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.
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