Pride Month in Creative Writing, Academia and Social Work!

Pride Month is upon as, the seasons of the gays, is upon us. In the spirit of pride, I will be dedicating a few more blog posts this month to queer creators!

Today I just wanted to focus on three Professional Areas of my life and how being showing pride in the queer community in these sectors has resonated and affected the networks I am a part of!

For those unaware, I identify as Bisexual as hinted at in the pride flag on this post. I will just mention as an aside, the I didn’t particularly enjoy the colours of the flag but they have grown on me

Creative Writing

So recently I have been shortlisted for the Penguin Random House Write It Fellowship which has been an awesome writing confidence boost. It has also been an exemplar for my pride in my writing themes and identity, as it was designed for under-represented writers. Still waiting to hear if I am a finalist but regardless, it has been an exciting time that I feel could have only be accomplished if I expelled pride in my day to day life, and my own writing craft.

Academia

Cass’ Model of Homosexuality Development neatly outlines the stages of realising gay identity (which has been further refined by others).

The Six Stages are:

  1. Identity Confusion
  2. Identity Comparison
  3. Identity Tolerance
  4. Identity Acceptance
  5. Identity Pride
  6. Identity Synthesis

These stages I would argue are fluid and don’t need to be strictly followed, as it is just a way of understanding. I feel I have synthesised this identity for a while now. Although, promoting Bi-synthesis probably sounds more like plant science experiment.

In Academia, I am starting an honours next semester in the area of same-sex marriage and social work. Showing pride in this area prideful will help get out a more considered and tailored approach when researching and writing up this honours. As Bisexual minority, I imagine there will be some reference to bisexual in same-sex marriage as well.

Social Work

Recently in my last placement, I initiated, developed and facilitated a Professional Development about working the queer community in the context of the agency I was at for Staff and Volunteers. Having pride in being helped reevaluate how information was handled and helped open conversations about homophobia within the context of their client base. It was great experience which again, only happened when I could take pride in a part of my identity. However, this will affect their client base much more and in so many positive ways, that I feel thrilled to have led some impact.

This is just a taste of what promoting pride has contributed in my life. I should mention, I have the social conditions that have allowed this to happen, not everyone has this opportunity. But if you have the opportunity to express this in one of the avenues of your life, I say Take It!

You never know who you might help!

Deity – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #8

Today we breakdown ‘Deity’, the 8th poem of the Autumn, That Bastard poetry collection. ‘Deity’ ponders not ‘who made the universe’ but rather, ‘who made me’. This is poem is in the Autumn that is the construction of my beliefs, values and my spiritual identity.

You can find Deity here before moving on!

Before I delve further into what I am rambling about, I have recently signed up for a fundraiser where I will will be writing 6 poems over a writing filled weekend to help get young people who are disadvantaged get into creative writing workshops! Donations of $15 will get you a PDF version of the 6 poems as a thank you!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast

But Onto Deity!

In my Author’s Comments section, I talk about how these religions have moulded and constructed my values. However, in here, to continue with the theme of different interpretations of the same poem (as mentioned in ‘There, We’re Whispers’), I am actually using the deities named as representations of events and figures in my life.

“Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.”

The allusion I reference, to the compliment of the face and the reference to Cronulla is my boyfriend. Where all the trains meet is allusion to Central/City stations where me and my boyfriend have tended to meet up at. I liken it to God (shout out to Ariana Grande who does something similar with ‘God is a woman’) as God has been a consistent influence in my life.

“I found Buddha once in the closet of my mind.”

This is a reference to developing calmness to override instinct in my daily interaction. I have become more inclined and reflective in daily interactions since, and many of the typical values expected of Buddhism I have grown to appreciate.

“My teeth were hot and I was sick of faded rainbows.”

The comment about Vishnu and Hinduism, is a comment on polytheism which is an allusion to me emerging on the gay scene and experiencing the community. The faded rainbows imagery metaphorically represents the transition of acceptance from straight to queer.

