain Town Hall hotel and Polly’s Follies at both the Albury Hotel and Stonewall. For the past 40 years Karen has been performing for The Pollys Club, the longest running gay social club in Australia, and now at 86 years old occasionally performs for charity at The Venue in Pattaya, Thailand donating her time for the street kids of Pattaya.
Katherine is an experienced Senior Project Manager, who is a member of the Complex Programme Management practice within IBM. She is highly respected within IBM as a person who is driven and can deliver projects without the compromise of quality.
Katherine leads the A/NZ IBM’s Employee Alliance for LGBTI Empowerment, otherwise known as EAGLE. This is a Business Resource Group for LGBTI employees and their allies at IBM. The objective is to promote a safe and open working environment for our members and all employees, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The aim is to foster a strong sense of community within IBM and to facilitate networking, mentoring and ongoing education.
As a Transgender woman, Katherine uses her standing in the corporate world to influence, to effect change and continue the fight of equality in the workplace.
Kaya is both a scientist and a writer, studying the impact of tsunami on Australian coastlines and writing about all things queer and wonderful. He is part English, part African and wholly Australian. Kaya tells stories because that is how we share our humanity and the humanity of trans people is something we can't forget. He is a visible and out trans man who wants to make things better for our community and entertain you along the way.
It seems little known now, that way back in the late 1970s our little part of the world here in Sydney experienced a phenomenon with the existence of a subculture of transgender women in such large numbers that remains unexplainable.
I was an active participant of this subculture and as a Les Girls showgirl I worked hard doing three shows, six nights a week, entertaining locals and tourists. We were seen as freaks on the one hand and as the most beautiful boys in the world on the other. But in Kings Cross, along with the strippers, the callgirls and other associated misfits we were at the heart of Sydney’s then exciting nightlife.
These days as a writer, I tell the stories of Sydney’s LGBTI history, Gay Sydney and my memories of Kings Cross – I love to share the connection of the past and the present.
Peta is a Trans Advocate, public speaker and founder of Trans Sydney Pride.
Born in 1961 and raised in Sydney, Peta transitioned in the year 2000 from male to female. “Transitioning enabled me to live an authentic life, after years of living in the dark I felt I was finally able to step into the light”. Peta is a Skin Therapist with a career spanning over 30 years, she is the owner and operator of Will And Peta Skin Clinic.
Peta’s passion is to raise awareness of Transgender issues through education and support.
Trans Stories was conceived and developed by Peta and she is the producer of this event for Trans Sydney Pride.
Lisa Freashwater and AJ Brown
AJ Brown is a proud transman, trans activist, landscape designer and artist. He was born in Derbyshire in the UK in 1967. He’s a qualified horticulturalist, structural landscaper, landscape designer and director of Evolve Garden Concepts.
After medically transitioning FTM in 2015 AJ turned his focus to trans activism and is an admin for the online groups Trans Sydney Pride (TSP), TSP Family, Friends and Allies, Trans Melbourne Pride and Transgender International. He’s spoken in TSP’s Trans Stories and modelled for the Aurora foundations [STYLE] aGender.
Lisa is a theatre director and producer and co-founder of The Theatre Division. Currently TTD are producing the national tour of Miracle City which opened at Sydney Opera House in October 2017 and Thai-riffic! which opened this year and will tour nationally in 2019. In 2014 TTD produced and Lisa directed the critically acclaimed and award winning production of Ruthless! The Musical at The Seymour Centre.
Lisa and AJ have been together for thirteen years, eleven of those years in a same sex relationship. They have a sixteen-year-old son.
Chrissy Doyle is a 34-year-old trans woman who grew up in Wollongong. Chrissy began her transition at 31 and works as a personal assistant for The Theatre Division in Sydney. She is very family oriented and loves spending time with her friends and lives with her amazing partner Ray. Chrissy has told her story of life and love for Trans Sydney Pride’s Trans Stories on previous occasions - with not a dry eye in the house!