It has taken time and effort to put together my change of year/decade summary this year for many reasons, the obvious being the unnecessary extent of the bushfire tragedy in this country. As a deep feeling empathic person, I am moved by the tragedy. After the first coffee for 2020, I’m going to try to link my little 7 billionth of the world to the proverbial whole picture.
So, my year started out fab, fell, metaphorically speaking, some way down the Pacific Basin mid-year and has climbed out since. Receiving the Order of Australia (AM – I only have to work in the mornings now) was a pretty high start. The ceremony in April was wonderful and it was great to have key people from 4 parts of my life there. It would have been good to have a 5th; I could only wear mum’s jewellery and connect with her that way. The Joe Walsh/Eagles song “Pretty Maids All in a Row” has been on high rotation for much of the year in honour of mum and granny.
Perhaps it was hard to keep up that sort of high. Trying to take on an unpaid executive management role in TGV ended with tears before bedtime due to lateral hostility from 360 degrees and bureaucratic micromanagement on many fronts. Thank you to the dear friend and colleague who bravely pointed out that I had more than cockpit warning lights flashing; I had an engine on fire. I was therefore able to stop the plane crashing. I still feel sad and frustrated to have to pull away from management at TGV for those reasons when my vision has lots to offer; all the same, it has been the best for me in terms of mental health and what I call neuro health. My training steadily returned to its sharpest in the latter 4 months of the year and I feel more grounded overall. I’ll just say “watch this space” re some of this…
I want to thank again Nevo Zisin, my mental health professional, Tina Healey and City of Darebin for being catalysts to improved fitness and exercise. My swimming is now steadily at 20×50 metre laps (1 km) of breaststroke twice a week. I think this helped in my changing to a healthy fluid intake i.e. leaving soft drink behind over a year ago. I’m no Rhea Ripley but feel much happier doing this exercise – this is MY brutality 😊 (put Rhea Ripley theme in your search engine to understand that one).
Talking sports entertainment, thanks to Chris Wallis for shouting me a ticket to NJPW in June at Festival Hall, Melbourne’s spiritual epicentre of wrestling. Will Ospreay v Robbie Eagles was 41 minutes of total made magic for wrestling tragics (like me) and deserved every milligram of the energy given by the standing ovation. And as always it was good to see WWE in October with Nic “Zigs” Wishart and that benign chairman of the Ref Bump, Evan Thompson.
Beyond training there were 2 big stand-outs in my own work. Presenting my “extended dance mix” personal story at (of all places) the Outdoors Victoria conference was a total delight (thank you organisers for everything especially the free coffee before my opening the day on the Saturday morning). At day’s end was where met Shawn Andrews, one of this earth’s beautiful souls and a true striver for social justice. I later had the pleasure of meeting his beautiful family. The other stand-out was presenting at the Manningham Uniting Church Building Bridges event in October. Hearing so many personal stories across newly arrived, Aboriginal, LGBTIQ I was struck by a common theme: damaged and disrupted childhoods. Come on, human race, we can surely do better.
I also met this year Jacqui Pillar au and James Williams, both of whom are also beautiful social justice souls. Pepper is a wonderful 4-legged justice soul.
In December I went to cultural awareness training run by VACCA Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. No, one day of training does not make me an instant perfect ally. However, to hear more deeply of the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – and more importantly that some of the actions against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are still ongoing was deeply emotional. I aim to channel that emotion into something positive somewhere, somehow.
It was fab to finally get some better birth certificate laws on the books in Victoria and so convincingly in the end. Along with our siblings in Tasmania also achieving great reforms (and the Northern Territory in late 2018) these were much needed wins. Congrats also goes to the Northern Territory for achieving decriminalisation of sex work law reform this year. We need these beacons given the irrational attitudes that seem and often are so loud and shrill in these times.