“In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.”

In honesty, I have never considered adopting any other spiritual belief apart from my current view point, which is kind of agnostic. I have critiqued how western society (‘White’) has been so exclusionary towards Islam. The broken encore is a reference to how I will try to remain an ally for religious freedom, but how western society has probably heard my arguments before and engaged in this debate numerous times.

Are there any lines that piqued your interest? Let me know on my social media or in the comments below!

Other poems of the collection:

The Penelope Complex
There, We’re Whispers
Leviticus

International Transgender Day of Visibility

I wanted to write a few words in support of International Transgender Visibility Day! As a social worker interested in LGBTQIA+ issues and working in those spaces, I try promote issues relating to the trans experience in my practice. As a writer/reader, I appreciate stories such as ‘Julian is a Mermaid’ that show and validate the trans perspective.

But even though books like Julian is a mermaid are important, I also love stories that include transgender and gender diverse characters, without making that their whole characterisation and goal of a story.

You need only look on this Wikipedia Article to see how important and prominent diverse gender identification is, not just our euro-centric construction. Particularly two groups I have studied of note are the Bugis of Indonesia and the Sistergirls/Brotherboys of ‘First Nations’ people.These two groups don’t even use the label of transgender and these types of gender-diversity has existed for a long time.

To further promote this visibility, I want to present Seishun (Emily) and her new track ‘hello to the sunshine’, which is quite an uplifting song!

I’m loving this track and if you want, please consider supporting my friend’s musical endeavours here:
https://seishun.bandcamp.com/track/hello-to-the-sunshine

Please continue this visibility, by including transgender issues in your works, by being an active ally and even in the smallest way. Even by just saying hello to the sunshine!

What The Heck am I Rambling About? #4 – For James

Happy Belated Valentines Day to you all! In this ‘What The Heck Am I Rambling About?’ I discuss the fourth poem in the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ poetry collection titled, ‘For James’. Hint: it’s a love poem.

Check it out here before going on a head to get a better understanding of what I am about to ramble about.

Rather than being something that having some hidden message, the first line of the poem (which is also to be read as the title of the poem) clearly articulates the audience and the second and third stanza outlines the feelings, or rather with the pun, what the matter is.

“It doesn’t really matter… matter. / What is the matter now?”

Sunk ships references ‘shipping-culture’ in terms of pairing up two peoples. The men part references gay-dating culture but with my boy, there is no sense of destruction… which was at writing of this poem, a different tone from other encounters with the gays.

You may notice a bit of a pattern if you’ve read Authenticity, Leviticus and this poem. The poem get’s meta, reminding the audience why it exists. It is reminder, an endless reminder. You may notice that there are a sprinkle of oceanic/beach metaphors in here. I refer to it as the sea captures discovery, journeys and excitement.

Linking up to the ‘Autumn, That Bastard‘ Collection, I show that Autumn is not always shrouded in challenges. In the last few stanzas, I refer to this being a reminder. Autumn is a cyclical being and like many periods of our life, has it’s up and downs. This particular ‘Autumn’ is an up and critically-acclaimed success in my opinion!

I love you, James!

Check out my other recent poems:

D.I.R.G.Ezine – Fanzine and Kickstarter I am now a part of!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reigndragon/dirgezine

Exciting news! I am now a part of a kickstarter for a fanzine about Diversity in Role-Playing Game Experiences (D.I.R.G.Ezine)!

The premise is that Role-playing games (such as DnD) have a fair portion of the community that is rather underrepresented in the hobby. The fanzine is aimed at showing off the talents of the different artists, writers and members of the diverse RPG community.

I am excited to be a part of such an opportunity to allow a hobby that I love to grow in a more inclusive way! I will be writing an article about the representation of gender and sexuality in the hobby, as both a game master and as a player.

The release is scheduled for July/August 2019.

If you would like to back the kickstarter or find out more about it, you can find a link to it here!