Culture

We Created A Wholesome Alternative To ‘The Australian’s Trashfire Gender Column

Time to celebrate trans and gender diverse people and their accomplishments -- and feel free to share your own!

Gender Euphoria: Our column to tackle The Australian and their trans coverage

This month, national paper and beloved litter tray liner The Australian launched a new ‘Gender’ section, which has since focused almost entirely on attacking transgender and gender diverse people.

And by focused, we absolutely mean targeted with what can only be called a propaganda campaign, aimed at invalidating the love and lived experience of transgender and gender diverse people.

This attack is not new — it follows in the footsteps of the anti-trans campaigns that are currently rife in the UK and USA. Enough articles have already been written explaining the ways such papers harm trans people and embolden the far right.

Instead, I want to flip the script.

There is enough gender animosity and transphobia out in the world, and it’s about time we had pages of newspapers dedicated to all the amazing things that trans, non-binary, agender and gender diverse people do, are, and can be!

It’s about time we threw a little bit of gender euphoria into the news cycle.

So, here’s Junkee’s very own answer in answer to The Australian: Gender Euphoria, where we celebrate the lives and achievements of transgender and gender diverse legends. Enough with attacks: here’s some of the good news for trans people over the past year.


Pose On The Red Carpet

Ryan Murphy’s Pose has been taking the TV world by storm, and with good reason — the story and look of the show are good on their own, but the cast lift it to a whole other level of excellence.

The show has been celebrated by winning a spree of various awards, including MJ Rodriguez (who plays Blanca in the show) taking home the award for Best Television Actress at the recent Imagen Awards, which are dedicated to encouraging and recognising the positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry.

Pose features an all-star cast of transgender women, an incredible team of consultants and choreographers, and it’s co-written by Janet Mock, the first trans woman of colour to be hired as a television writer, who also went on to direct and produce the series. So far, the show has cast and employed over 100 trans people. It’s pretty amazing.

But there’s also something about the glitz and glamour of an award going to a trans woman of colour for her art and hard work that is is also so important — and hopefully the first of many.


Trans Representation On The Screen

Not only are trans people winning awards, but you can hardly keep us and our stories off of the tube.

The world’s first on-screen trans super hero has debuted in Supergirl, played by trans actress Nicole Maines. Following suit is transgender activist Chella Man, who has been cast as the DC Universe character Jericho in the TV show Titans.

Supergirl

Or what about Jen Richards, who cowrote the brilliant queer miniseries Her Story, who has recently won over audiences with her role on Netflix’s Tales Of The City. Or Hunter Schafer, who’s killing it opposite Zendaya in HBO’s Euphoria.

It seems like the dam has broken, and positive inclusion and representation is actually becoming normalised.

Australia too can’t get enough of the action, with announcements about both Georgie Stone’s new role on Neighbours, and child celeb Evie Macdonald looking set to star in a four part series, green-lit by Screen Australia.

It’s not just drama that’s taking over either, as the new animated Rocko’s Modern Life film debuts and celebrates a transgender character.

Stories that show trans people in an accurate, honest, and kind light are becoming more common in media — we’ve come a long way from the days of Degrassi.


JVN is JVNon-binary!

Speaking of TV brilliance, the inimitable Jonathan Van Ness, of Queer Eye fame, has come out as non-binary!

Jonathan Van Ness Is Bringing His 'Road To Beijing' Tour To Australia

Though the Queer Eye gaggle deserve some serious side-eye for their general centrism (we’re looking at you, Karamo), and the belief that a haircut and some Ikea furniture can solve every problem (okay, maybe they’re onto something there), there’s no denying that they’ve brought a bubbly, self confident and self-loving queerness into more homes than maybe any other show of the Netflix era.

Amassing three Emmys across its four seasons, a highlight of the show has always been JVN’s joy in gender expression.

Non-binary people have always come in every shape, size and appearance, but there is a common misconception that non-binary is inherently connected to some exclusionary beauty standards of whiteness, thinness and masculine presentation — basically, a lot of people always equate NB with a particular style of androgyne aesthetic.