Looking back at the decade, my mental and physical health improved, my finances improved (I am debt-free) my self-esteem improved thanks to wonderful people and my enjoyment of paid work improved. My living arrangements remained stable (thanks to human and 4-legged critters). But that is my 1 little 7 billionth of the world.
That leads to the bigger picture. I don’t have a whole strategic plan with goals actions and KPIs (old accountants never die, right) for social, environmental and climate justice and common sense. I totally affirm the feelings of despair, frustration, anger and maybe helplessness (and others) that people are feeling on these issues. I feel the frustration when people with titles of POTUS and Australian PM are effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and going “la la la” at so many people on so many issues. I have only had only one intuitive moment on this: let us focus on the better world we want to create rather than the negatives what we want to eliminate. Take that as you will.
Last of all my resolution for 2020: to continue to increase my inner peace and contentment across all of my life including how I do my social justice. I believe for me that is how I will reconcile (more accounting) my place in the world with that whole picture. I don’t know the detail of that today and I’m cool with that – far worse things than a bit of uncertainty. I will keep moving forward to make it happen and see what happens.
Wishing people of all genders peace and strength and have yourselves a roaring twenties.
PS will be doing some other sorts of writing for the next 3weeks. 😊
Where next for the rainbow on Australian commercial television?
I don’t watch much television (the WWE network keeps me well occupied in my spare time 😊). Occasionally, however, all humans and some/all 4-legged critters at our place gather around the box while dining and watch what is on offer and for the last 10-14 weeks or so that has, on occasions, included “Dancing with the Stars.”
Now as someone who was thrown out of the Peter Garrett dance academy in the 1980s, I’m sure as heck not going to comment who was best placed to win.
I want to focus on Courtney Act (who ended the season as runner-up). Courtney has certainly pushed up rainbow positivity through the run on this season’s show. I’m not aware of any homo/transphobia from the show (although I saw an idiotic comment on Gogglebox from someone watching the show). I think it’s been pretty good overall.
Thing is, where next? When I watch the vocal type of reality TV shows, in around 90% of cases the males do songs where a male sang lead (either solo or in a band) and 90% of females doing songs sung by females. Further, it’s a pretty cis-gender-hetero-normative approach re song choice e.g. blokes doing Barnesy and females doing Rhianna etc This percentage applies whether the singers are citizens e.g. The Voice or celebs (there was the show a while back where a celeb was paired with a top singer called “It Takes Two.”). The pairs overwhelmingly appeared as cis-het doing cis-het songs.
So, there’s the next frontier post-Courtney. I’ll throw a hypothetical out there. Let’s say someone in the mould of the late Chrissie Amphlett (Divinyls, bless her memory) went on one of these shows today. I wonder if she would get more than 15 seconds at audition. Would a female-identifying person, cis or trans, go forward if she turned up in low-cut frock and heels – and covered AC/DC in a natural voice at the lower end of the vocal range? Or male identified in a higher voice range in plaid shirt singing to Spice Girls? And a non-binary person?
Food for thought. I’m off to find my karaoke backing tracks of Guns’n’Roses “Paradise City” and Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast.” Well, tomorrow morning anyway…
AC/DC, Courtney Act, Dancing with the Stars, Divinyls, gender, Gogglebox, Guns’n’Roses. Paradise City, hrissie Amphlett, Iron Maiden, Jimmy Barnes, Number of the Beast., Peter Garrett, Rhianna, Spice Girls, trans, vocal range, WWE
It is with a huge mix of emotions – all the feelz – that I announce, to borrow words from Chris Jericho, that “I just made the list.”
Or to use an old gag, “I only have to work in the mornings – AM – now.”
What do I mean? I’ve been recognised as a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for my community contributions. https://www.gg.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/honours/ad/ad2019/xklw-03mcv/Media%20Notes%20-%20AM%20(A%20-%20L).pdf
Holy rainbow and community media diversity Batpan!
