Category: Transphobia

I am more than my body…

By Kate Doak
By Kate Doak

On Monday the 25th of May, a chill went through my veins in a way that is indescribable with words, as my arms started to convulse in the throes of an overwhelming anxiety attack that left me feeling sick to both my personal and professional cores.

There in black and white on the screen in front of me, was a paragraph that challenged not only my gender identity and sexuality, but my ability to remain professional and impartial in a way that no journalist, let alone person, should ever be expected to face. Like a rabbit caught within the eyes of a snake, it left me feeling terrified in a way that I had not felt in years, as the memories of some of the worst times in my life came flooding back. Read more

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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Playing politics with same sex and gender diverse people’s lives…

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Over the past six months, I’ve been getting pretty disillusioned with the entire “Marriage Equality” debate and a lot of the federal politicians that have been supporting it. Like a Bull with a sore head, some of them have been consistently pursuing something that they know won’t happen in the current parliament, regardless of how much they kick, scream and dance for the cameras each morning infront of Parliament House about it.  While I’m strongly pro marriage equality, the dog and pony show that’s stopped so many other crucial Same Sex and Gender Diverse rights from being realised throughout the 43rd Australian Parliament needs to stop, because the recklessness behind it is doing more harm for the wider LGBTI community than good.

Sourced from @sarahintheSen8's twitter account.
Sourced from @SarahintheSen8’s twitter account.

Now unlike some of the blindly loyal, flag-waving “marriage or bust” activists that can be found in places like Oxford Street during Mardi Gras, I know what it feels like living in the “Real World” where Same Sex and Gender Diverse youth often have to struggle for healthcare, employment, education and in sadly a lot of cases, a safe place to sleep at night. I’ve had to deal with workplace harassment about my gender identity and sexuality, while I’ve also had to decide what days I’m going to go without food, as I haven’t had the money to cover the basic essentials of both life and job hunting at the same time.  Given that I’ve got a University degree, have a rather extensive level of experience in my profession and have been applying for any job I can get, it hasn’t been through a lack of trying that I’ve been unable to get a job.

Now I’m probably going to get dragged over hot coals again by Sarah Hanson-Young’s office for this, but it’s predominantly been the Greens and a few of their more vocal activist supporters who have been making me as cranky as they come over this issue.  That’s because whenever it’s politically advantageous for them to advocate for something (i.e. lots of potential political donors) they’ll advocate for it, however whenever there isn’t (such as with gender diverse people), they won’t.  Between their grandstanding over bringing in yet another Marriage Equality bill (that is doomed to fail in its current form) through to outright insulting ads like the one below, I’m sick and tired of having my right as a human being to survive, being used as a political football by people who appear to be lip-service allies at this time.

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Gaynor accuses Army Chiefs of promoting Child Abuse – Further attacks LGBTI Officers

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

 

 

Normally I don’t like writing when I’m angry, but when you run into dehumanising comments like the one I’ve reposted below from Bernard Gaynor’s website, sometimes you can’t help but feel slightly emotional when working on a story.

Bernard Gaynor – Photo courtesy of 3AW Melbourne

Malcolm is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army but also masquerades as Cate.

He thinks that because he has had a nip here, a tuck there and popped a bunch of pills that he is now a woman.

I don’t like to speak on behalf of women, so I’ll let them describe how they feel about his analysis that femininity consists of the sum result of a bunch of cosmetic surgery and hormones stuffed in a bottle.

While they consider their response, it might be worthwhile for them to remember that Malcolm has publicly stated that he is still attracted to the ladies. And when he puts on his Army skirt and lipstick, he is allowed to hang out with them in the bathroom.

This was followed up in a recent update with:

The other thing I’ll say about Malcolm is that he may not be female, but he sure does act like the Queen Bee.

…….

Angus, as the Deputy Chief of Army is affectionately known around my parts now, also said I should resign from my position with the Army Reserve. I suppose that is a polite way of saying bugger off.

And I have politely ignored his request, although I did pen this piece in honour of Angus.

Now, I don’t want to jump to any false conclusions, like thinking that Malcolm is getting a better deal in terms of treatment from the military head honchos than I am. But I am starting to consider signing off my correspondence with the chain of command as Bernice.

Maybe then they will listen to the evidence I have put to them that the ADF is complicit in child abuse by marching with a bunch of men clad in leather G-strings and busloads of topless women while kids looked on at the Mardi Gras.

Maybe then they will listen to the truth that soldiers don’t want women in front line combat roles and that they would have more confidence in Malcolm if he didn’t pretend that he was Cate.

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Troll Wars, Haters and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

I don’t normally engage in troll wars, though given that a close friend of mine has been the target of systematic abuse throughout International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (aka IDAHO), I’m going to break that little rule for once.

Throughout yesterday and today, the following transphobic abuse has been hurled at Lt Colonel Catherine McGregor, via a person claiming to be Phillip Maguire. As a lot of you would know, there was a Phillip Maguire at the Herald Sun throughout the 1990’s, who then supposedly went on to be a farmer in the Victorian High Country.

Here’s a taste of what Phillip Maguire has written below, in full.

 

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05/16/2013

The ‘ladyfriend” strikes back.

A few weeks ago I had some words to say about Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his sensitive new age approach to an ‘old mate who has morphed into a new lady friend.”

Today I received correspondence from that new lady friend and I thought I may as well share it with you. The writer is Lt Col Malcolm AKA Cate McGregor or should we call him “cateypie” after his email addy.

Cateypie wrote:

Hey tough guy-see you had a few sneering comments to make about me after the Janet Albrechtsen column. You know nothing of me beyond your prejudice.Feel free to pass this on your six followers. Ever done day’s military service or does culling rabbits represent the extent of your ticker? I’ll run my record of service and decency against you any day. Call yourself a Christian? You make me puke. Hope you get to Canberra some time-unlike you I don’t hide behind hash tags and mons de plume. Drop in a tell me how I should live my life. Good luck with the cattle-don’t see you cutting it as a ‘journalist.” Cate McGregor”

Now that seems a macho brand of correspondence which only serves to reinforce my opinion that McGregor is not remotely female, but is actually autogynephilic meaning he is a man who is in love with the image of himself as a woman.

Needless to say he didn’t evoke any kind of sympathetic reponse. Here is my reply.

You’ve got a problem, girly boy. It’s called a paraphilia and you have never had either the personal strength of character or the guts to face up to it and get over it. You’re a disgrace and an embarrassment to the Australian Armed Forces. What’d they do with your knackers? Stick ’em in a bottle for you to display on your mantelpiece? I don’t hide behind hash tags and noms de plume. I say what needs to be said and I say it in my own name, unlike you who uses a name that belongs to the opposite sex. You love your mirror, girly boy, and that’s essentially all you care about. You’re like a moth to the light. It’s tragic really – such unrequited love of self.

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