Category: Twitter

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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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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Albanese admitted his leading role in the deposing of Gillard on Election Night…..

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Earlier today, the following exchange between Barrie Cassidy and The Hon. Anthony Albanese took place about loyalty on the ABC’s Insiders program, in relation to The Hon. Kevin Rudd and the overthrow of Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier this year.  This statement by Mr Albanese is in stark contrast to his comments on the night of the 2013 Federal Election, about Former Prime Minister Gillard’s disposal back in June.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Further on the question of loyalty, can you say hand on heart you knew nothing of the destabilisation and the undermining that was going on against Julia Gillard?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Of course not. Everyone knew about it Barrie, it was in the paper.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Yes but you knew beyond what was written in the paper and you knew who was doing the undermining?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Everyone knew what was going on, Barrie, everyone knew it. The question is do you involve yourself in it? And certainly I didn’t. I was of the view, I was of the view very strongly, that we should concentrate on taking up the challenge to the opposition.

And I think now what we need to do is actually look to the future. We need to draw a line in the sand under this and we need to unite and move forward with whoever is the leader Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: OK, but you say you knew it was going on. You heard talk of the cardinals, the group that called themselves the cardinals, Kim Carr, Joel Fitzgibbon and Richard Marles, that was Rudd’s core group of supporters. Why didn’t you go to them at some point and say “This has to stop”?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Barrie, the fact is, going over history, everyone knew this was going on. What my job was, each and every day, Barrie, I was leader of the house, minister for infrastructure and transport, minister for regional Australia and local government. I frankly, Barrie, had enough on my plate arguing against our political opponents. That was what I concentrated on each and every day.

What we need to do is to make sure that every member of the caucus moving forward does just that, Barrie.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You could have done more surely. And the suspicion is you didn’t want to because, as Pam Williams wrote in the Financial Review, that you were a secret cardinal. What do you say to that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, Barrie, that’s just not the case. Pam Williams didn’t bother to speak to me about any of those articles.

Now this is a particularly interesting series of commentss by Mr Albanese, given that at the Cyprus Club in Stanmore on Election Night he confirmed off-the-cuff on stage and on camera, that he had purposefully been undermining former Prime Minister Gillard in the weeks and months prior to her removal from the ALP Leadership only a couple of months ago. Needless to say, the campaign to replace Prime Minister Gillard earlier this year was anything but positive, according to Mr Albanese.

Mr Albanese: One of the lessons the Labor Party needs to learn and needs to show in the coming weeks, days and weeks, is that when we talk about ourselves, people switch off. We need to talk about Australians and what is of interest to them. And when we are not united, when we are not united, we will be punished for it.

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The Liberals’ Jaymes Diaz is going for a “Greenway” in more ways than one (videos attached)

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.
James Diaz, Courtesy of The Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Branch
James Diaz, Courtesy of The Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Branch

Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder in this election, two new videos and a website involving the Liberals’ Candidate for Greenway Jayme Diaz have emerged over the course of the past few hours which throw further water upon his electoral flame.  This includes an extended video of Channel 7’s encounter with Jaymes Diaz from a couple of days ago, as well as some interesting environmental commentary of Mr Diaz’s from mid 2005.

As stated by the ABC’s resident Political Social Media Reporter, Latika Bourke:

Now this is where the fun and games begin, as the link that Latika provides goes straight to an old Google Blogger account that Jayme Diaz apparently possessed from early 2000 through to late 2005.   As you can see via the screenshot below, there’s a direct link to a 2005 environmentalist video that Mr Diaz looks to have created and posted on “The Diaz Foundation’s” website, entittled “Tree Huggers Unite”.  Given that the Diaz Foundation’s website has been taken down since 2007, The Wayback Machine Internet Archives gives us a glimpse of what was on that video (which is the same video attached to this paragraph) and The Diaz Foundation’s website itself.  This website also includes a photo biography of a Mr Jaymes Diaz, which corresponds with his official Liberal Party biography.

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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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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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“Cracking the Whip” over political flame wars…

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Last night I noticed part of a running battle on Twitter between Peter Van Onselen, Peter Phelps MLC (Liberals Whip) and The Honourable Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell.

After a bit of too-ing and fro-ing between the “Pair of Peters” over the issue of professionalism in both the media and politics, the Premier started “Cracking the Whip” a little after it started looking like Phelps was just trying to provoke an incident with a journalist for the fun of it.

 

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To which Phelps replied:

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Now while “flame-wars” may appear to be a lot of fun, more often than not they only end in tears and a whole world of professional hurt for all parties involved.  Given that Van Onselen has deleted all of but a handful of tweets on his account again due to the drama, it’s not hard to see that what was going on yesterday touched a few nerves with him.  Needless to say, there’s a few lessons to be learned from incidents like this for both journalists, politicians and the general public alike.

These include –

  1. Don’t make things personal:  Regardless of a person’s position in a political party, profession or society in general, everyone has feelings and those feelings can be hurt. More often than not, more opportunities are lost than gained when somebody decides to take disagreements to a personal level in public. Australian politicians, journalists and the general public are particularly guilty of this one on occasion.  Also just because people disagree on some issues, doesn’t mean that we’re not similar on others. e.g. The ALP/Green/Coalition Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians Group in Canberra.
  2. Once something is published online, assume someone has a copy of it:  While it’s possible to delete a tweet, there’s plenty of programs and websites around today that can allow people to make a copy of anything you put online as soon as you publish it. From Google Cache through to PolitWoops, it isn’t hard to see what public figures have tweeted and then deleted if you know where to look.
  3. People have long memories, especially when they are offended:  More often than not, people will remember grudges longer than what they will remember happy occasions. While sometimes sharp words need to be spoken, don’t burn your bridges over something that in the grand scheme of things is only of minor significance (if that) in the long-term.
  4. Don’t be a “Keyboard Warrior” during conversations:  In the digital telecommunications era, the Internet is just as real a world as the physical one we live in everyday and will become more so over the coming decades. If you wouldn’t say something to somebody’s face, then you haven’t got an excuse to say it online. This goes for both “flame wars” and ordinary disagreements that occur both online and in the non-virtual world.

 

So while I’m not taking sides in this little dispute (both Peters are adults and can look after themselves anyway), there’s a lot that we can all learn from such encounters when they occur. By learning from and admitting our mistakes in both the real and virtual worlds, we can learn from such incidents and become better people as a result from them if we try hard enough.