The Mudgee Readers' Festival is on this weekend and I'm so glad to see such a variety of voices and identities represented in this year's lineup.
Events like Maeve Marsden's Queerstories, Wiradjuri Elders Uncle Dick and Aunty Ruth Carney launching 'A Little Piece of Heaven', Growing up Muslim in Australia with Amal Awad and Benjamin Law, having just released 'Growing Up Queer in Australia'.
It's been less than two years since the 'YES' vote back in 2017. It's still disappointing that we had to have the plebiscite in the first place, given that it was technically unnecessary and led to a time where it wasn't out of the ordinary to turn on the tv or radio and see some really toxic and hateful opinions given a platform on a national scale.
But at the time of the 'YES' result, it felt like we were as a country making tiny baby steps in the right direction. You sometimes think progress is inevitable, but you learn at some point that it isn't.
A notable example of this is the befuddling move by The Australian to enter the gender 'debate' - as if there is one to have. They announced new page on their website dedicated to coverage of news affecting trans people. Your first instinct might be to think this is a great idea. Except the reporting therein is pretty damaging.
Readers' Festival guest, Benjamin Law went an extra step and urged people to unsubscribe from The Australian and in exchange he would donate to 'The Gender Centre', an organisation that supports trans youth.
In August, if you unsubscribe—or get someone to unsubscribe—from the @australian, I’ll donate $36 (the cost of a monthly sub) to @thegendercentre who do vital work supporting local trans youth.— Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw) August 11, 2019
Provide proof of unsubscription in the replies and I’ll donate on Aug 31. 🌈 (1 of 2)
Side note: Ben, how do you find the time to do everything you do, where do you find the energy? WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?
It's important that platforms - like the Readers' Festival and the Mudgee Guardian for example - do what they can to let people tell their stories and showcase diversity.
What do you think?