;

Episode 8: ‘The Transgender Experience’ out now!

The conversation around transitioning and the life of a transgender person is still unbelievably being questioned to this day. It’s an area that desperately needs positive change and representation as we fight for safety, awareness and the kind of gender euphoria experienced by cis people every single day.

In this episode of Queer Thinking we have the rare opportunity to discuss the trans experience without input or moderation by non-trans individuals. The guests and host, Triana Butler (she/them), discuss the nuances of living life as a trans person and the unique challenges and needs the community faces.

Keeping things uplifting. We look at the powerful and beneficial movements we’ve seen within the world and within the guests own gender journeys. Joining Triana is Erin (they/them), a trans non-binary Sydneysider who founded and runs their own gender expression store called Sock Drawer Heroes. Erin is able to share their journey of gender affirmation and the way they’ve been able to help the trans community and provide a service that is desperately needed.

We’re also joined by Bambi (she/her), a trans woman from Melbourne who has amassed a following of millions online as a content creator documenting her own transition and life as a trans person. Bambi shares her unique perspective, how she handles all the attention and the way she’s able to positively influence the space through trans advocacy.

  • This articles was written by our Pro-Bono legal partner Minter Ellison.

    Melbourne based Evan Kastrinakis is a proud member of @MinterEllison’s LGBTQIA+ network, PRIME, and husband to Brent Lacey, a proud 78er with an incredible story.

    Evan recently shared what marching in 2023 means to him. Click here to read his story.

    Evan can you share with us the incredible story of your husband Brent as a 78er?

    Brent shared his story with me 27 years ago when we met, and I didn’t quite believe it. The first “Mardi Gras” (a gay solidarity meeting)) was held in memory of a violent police raid on members of the gay community at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village New York in 1969.

    Known as the Stonewall riots, the raid marked the birth of a new radical wave of gay and lesbian liberation worldwide. On the anniversary of Stonewall nine years later, on Saturday 24 June 1978 in Sydney, a group of gay and lesbian activists had a day of meetings and celebrations in Oxford Street Darlinghurst so people could celebrate lesbian and gay freedom without persecution. Late evening in Taylor’s Square a group of activists gathered and marched down Oxford Street yelling ‘out of the bars, onto the street’ which resulted in, an unprovoked violent police attack on the celebrations led to the arrest of many involved. The NSW Police published the names of all arrested and as a result many were outed, lost their jobs, and were completely disenfranchised from family and friends. Brent remembers this night well as he had managed to avoid arrest. The violence that night led to a surge of energy within the gay community. So, what started as a grassroots movement, is now commemorated each year as the incredible Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. The NSW Police have come such a long way and now support and lead the parade.

    We’ve heard also that Brent initiated the Australian Red ribbon Project to build awareness for HIV/AIDS. Can you tell us more?

    Brent introduced the concept of wearing a red ribbon to Australia in the  early 90s. That was in the day of the “Grim Reaper” AIDS campaign and lots of misinformation, homophobia and stigma for HIV positive people. Brent introduced the red ribbon as a symbol of awareness and solidarity in memory of many friends fighting the battle with HIV/AIDS. Brent was a flight attendant which allowed him to establish the red ribbons in other States and to distribute amongst big corporates and retailers which led to Brent receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1995.

    That’s incredible. In 2023 the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will be held for the 45th time. As you will be marching for @MinterEllison and Brent will be marching for the 78ers, can you share with us how that makes you both feel?

    I know Brent will be extremely proud to march with the 78ers. For us both however, it’s really about justice and equality for all. That we’re all under the eyes of the law and we’re all considered equal. Mardi Gras doesn’t just change lives; it saves lives! It’s also about celebrating bringing your whole self to work and not having to censor ourselves or adjust to a norm. This accepting culture is the essence of @MinterEllison, and one of the reasons I joined the firm. I was impressed to learn the firm have provided pro bono legal support to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for many years, and then of course to hear about the wonderful work of the LGBTQIA+ network, PRIME, of which I am now a proud member.

