Category: NSW Politics

Is Sydney awash with a Transgender friendly culture?

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

A few days ago, The Guardian’s Fred McConnell asked a question that’s left me thinking pretty seriously about the society that I’m living in today. Namely, does Sydney have a progressive enough environment that LGBTI people, particularly Trans-people, can feel loved and safe within.

Now to most people that would be a pretty straight-forward question, however after some of the events that I’ve experienced over the past few months, I’m reticent to give either a definitive yes or no as an answer.

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Senator Sarah Hanson Young (Greens – South Australia) talking at a Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians function in Canberra on July 16th, 2014. Her co-chairs are The Hon. Warren Entsch & Graham Perrett MP (Photo: Kate Doak)

That’s because while there’s undeniably a lot of goodwill towards the LGBTI community as a whole present within the Sydney metropolitan area, there’s also a lot of issues, concerns and events that get conveniently swept underneath the carpet within this city on a day to day basis, by both the powers that be and the LGBTI community itself as a whole.

Now for the most part, I’ve been extremely lucky ever since I packed my bags and headed down to Sydney a couple of years ago from the far reaches of northern New South Wales. From having the unwavering support of service providers such as The Gender Centre through to having a lot of friends and mentors from both the LGBTI and wider community who’ve stood steadfast beside me each step of the way, I couldn’t have wished for a better time or place to transition in.

Needless to say, with friends, mentors and allies such as Kate McClymont, Christine Forster, Michaela Whitbourn, Virginia Edwards, Amy Coopes, Lauren Ingram, Rachel Smith, Julie Lawless, Mark Textor, Sarah Davis, Ebony Allen, Peter Lloyd, Penny Sharpe, Tracey Spicer and a whole studio full of people from places such as Fairfax, News Corp, The Hoopla, SBS, Seven and the ABC amongst others, I know that I’ve got both the personal and professional networks that I need here in Sydney not only in order to thrive as a person, but to love life in general as well. Read more

2014 ~ Some thoughts from a year of being myself….

By Kate Doak

If there’s something that I’ve always wished for throughout my life, it’s been the ability to always be myself all day and every day in ways that I could only dream of previously imagining.

From exploring the utter highs and lows of humanity through to the journeys of family, joy, sorrow and love, I’ve always wanted to experience everything that life could offer me, while embracing it all.

Now while I’m now doing that and I feel as if I’m experiencing the much lauded concept of “having it all”, I can’t help but recognise the fact that for each and every one of us that there’s a different meaning to that phrase which in turn directly challenges how we live and engage with the never ending events within our lives.

Self Portrait at Museum Station, Sydney – Kate Doak – 2/12/2014
Self Portrait at Museum Station, Sydney – Kate Doak – 2/12/2014

Like a massive soap bubble taking shape within a home-made bubble wand, our minds are constantly moulding the desires that each and every one of us has throughout each and every stage of our lives. So while sometimes “having it all” may feel impossible to grasp and comprehend for any of us, at other times it can be completely and utterly within our reach.

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A journalist’s reflections on Sydney’s “Day of Days” in at Martin Place….

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

If there’s one thing that will stay with me for many years from the afternoon of the Lindt Cafe Siege, it’ll be the memory of seeing families strolling up the length of Martin Place and taking “selfies” from just beyond the confines of the police barricade. Like moths being entranced into the flame, it was almost as if some people were viewing the ultimately horrific scene unfolding across the street from the 7 newsroom as a festival, rather than a psychological nightmare that’d emerged from the depths of Hell.

Martin Place Siege - 15/12/2014 - Photo: Kate Doak
Looking up towards the Martin Place Siege – 15/12/2014 – Photo: Kate Doak

But while the general public is often shielded from such atrocities (hence their fascination with such events when they happen on their front door), more often than not it’s the emergency services, professional media, victim’s families and social workers amongst others who bear the full brunt of the stories that tend to unfold in extremely graphic fashion around them, as it’s ultimately their responsibility to do so. From the Royal Commission into Child Abuse through to the events within the Lindt Chocolate Cafe, sometimes there’s scenes that can neither become unseen nor be forgotten by those who witness them.

Now as a freelance journalist who occasionally works with the likes of international news divisions such as the one run by the American Broadcasting Company, on a couple of occasions it’s been my job to get in and find the hard hitting news that hurts, even when it rips away at your emotions (and those of your colleagues) in ways best left publicly unsaid. Needless to say while such stories are ultimately traumatic, they also help fully describe and showcase the true nature of the human condition as we know it, in ways that help us rediscover ourselves as people.

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Grinning and Bearing it… Hartcher and Tinkler leaving ICAC in photos….

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

Every so often you run into a media scrum at the Independent Commission Against Corruption where everything just becomes chaotic to the extreme.  Whenever that happens, you can either grin and bear it like Nathan Tinkler sensibly did last week by walking in and out of ICAC via the front door and have the drama disappear soon there after, or you can lead the press on a merry chase through the streets and department stores of the CBD of Sydney and ensure that you become headline news as a result.

Tinkler Walking Out of ICAC
Tinkler walking calmly out of ICAC – 15/5/14 – Photo: Kate Doak

Against all political and public relations logic however, the Honourable Christopher Hartcher and his entourage of protective supporters have taken the latter option not once but twice over the past couple of days, with a few reporters being injured yesterday and another nearly getting their arm caught in a car door today in the car-park basement of the ICAC building at 133 Castlereigh Street in Sydney as the former Natural Resources Minister has tried to make two successive quick getaways.

Now for the record, I don’t begrudge people for getting a little bit pushy in such instances (within reason), as sometimes you’ve just got to clear the way in order to get out of a building.  What I do take offence to however is when the aforementioned pushing ventures into very inappropriate areas or in ways that are bordering upon assault.

Between wandering hands (and fists) in the ICAC lifts through to Lee Jeloscek being purposefully kicked and tripped by one of Chris Hartcher’s relatives during Monday’s media scrum though, one has got to wonder just what has been going on in Mr Hartcher’s office if such activities only result in a smirk from Mr Hartcher rather than some form of humanistic level of concern over people getting hurt.  Whether some people like it or not, journalists are human beings like everyone else and deserve the right to be able to go to work each day and not get assaulted as a result.

Needless to say, a couple of well placed comments to the press are also more likely to make an issue go away than having images of people getting hurt being splashed across the news.

I mean seriously…. Even Marie Ficarra’s miniature schnauzer would realise that one.

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