Want to find out what’s going on at the grassroots of Melbourne’s queer and sex-positive communities? Want to feel a greater sense of connection with powerful personal stories? Want to support grass-roots community radio? Want to hear a diverse range of pansexual classic rock? 🙂 If you answered yes to at least three of those questions, then Out of the Pan is the radio show for you. It’s easy as going to 3cr.org.au and listening in (you can also catch each show on demand for a week and the podcasts there too). (If you said no to the classic rock question, feel free to make a cuppa during the music and no offense taken.)
Since 2005, at noon Australian Eastern Time each Sunday, I have thrown those questions into the pan and the cooking up the answers for you in relation to gender, sexual and romantic orientation, polyamory, sex positivity, leadership in rainbow communities, and more – and all with some fun and puns to balance the light and shade.
I invite you to enjoy an exploration of important topics in a fun way that escapes shock-jockery. I have had one guest describe my interview style as “relaxing yet probing”. (It sounds like an enema, but it’s accurate enough!) Tune in to hear powerful and uplifting stories of how guests had the strength to beat the odds and their own special ingredients. Find out about the latest issues re what’s cooking up in community pans.
Out of the Pan has morphed over 16 years, so there are more reasons to tune in and relate to the issues. In 2005, trans and gender diverse (TGD) issues (to use current terminology) were barely on the map, both in the rainbow and wider communities. Bi+ (including bi and pan) seemed to be sadly erased from the map completely. Since mid-2012, attitudes have shifted so bi/pan is on the map and this is also plenty more relating to gender, relationships, and sex-positivity.
Personal stories from people in this panscape of diverse groups will be needed for a long time yet. Personal stories drive discussion of the issues, leading to law reform and policy changes. So grab a Sunday coffee around 1130ish (I always do just that) and join the fun and information.
Tune in at noon on 855AM, digital and www.3cr.org.au, listen to the repeat at 5:00 Wednesday mornings, and listen on-demand or podcast from Sunday afternoon. We’ll keep cooking up answers and finding the right questions together!
I excitedly debuted my first ever solo show “One Pan Cooking” at the 2020 Melbourne Midsumma festival. This narrative comedy-style show was based on all my many and varied experiences – and included workplace health and safety-approved fishing rod. Confused? Then don’t be – arrange a performance with me.
My previous performance experience includes singing at the Sacred Edge Uniting Church festival in 2016. The set closed with my unique contribution to diversity, “Kosher Bisexual Transgender Cowgirl.”
Earlier performances date back to singing live at 1999’s Midsumma Carnival and way back in 1996, I performed at a Gippsland talent contest where she really did sing both binary kinds of music: country AND western.
I have also performed stand-up as myself and performed character comedy as the unusual characters Schmuck Doggy Dog and Babette Rancid. I note they have run off to a mysterious retirement village together and aren’t answering social media or text messages at this time. I have also offered moments of spoken word reflecting musical “taste”, sports entertainment, and more.
My skills of vision and strategic planning saw me realise the need for law and policy reform in 1997. Building on work done by amazing trans pioneers such as Julie Peters and Kayleen White (2 people with whom I proudly cite strongly as mentors), I quickly became a founding committee member of what became Transgender Victoria (TGV) in 1999.
I had little time to settle in. In early 2000, following a change of state government in Victoria, the announcement was made that gender identity (and sexual orientation) would be added as characteristics (protected attributes to use the legal term) to Victoria’s state Equal Opportunity Act. A complex situation in both houses of parliament meant a combination of teamwork, passion, and skill was needed. Kayleen, firm allies from[SG1] the Victorian Pride Lobby (formerly the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby) and I combined and achieved the law reform that to this day enabled both greater protection for individuals and the ability to access government and public sector to achieve further law and policy reform.
In 2013, TGV was a major contributor to additions to the federal Sex Discrimination Act covering gender identity, sexual orientation, and intersex status.
In 2019 I was a key contributor to achieving much-needed birth certificate reform in Victoria, including appearing on a program on a predominately right-wing media outlet and countering hugely stereotypical ideas. When the laws were implemented in 2020, I quickly received my true birth certificate which is proudly framed next to my desk.
My understanding of these issues has contributed to changes in many areas including arts, policing, aged care, education, and health care.
I have advised diverse committees and advisory groups including:
● the LGBTI Police Working Group (and its predecessors)
● the Victorian government LGBTI Justice Working Group from 2006-10 and 2015 to 2017
● Hobsons Bay LGBTI Advisory Group (2011-2016)
● Manningham Mental Health Advisory group (2013-2018)
● Jewish Community Council of Victoria LGBTI advisory group (2009-2012)
● Concerning the community known as LGBTIQA+, it is my aim to march with every group in Melbourne’s Pride March during this lifetime. I even managed to sneak into Vicbears without using makeover skills in 2016.