     L to R: Evan Kastrinakis and Brent Lacey at the 20th anniversary of Mardi Gras in 1998

    Evan will proudly march alongside 80 colleagues in the 2023 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade as it returns to Oxford Street in February.  The Sydney WorldPride 2023 theme of “Gather Dream Amplify” inspired MinterEllison‘s interpretation “Dream, Strive, Thrive”. Equality, inclusion and respect started with a dream. Let’s strive to make this dream a reality. When the dream is real, we all thrive.

    Minter Ellison’s connection to the Mardi Gras 78ers
  • This articles was written by our Pro-Bono legal partner Minter Ellison.

    Brisbane Partner Jennifer Veiga from @MinterEllison’s Workplace team, specialises in advising on and undertaking workplace investigations. She is also a proud member of @MinterEllison’s PRIME network, which focuses on creating an inclusive and safe workplace for their LGBTQIA+, non-binary, gender diverse and intersex people.

    Read on to learn more about Jennifer’s personal journey and how she is proud to strive for justice and equality on the eve of Sydney WorldPride 2023.

    Jennifer in 2002, as a Colorado Senator, you made history as the first openly gay person in the Colorado legislature. Can you tell us more about that?

    Yes, I was first elected in 1996 and resigned in 2009 to move to Australia. I didn’t run as an openly gay candidate but never tried to hide my sexuality. Like any candidate I wanted to be recognised and respected for the work I did. When running for re-election in the early 2000s, an opponent tried to make an issue of my sexual orientation which led to my decision to come out publicly.  

    Although the process of coming out in such a public way was terrifying at times, I was ultimately re-elected by a large margin. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and was such a freeing feeling not to have to self-censure or worry about what people knew. This is probably why I’m so committed to the goals of PRIME –so that everybody can feel supported to be out at work if that is their choice.   

    I spent a lot of my time in the Colorado legislature trying to pass laws to protect LGBTQIA+ individuals in employment and other areas of public life. In Australia we take it for granted that you cannot fire somebody or refuse to hire them because of their sexuality but that is not the case elsewhere. I think the upcoming WorldPride festival is a timely reminder that in many countries across the world, LGBTQIA+ individuals still don’t have these fundamental protections. It’s an ongoing issue of civil rights.

    Can you tell us a little about how you became a part of PRIME (Pride, Respect and Inclusion at @MinterEllison)?

    My colleague Gordon Williams a Sydney Partner, was instrumental in getting PRIME started at @MinterEllison. I knew Gordon through the Workplace team and he asked if I’d be willing to join the committee. Eventually I joined Gordon as an executive co-sponsor of PRIME. I felt it was an important thing to start up as we had no LGBTQIA+ inclusion strategy or network. This was more than seven years ago and since then, we have seen the growth of PRIME to almost 500 members firmwide which shows just how much we have evolved as an organisation.

    At PRIME’s inception, we wanted to make sure @MinterEllison had a visible presence of LGBTQIA+ inclusion so that our people felt comfortable being out at work and felt they had someone to safely talk to about being out at work and what that might involve for them. The network has evolved over time to include education and training, advocacy, client engagement and so much more.

    Brisbane Partner, Jennifer Veiga at the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade


    How does it make you feel to march in the 2023 Mardi Gras parade?

    Very proud. Especially as I’ll march as part of an organisation that so openly celebrates its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    Jennifer’s passion for inclusion and equality for all is echoed by many across MinterEllison, who are excited to proudly march for the fourth time in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade as it returns to Oxford Street in 2023!

    Jennifer Veiga: a proud member of Minter Ellison’s PRIME network
  • Release from the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage

    Key city roads that have forged the path of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade since 1978 are being recognised for their state significance by the NSW Government.