While I do want to see every possible permeation of non-binary identity on TV (consider this: the NBachelor, call me Network 10) — JVN’s joyful celebration of their own NB identity has the potential to beautifully expand people’s definitions of non-binary!

He also just has a killer Instagram presence, which is always a plus.

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On Our Way To Ruling The World

The political landscape can be a bit of a bleak place for trans people, and there’s no doubt that we have to put up with a lot of horrible things from our so-called honourable elected officials.

However, around the world we’re also joining the corridors of power — creating positive change and forging paths for people to follow more easily.

In the 2017 Virginia elections in the US, Danica Roem of the Democratic Party was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, joining a list of trans politicians globally, including Shabnam Mausi in India, Hawai’i’s Lieutenant Governor hopeful, Kim Coco Iwamoto, and Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward Councillor Aya Kamikawa.

In 2017, Tomoya Hosoda became the first transgender male politician to be elected to office when elected to the city council of Iruma, Saitama in Japan.

In fact, there are hundreds of politicians around the world that are out as transgender people, and if the brilliant and passionate youth of today are any indication, the list will just keep growing.


Transphobia Is Officially Just Not Cricket

Cricket Australia has revealed their new guidelines, providing a path for for trans and gender diverse players to play cricket at a professional level in and for the country, marking a first for a major sporting code in the country.

Players seeking to compete in the elite women’s category must demonstrate a testosterone level of less than 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months prior to their nomination — the same standard applied by the International Olympic Committee.

“Discrimination of any sort has no place in the game,” said Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts , when announcing the policy. “Our dedication to a fair and inclusive sport across international and domestic competitions sees the policy strike a balance between the opportunity to participate and ensuring fair competition.”

“From a community cricket level, the guidelines provide robust guidance for clubs and associations to encourage the participation of transgender and gender diverse players and support frameworks for people who are subject to any form of harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sex or gender identity,” he added.

Cricket Australia announces inclusion policy for transgender players

While the guidelines are by no means perfect, they mark a step in not only the right direction, but the inevitable one, and saying along the way that they will not tolerate a game that doesn’t support trans people.


Birth Certificate Gatekeeping Soon To Be A Thing Of The Past

For many people around Australia, changing ID documents is one of the more banal and frustrating parts of affirming our genders.

But in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland, changing the gender on one of our more important forms of ID requires surgical intervention, a process that is expensive and time-consuming — if a trans or gender diverse person even wanted it in the first place.

Following in the steps of the ACT, NT, South Australia, Western Australia, and most recently Tasmania, Victoria has passed the first part of a legislation intending to clear this hurdle — making changes to one’s birth certificate not only available to any trans or gender diverse person, but also allowing people to choose a sex descriptor of their choice, and not just male or female.

Despite backlash from the boring bigots of the right wing, Victoria’s legislation is another falling domino, heralding the end of archaic legislation around the country.

A process that NSW and Queensland are sure to soon follow.


Celebrating Our Stories In Our Words

When I think back to my childhood, I remember a time when finding the words of other trans people was a precarious and fraught thing.

It felt like a taboo to even know the words transgender or transsexual, let alone to feel like maybe they fit who I was or how I wanted to be in the world.

While the world can sometimes look a little depressing for trans and gender diverse people, one thing that cannot be taken away is the explosion of stories that are by, about and for us, and available not just in deep pockets of the internet or behind paywalls, but openly in bookstores, websites and pretty much every form of social media!

The release of Black Inc Book’s Growing Up Queer in Australia, collected by Benjamin Law, marks only the latest in a growing trend of queer and trans people being able to speak to their own lives with clarity and care, rather than having their words taken from their mouths and misused by others.

It joins a growing library of LGBTQI storytelling, including the Queerstories book out through Hachette (disclosure: I am in the Queerstories book, and it is great)!

As Rebecca Shaw wrote in Growing Up Queer, “your world might seem small now, but your people are out there waiting… You’re part of something special; get here as quick as you can.”


Liz is a writer, researcher and filmmaker who has had articles, poetry and essays in a range of publications. She co-hosts wholesome sex ed show @letsdoitpodcast, and is on Twitter at @lizduckchong.