First and foremost: a ginormous thank you to the true, dear beautiful friends who have, with compassion and wisdom, unconditionally stood by me over the years, especially when times were not so good. I also thank the range of health professionals who helped my life move in the right direction when times were darker. Further, to the person/s who put my name forward for the medal – whoever you are – thank you for your effort and kindness in doing that. You are all #goodhumans.
I feel incredibly excited for those who identify as any of bi/multi-gender attracted, trans/gender diverse (TGD) and family members of TGD. This is for all of you, everywhere on this planet. For too long we’ve experienced situations such as denial, invisibility, ridicule, rejection and treatment that simply isn’t equal nor respectful. I acknowledge those who came forward before me (trioneers and bioneers) with courage and vision so I had places with which to connect. I feel in my heart, that, in Australia, our resilience and creativity is moving us forward. I am acutely aware of the challenges for TGD in other countries around the world; I deeply hope this can send some rainbow energies further.
I’m very chuffed to see virtually all parts of community contribution recognised. I am proud of my contributions to all of the organisations listed (and more). I value my contributions to community media, yet sometimes believe they have received less affirmation. Who’d have thought I could get an award for doing puns, playing classic rock and music of both binary kinds – country AND western? Well, it’s possible! Thanks to co-presenters on radio and who endured the puns and musical, er, …influences and to all the playas in the community media spaces with whom I’ve worked closely.
My rainbow community involvement has, however, not been without its challenges. For me, the biggest challenge, sadly, is that some prominent and influential people (and the dominant culture re some self-proclaimed diverse rainbow organisations) that claim to be guided by values such as diversity, inclusion and respect have exhibited double standards (often called lateral hostility). The behaviours that actually happen mean these people and organisations do not walk their talk re respect on a day-to-day basis in how they operate, their aims or both. While every human cannot know everything, including re diversity and will make mistakes, to flatly refuse to communicate or change course when approached by people with the lived expertise is simply no longer acceptable. I can say, however, say watch this space for a positive and proactive plan to accelerate positive change in this area.
I do need to say re “all the feelz:” I’m still finding this award to be a bit surreal. I just set out to be myself, follow my heart and do what I felt in my gut was my life’s mission. I’ve faced challenges regarding my gender identity as a trans woman. I’ve faced prejudice from various directions in relation to my sexual orientation as bi/pansexual. I needed to find out about the lesser-known cyclothymia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia and learn self-management of that health variation. I’ve had parts of my neuroprocessing (introversion and Highly Sensitive Person (hsperson.com)) devalued. I needed to first claim these parts of my soul, then learn to use these gifts productively for what they are. I ended up facing bits of stuff as a person I didn’t even know were buried deep down until the demons popped up their heads. I have unloaded much of my excess psychological baggage and hopefully now have got it down to a small carry-on backpack 😊. In all of those journeys through the metaphorical dark underground passages, I never in my wildest hopes thought something like this could happen. I can only say to people that when life seems troubled, there is a way out to the sunlight and to keep some momentum going in the journey towards it.
All the same, there is a moment of personal sadness on this day. My mum, who died last August, is not here to share the moment in person. I can imagine the huge smile lighting up her face and the great level of excitement in her voice on sharing this news, but will only be able to imagine it rather than have it in real life. I will have to make do with a very long-distance clinking of glasses between me in Melbourne, family interstate and mum (and Granny) having a nip of Vermouth in the great place for excellent souls.
There is also definitely another factor that needs recognition on this day. 26th January is overwhelmingly not a positive day for our original inhabitants. I note an increasing number of the broader Australian population, while not being part of the indigenous communities, show compassion and empathy for the journey of our original inhabitants. I firmly believe Australia needs genuine intent to find ways for us all to truly celebrate as a nation including fully valuing our indigenous people. We need a process to achieve that aim in ways that are respectful and mature rather than involving sensationalism, hype and fabricated emotion. I don’t know exactly what that answer looks like; I know we won’t find it answers if questions are not asked in the first place.