    NSW Minister for Heritage James Griffin has added the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade route to the NSW State Heritage Register in what will be its 45th year, and ahead of Sydney hosting WorldPride 2023.

    “Adding the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade route to our State Heritage Register acknowledges the pivotal role it has had in shaping the social history of New South Wales, and celebrates how after years of community activism it contributed to better acceptance, understanding and equality for LGBTIQA+ communities,” Mr Griffin said.

    “This well-trodden 2.4 kilometre stretch has paved the way for a more inclusive Sydney since 1978, making our Mardi Gras the longest-running continuous LGBTIQA+ rights march in the world.

    “The Heritage Listed route includes parts of Oxford Street, Flinders Street, Anzac Parade and Darlinghurst Road, as well as the Darlinghurst Police Station, where protesters were arrested.”

    Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said the State Heritage Listing is an important milestone for all Sydneysiders, particularly those who have marched.

    “Every year, we see hundreds of thousands of people march along this world-famous route, to unite the community and celebrate equality,” Mr Franklin said.

    “The Mardi Gras is important to Australia’s cultural identity, empowering people to gather and celebrate diversity in a safe and inclusive way.

    “This year’s Mardi Gras is going to be bigger and better than ever, alongside Sydney’s first ever WorldPride 2023, with activities featuring more than 300 events over 17 days.”

    Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade route State Heritage Listing celebrates the legacy of original protesters who stood up for recognition and acceptance in Australian society.

    “The courage of those who marched in 1978 was inspiring and reaped results,” Ms Moore said.

    “The City of Sydney strongly supports the Heritage Listing of this important route and its role in hosting marginalised communities and social protest. We are committed to ensuring that the history and identity of Oxford Street and its surrounding neighbourhood is properly recognised and will strengthen its LGBTIQA+ character.”

    One of the original 1978 protestors was author and activist Peter de Waal AM.

    “During our 1978 Sydney Mardi Gras parade, we, with fearful angry voices, shouted: ‘Stop police attacks – on gays, women, and blacks’,” Mr de Waal said.

    “Many years later, our rainbow community now parades there with proud pride, diversity, and belonging.

    “For many, our 1978 route became a rite of passage.”

    Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said the impact of LGBTIQA+ pioneers who first walked the route in 1978 is still felt today.

    “Oxford Street and its surrounds have a deep-rooted connection to the equality movement in Australia and have long been a safe space for our communities to gather, celebrate and protest,” Mr Kruger said.

    “State Heritage recognition of the Parade route is an international statement on the importance of creating and protecting LGBTIQA+ spaces.”

    For more information, visit the Heritage NSW website.

    Photo credit: Tim Pascoe

    Mardi Gras Parade route added to the NSW Heritage Register
  • This articles was written by our Pro-Bono legal partner Minter Ellison.

    On the eve of their fourth successive year of marching in the parade, MinterEllison continues to provide pro bono legal support to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. As a proud partner of the Mardi Gras for more than 25 years, it’s not surprising to learn that @MinterEllison’s PRIME LGBTQIA+ network is comprised of almost 500 members.    

    The PRIME network was launched in November 2015 and since then almost 25% of MinterEllison employees have joined as a member or ally. The group is open to all employees who identify as LGBTQIA+ and their allies, with members joining from all of MinterEllison’s Australian offices.  

    Recognising the strength of the partnership, starting in 2020 and continuing in 2021 and 2022, MinterEllison was the first and only commercial law firm to march in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras – a momentous occasion for the Firm and its employees. 

    CEO Virginia Briggs is a passionate advocate of the PRIME network and actively promotes LGBTQIA+ inclusion through internal and external communications and has proudly marched in the Mardi Gras parade for @MinterEllison each year. 

    MinterEllison has provided significant pro bono legal advice to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – totalling more than 60,000 hours in the 12 months leading up to Sydney WorldPride.

    In December 2018, MinterEllison launched its Gender Affirmation Policy supporting gender diverse or transgender colleagues who are considering a transition to affirm their gender identity.   