● I have been proudly been involved in many groups since 1995 when I began to come out. I started with Seahorse Club of Victoria utilising my accounting skills as Treasurer. Over 2 years I realised that advocacy was more my passion than social events (my idea of event organising is phoning for pizza when people come to my place) and I also like my friends too much to cook for them. I left the Seahorse committee in 1999 and proudly received a life membership in 2007. I was the first life member who was out enough to receive a framed certificate.
● I helped found Transgender Victoria (TGV) in the late 1990s and have been involved in it since that time. I see it as a huge source of great pride, joy, and contentment to see what an organisation with no full-time staff has been able to achieve in 20 years and see the improvements in the lives of TGD people and in the last few years, their families and friends as well.
● I got involved in JOY 94.9 in 1998, first as a newsreader, then as a founding co-presenter of “Trans-mission Time” in early 1999. Along with Jayne and Lauren (and help from others as well), I firmly believe the program helped increase understanding of TGD issues at a time when there was little to no favourable discussion. Having three varied and often warped senses of humour added to the mix.
● In 2007, I became Treasurer (community organisations always find that the hardest role to fill) for Victorian Pride Lobby (formerly the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby), which had been a great supporter of TGV since day one. Seriously, it wasn’t all number-crunching; being able to liaise between organisations had become necessary as things began to expand over time. The bridges built became vital and the high water mark was the world-class co-operation between LGBTIQA+ in the lead-up to the achievement of protection for the attributes of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in 2013. I became the proud recipient of a life membership on retirement from the committee in January 2015.
● 2007 must have had something in the water because I joined the working group (later committee) of the newly formed Zoe Belle Gender Collective (ZBGC). ZBGC originally aimed to be a centre to support and improve the health and wellbeing of Victoria’s TGD population. Having a focal point for TGD people had become a key aim in itself and needed cross-community collaboration via a specific organisation. I was awarded a life membership in 2013.
● In 2008, I realised I identified as someone supportive of the idea of multiple ethical relationships, often referred to as polyamory. I became Treasurer of Polyvic later that year and remained in that role for just over 3 years. I was awarded life membership in late 2014 and has completed PolyVic’s “Train the Facilitator” workshop to facilitate discussion groups.
● In 2010, a "B" buzzed in. I had identified as my true sexual and romantic orientation, namely bi, since 1997 (and additionally identifying as pan since 2002) and like many had been involved with the social group Bi-Victoria for some years. Bisexual Alliance Victoria formed as an alliance of the need for an advocacy group and combined with the existing discussion group, hence the alliance. I personally use the label bi/pan in this area of my life. I had the great experience of being on the working group for the 2020 Stand Bi Us (Australia and New Zealand) conference.
● I have used my concise written skills for SBS sexuality online.
● I note one common thread: acknowledging Melbourne for the wonderful city it is. This is not rah-rah or a tourism promotion; I deeply believe Melbourne tries its best with diversity and wants to it better. I doubt my life would have had the same level of fulfillment had I been born almost anywhere else. My theory is that Melbourne’s diverse climate makes the city open to all sorts of ideas and cultures. I am yet to receive a grant to prove the sociological linkage.
● I believe there is a sense of community on many fronts in Melbourne that also plays a strong part, going beyond LGBTIQA+. Combining that sense of community with pragmatic approaches is one of many strengths I offer.
The caffeine in my veins will always see my connections to Melbourne remain strong.
All the same, I began to venture beyond Victoria during the 2010s. At the 2010 Health in Difference conference in Sydney, I connected with many awesome TGD peeps thereby beginning a great run of national cooperation leading to improvements including passports, Medicare, and federal anti-discrimination laws.
The world came to Melbourne in 2014 with the 2014 World AIDS conference†. The meaning of “think global, act local” began to achieve clarity for Sally. Hearing the stories of those from overseas further strengthened my desire to achieve my aims about valuing diversity, in particular regarding gender identity.
There was even more clarity in late 2015 – albeit beginning in a somewhat surprising way. I awoke one October morning to a Facebook message inviting me to be a juror at a film festival – the Side-by-Side festival in St Petersburg, Russia. (Side by side translates from English to Bok-o-Bok in Russian — catchy, hey?) After hurriedly arranging to crowdfund for a passport, thermal underwear, and a few other items I was up and away 6 weeks later – no time for a crash course to learn how to speak or read the Russian language.
There is too much to tell about the whole 2-week adventure here. Suffice to say, good people, good food, good coffee, and the odd drop of good alcohol made the trip an amazing experience of learning, growth, connection - and just the right amount of challenge. Happily, the thermals weren’t needed after all.
It may sound paradoxical or ironic that I needed to travel 15,000 km to work out that connection is so vital for bringing people together, but that’s what happened, resulting in even greater clarity.
My world travels continued in November 2016 when I traveled to Bangkok for the ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association) world conference to represent Bisexual Alliance Victoria. Thai food and queers were a good combination.
* Remember when we were able to do that?
† We honour those lost on flight MH17 including those heading to Melbourne for AIDS2014. Always in our hearts and minds, always striving to complete your legacy.