I do not exactly what my future holds (who does?). I know I would like it to simply involve that I keep doing what I’m doing and going where I’m going and do more of it. There is obviously more to be done. I want dreams to turn into reality. And to finish where I started, I quote WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, “… if you ever feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, if you ever feel like you don’t fit the mould that is because you weren’t meant to. You are meant for greater things. Don’t try to be something or someone you aren’t, embrace what makes you different and be accepting of what makes others different because that is how dreams become reality.”
And that’s the bottom line, cos @salgoldsaidso
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. #tdor
I acknowledge trans and gender diverse people have the same potential to contribute to society and economy as the broader population, are creative and lateral thinking generally, have great insight specifically into gender and therefore can assist in issues relating to gender such as #metoo and achieving 100% respect for women, every face, every place.
I say that on this day, not to deny or un-affirm the Trans Day of Remembrance. I say it to highlight the travesty of the loss. The huge contrast of people being murdered just because they of who they are when they had lives to live, dreams to realise and loved ones who cared highlights why we will always need to honour this day and make sure we get to a 20 November one year where no more names are added to those we have already lost.
I acknowledge the huge issues of intersectionality including with people of colour, newly arrived, TGD people in the sex industry to name but a few. I ask with humility how I can be a better ally to those TGD people with intersections beyond my own sense of identity and how we can work together more effectively to achieve more social justice and equity for all within the TGD community.
I ask on this day that trans and gender diverse people come together in strength and solidarity with our supportive families, partners and loved ones. I ask for existing allies to re-affirm that they are right next to us through good and bad and for new allies to learn and come on board. I ask for all allies to always consult with us on any point because we can offer the lived expertise to result in better win-win outcomes. We can get to that particular 20 November where there are no more names added more quickly and effectively when we are together in true equality and creating win-win solutions.
Our love and compassion will hold strong and we will achieve our aims. Peace and strength on this day.
So, 365 days ago, I woke up with much anxiety – yes, it is a year since the announcement of the postal survey.
I am happy for those who now have had their marriages that they could not previously have. I am happy for those who have had previously unrecognised marriages recognised. I remember when I received my passport that had an “F” 3 years ago and how that outside validation affirmed my inner validation of my being part of our communities. Now couples other than male or female are equally externally validated and their love is recognised – a very good thing.
All the same, I cannot celebrate this day. I am still reminded of the pain of my direct communities of identity, trans and bi, being sold out. I am reminded of those beyond my identity (multicultural, people of faith, people of colour, intersex for starters) who when I listen to them, say they have felt the same.
Note that word: listen.
We have an increasing crisis of how we do leadership in our communities where so many so-called leaders won’t listen in so many ways.
None of the so-called leaders who threw so many other people under the bus have changed their approach in the last 12 months. The power-players, careerists, pragmatists are still going about things the same way. Pragmatism always trashes the most vulnerable. (For pragmatism read lazy, brain-dead and gutless). Real leaders in social justice settings aim to level the playing field rather than keep the mountain steep and treacherous for the most marginalised to climb. They don’t think they have to listen to those marginalised voices when they are the ones crying out most loudly.
Re this one, I again acknowledge Rodney Croome as the only person with the integrity, self-honesty, authenticity and humility to admit the throwing people under the bus was wrong. As stated previously, I’ve had my differences with Rodney over the years; I also state strongly he has one thing that the sell-outs don’t have. I see the ability to connect to his heart and work in conjunction with his mind. I say the self-rationalising manipulative minds need to learn about listening to their hearts and we might start to get somewhere.