    MinterEllison was awarded an AWEI Gold Employer at the LGBTI Inclusion Awards in May 2022, having also achieved Gold Employer status twice before. These Awards recognise employers who have made a significant impact on LGBTQIA+ inclusion within their workplace. 

    PRIME’s key achievements in the last 12 months include: 

    • celebrating LGBTQIA+ days of significance with events nationally including IDAHOBIT Day, Mardi Gras and Wear it Purple Day.  
    • raising funds for LGBTQIA+ charities such as The Pinnacle Foundation and Minus18.  
    • connecting with LGBTQIA+ law students through their Law Student Societies via round table discussions, sponsorship and mentoring. 

    The Sydney WorldPride 2023 theme of “Gather Dream Amplify” inspired MinterEllison’s interpretation “ Dream, Strive, Thrive”. Equality, inclusion and respect started with a dream. We strive to make this dream a reality. When the dream is real, we all thrive.  

    https://www.minterellison.com/

    PRIME (Pride, respect and inclusion at Minter Ellison): Minter Ellison’s LGBTQIA+ network
  • The conversation around transitioning and the life of a transgender person is still unbelievably being questioned to this day. It’s an area that desperately needs positive change and representation as we fight for safety, awareness and the kind of gender euphoria experienced by cis people every single day.

    In this episode of Queer Thinking we have the rare opportunity to discuss the trans experience without input or moderation by non-trans individuals. The guests and host, Triana Butler (she/them), discuss the nuances of living life as a trans person and the unique challenges and needs the community faces.

    Keeping things uplifting. We look at the powerful and beneficial movements we’ve seen within the world and within the guests own gender journeys. Joining Triana is Erin (they/them), a trans non-binary Sydneysider who founded and runs their own gender expression store called Sock Drawer Heroes. Erin is able to share their journey of gender affirmation and the way they’ve been able to help the trans community and provide a service that is desperately needed.

    We’re also joined by Bambi (she/her), a trans woman from Melbourne who has amassed a following of millions online as a content creator documenting her own transition and life as a trans person. Bambi shares her unique perspective, how she handles all the attention and the way she’s able to positively influence the space through trans advocacy.

    The Transgender Experience
  • Bisexuality is a mis and underrepresented part of the LGBTQIA+ community. As more people identify as multi-gender attracted, more conversations are highlighting thenuances of bi identity and the detrimental impacts of bi erasure.

    Today, we’ll be delving into the world of those who are bisexual and multi-gender attracted.Some studies have shown that these communities actually make up the majority of people across the LGBTQIA+ acronym!Never confused, neverjuston-the-way to being gay or being straight, and definitely not just a phase.

    Joining the podcast we haveSteven Spencer,who first came out as gay, and now identifies as pansexual.Steven walks us through that journey of discovery, realising that there are binaries to break even within our own communities.He also shares his stories of navigating the dating world while being HIV positive.

    Anna Kochetkova also joins the conversation, sharing her story of growing up in Russia and what it was like being queer in a country where peopleare prosecutedfor being who they are.She chats about her book,Bi and Prejudice- her story of connecting the dots of identity and sexuality across years, continents and cultures.

    Finally, I’m joined byBree Mountain, the creative director ofBiCONIC, an all-inclusive party and events organisation for the Bi+ community and their allies.

    The Bi+ Experience
  • The relationship between our LGBTQIA+ communities and religion is a complicated one – many queer people have had adverse experiences with religion, whether it’s being told that their identities are not compatible with their beliefs, that some behaviours are sinful, or they’ll be forced through conversion practices in the hopes they can be changed. But for some people, being queer and religious is at the core of their identities and in this episode of Queer Thinking, we’ll be chatting to LGBTQIA+ people of faith. This episode of Queer Thinking discusses conversion practices and the relationship the queer community has with religion. For a list of LGBTQIA+ support services head to mardigras.org.au/support
    Being Queer & Religious
  • We enjoyed round one of our Queer Sex chat so much, we thought it would be best to go back for round two – and in this episode of Queer Thinking, we’re going deeper. First up, we’ll chat to Mistress Tokyo – one of Sydney’s premier BDSM Dominatrices. Mistress Tokyo shares their experience on the incredible world of BDSM, her clientele, boundaries, safe words as well as what she loves about being a Dominatrix. This episode does get a bit raunchy, so a little content warning – but we are all about sex positivity and education, so strap in and stay tuned to this episode of Queer Thinking.
    Queer Sex Part 2
  • Sex is a big part of the queer community. Whether it’s attending sex on premise venues or sex parties, identifying as asexual, a commitment to monogamy, or being in a polyamorous or open relationship – there are many layers to queer sex. Many people use it as a chance to explore their sexuality and their identity. However, there are also many issues around queer sex that don’t often get spoken about – such as consent, STIs, stigma around those who are HIV positive, sexual racism – and, for members of the asexual community, sex isn’t on their radar at all. In Queer Sex Part 1, we explore the layers of queer sex, and how to cut through stigma in the modern dating scene.
    Queer Sex Part 1

This podcast was produced in collaboration with JOY 94.9 – Australia’s Rainbow Community Media Organisation. For more information on JOY and their Podcast Services, visit joy.org.au/services

Guests:

  • Mistress Tokyo (Dominatrix, Kink Educator & Perfomer) 
  • Matt Bluf (Member of the leather community) 
  • Phil Evangelous (Lawyer & Sex Positive Advocate) 

Episode description:


We enjoyed round one of our Queer Sex chat so much, we thought it would be best to go back for round two – and in this episode of Queer Thinking, we’re going deeper. First up, we’ll chat to Mistress Tokyo – one of Sydney’s premier BDSM Dominatrices. Mistress Tokyo shares their experience on the incredible world of BDSM, her clientele, boundaries, safe words as well as what she loves about being a Dominatrix.  

We’ll then chat to Matt Bluf – who’s been a part of Sydney’s leather scene for many years now, running one of Sydney’s most well-known leather nights, The Eagle Bar – Matt goes through the changing leather scene, the relationship between BDSM and the leather community, sex-on-premises venues as well as how he found his people in the leather scene. 

Finally, we’ll be joined by Phil Evangelous – Phil is a lawyer and sex positive advocate. We chat about the legalities behind sex on premises venues as well what the community can do to encourage sex positivity. 

This episode does get a bit raunchy, so a little content warning – but we are all about sex positivity and education, so strap in and stay tuned to this episode of Queer Thinking. 

Guests:

  • Joel Murray (HIV+ positive trainer/educator) 
  • Elyse McKenzie (member of the asexual community) 
  • Karl Johnson (Sexual Health Program Officer, ACON) 

Episode description:

Sex is a big part of the queer community. Whether it’s attending sex on premise venues or sex parties, identifying as asexual, a commitment to monogamy, or being in a polyamorous or open relationship – there are many layers to queer sex. Many people use it as a chance to explore their sexuality and their identity. However, there are also many issues around queer sex that don’t often get spoken about – such as consent, STIs, stigma around those who are HIV positive, sexual racism – and, for members of the asexual community, sex isn’t on their radar at all. In Queer Sex Part 1, we explore the layers of queer sex, and how to cut through stigma in the modern dating scene.

Guests:

  • Roman Deauna (Legal advisor who specialises in visa applications, immigration, and helping LGBTQIA+ people adopt)
  • Emily Ninnes (had a baby with her HIV+ gay best friend during lockdown, grew up in rural Solomon Islands, poly relationship, neurodiverse)
  • David Seale (he and his partner had a baby through surrogate)

Episode description:

Queer families come in all shapes and sizes. For some it’s a straightforward process, for others it can take years of trying, hope and strength. In this episode of Queer Thinking, we’ll be chatting to those who are a part of the rainbow community and had children through adoption, sperm donation or surrogacy.