I still experience the same hypocrisy of lateral hostility, for example when non-bi types think they can dictate what goes into the bi section in an election wishlist and I have to fight like hell to get bi even mentioned at all. That they think they don’t have to listen to bi people when they are not bi or bi-specialist organisations is the depth of hypocrisy, yet some of these people really believe they are allies. Some write up bi policy papers and don’t even consult bi people – and get it very wrong. Seriously…
Before people say “bi and trans need to break away” – I say no. How come? Most of these so-called leaders are not listening to the grass roots of their own communities. I overwhelmingly meet cis gays and lesbians who want truly diverse and intersectional representation and quality leadership. I often think if the LGBTI leadership was one properly resourced organisation with clear values and a funded human resources department, most so-called leaders wouldn’t last 12 months before they had received 3 warnings on bullying and discrimination and then heard the words of Mr McMahon… “You’re fired!” While we need to work together, the problem with phrases like that is that they don’t talk about HOW we work together. So, let’s say: we work together with processes based on respect, equality, professionalism and always aiming for win-win solutions.
We have celebrity activists who think because they repeatedly post on social media that makes them leaders – no. To them I say learn to listen to your consciences, get some substance underneath yourselves, do some personal and professional development or get a job in marketing. Publicity for the sake of publicity is not leadership no matter what 21st century culture makes us believe.
I know many of those who fall short have had people talk to them in an effort to “call in.” I can sense strongly we are at a breaking point where we might start need to “call out.” Our communities will not achieve full equality while we continue to ignore elephants in the room – elephants that are crapping big time out one end and trumpeting loudly out the other. We cannot build on cracked foundations any longer and paper over cracks in the walls. It’s time for a re-blocking.
I look forward to people putting on their rainbow overalls and doing the reblocking with me.
Happy Trans Day of Visibility to all trans and gender diverse people and families.
As I like to call this day, it is trans awesomeness day – because trans and gender diverse people are awesome. The amazing IT genius of Lynn Conway, the wisdom of Patrick Califia and the ability to communicate of Nevo Zesin are just 3 random of examples of awesomeness.
We are awesome that in a world that is locked into a deep chasm of binary thinking that we increasingly find ways to find the keys and unlock that door and be our authentic selves. We don’t have to be prominent or well-known like the 3 people above; just being ourselves is a triumph.
On this day I wish to thank those who support us, being supportive family members and allies generally. We need your support. We see this in the world context; in the Australian context, 2016 and 2017 were incredibly tough and stressful. The debacle on so many angles that was the postal survey may have finished but the after-effects remain. We are beginning to get back on our feet as some dust settles; all the same, a hand up will be needed. Check in with us individually and collectively: ask trans and gender diverse people what we would like (and not like) to happen. Walk with us and beside us, not in front of us.
Trans and gender diverse people are vital in achieving gender equity for all, not just ourselves. In this time of #metoo, our ability to move aside the artificial barriers that binary thinking creates will be hugely beneficial for assisting cisgender people whose lives are impacted negatively by toxic masculinity. May we work together to achieve total respect in relation to all aspects of gender.
We have seen over the longer term that we are more visible. Ten years ago barely any trans and gender diverse people under 25 were visible, now they are visible 20/20. That is proof in itself that despite the challenges we are moving forward and upward. We are seeing an increase in visibility re “diversity in diversity” re multifaith, multicultural and neurodiverse trans and gender diverse people (to name but a few examples); we need total visibility in this way.
We are creative, special, resilient and unique. We are in all walks of life and all ages, all backgrounds and all cultures. We are everywhere. Our light shines increasingly brighter and it will become the clean gender energy source that powers humanity. On this day, celebrate our visibility!
After long blogging absence, I’m ba-ack!!
This website has been a long time in the making. Many contributed ideas and some development along the way; ultimately it was Heartfelt Tech and the wonderful Sarah George who helped get the site to the point of saying “we have lift-off.”
And Sarah’s fabulous partner and my dear friend Sharlot came up with trans-re-lator. It’s accurate, concise…and it’s a play on words! How yay is that! Their four-legged kids, Kiki cat and Amber puppy were also helpful re offering calming energies to enable creativity.
So please feel welcome to check out the site. Find out about the many and varied offerings of Sally and how they can make your business more productive, your service more inclusive or put some fun in your event…better still, possibly all three!