In this episode, we chat chat to our guests about the process from the very beginning: the highs, the lows, the setbacks, and the rewarding moments that made it all worth it, all the way through to the incredible moment their family grew. We will also be chatting to a legal professional about the ever-changing legal landscape for LGBTQIA+ people to have children via surrogacy, adoption and sperm donation and what’s on the horizon for queer families.


Guests:

  • Sallie Colchin (78er)
  • Carol Muller (member of the transgender community)
  • Sarah Levett (member of the First Nations community)

Episode description:

Everyone remembers their first Mardi Gras. Whether you went to the Parade with your parents when you were young, when you first came out, watched it on TV or maybe you marched at the first Mardi Gras in 1978. However you were introduced to the Parade, it’s a pretty special moment. On this episode of Queer Thinking, we’re chatting to three different people with very different experiences of their first Mardi Gras.


Guests:

  • Dominic Clarke (Gay, Australian Trampoline Gymnast also on The Voice Australia)
  • Rudy Jean Rigg (From Rainbow History Class and about to launch TransAthletica in collaboration with TikTok – a docuseries exploring the unique barriers trans people face in sport)
  • Alex Blackwell (First out Lesbian in Aus Cricket)

Episode description:

Sport has often excluded LGBTQIA+ participants, with many sporting codes having homophobia and transphobia deeply embedded in their players, teams, and fans. Because of this, many LGBTQIA+ identifying sportspeople don’t come out. However, there are a growing number of sports people who are taking a stand, and publicly coming out.  

From Gold Medalist Diver, Matthew Mitcham, to New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter, who competed at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, these people are helping to change the landscape of sports in Australia and Around the World. 

In this episode, we’ll chat to Australian Athletes who have come out as their true selves. Joining the panel are guests Dominic Clarke – a trampoline gymnast who represented Australia at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Alex Blackwell – a former Professional Cricketer who celebrated her 250th international appearance for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team in 2017 and the first player to come out as a Lesbian in Professional Cricket. And Rudy Jean Rigg – Rudy is a content creator and host of TikTok account, Rainbow History Class. Rudy is also about to launch TransAthletica – a docuseries exploring the unique barriers faced by trans people in sport.

Born as an in-person talks series as part of the Mardi Gras Festival, Queer Thinking is hosted by trans non-binary JOY 94.9 Presenter Triana Butler (she/them). This season we’ll unpack queer identity and explore all the things that make the LGBTQIA+ community unique, connected and creative.

The podcast is a key pillar of Mardi Gras’ Always On vision; a commitment to year-round events, activism, connection and sharing of stories with people all over the world.

Dropping fortnightly on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and the Mardi Gras website, expect heart-warming, hilarious and heart wrenching discussions as our guests discuss starting a family, queer subcultures, queer sex and more.

Hosted by trans non-binary JOY94.9 Presenter Triana Butler (she/them), the Queer Thinking podcast unpacks queer identity and explores all the things that make the LGBTQIA+ community unique, connected and creative.

Triana Butler (she/they) is a broadcaster, streamer, and digital creative from Narrm/Melbourne. Their unique combination of skills and experience gives Triana the ability to lead conversations with just about anybody with confidence, warmth, and good humour. As a bisexual, non-binary trans woman, Triana tries to ensure those who aren’t familiar with the LGBTQIA+ communities are afforded the same grace and kindness she was offered when she first came out and sought queer community.

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Acknowledgement

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we celebrate and work.

We pay our respects to Elders past and present and recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities.

Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.

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Acknowledgement of country

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras acknowledges that our events take place on Aboriginal land. We acknowledge the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, Bidigal, Darug and Dharawal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin.

We pay our Respects to their Elders past and present. Always was Always will be Aboriginal Land.