Jensen: Every way is okay
How should we talk about gender? Jensen discusses the importance of tolerance and respect.
Is a label a help or a hinder? Andrew tells us how dyslexia has shaped the way he interacts with the world.
Steph Kent: From Dance Hall Days to Discos At some stage of our lives, we will reflect on our careless youth, self-determining careers and heart-making or breaking relationships. Some of us will be lucky enough to grow old and will start to hink about what we have really down with ourselves, after all these years. Will we know the meaning of life by then?
Steph is now 87 years old and has lived through decades of lifestyles, trends and social norms. She has loved, loathed, created and explored. Now, Steph spends her days visiting her beloved husband Michael, who is experiencing the first stages of dementia
Guest Contributor: Behind The Wire is an oral history project, sharing the stories of people who have experienced mandatory detention in Australia. Behind the Label is lucky enough to be able to share some of these stories here.
The following is an exert from John's story, he was detained for three months after fleeing Afghanistan in 1999.
Jacob: Trans+ InclusionJacob Thomas is a Young influential legend of the Australian Trans and gender diverse community. An educator, advocate and consultant, Jacob has had a wide reach and impact on leading universities, human rights spaces, and on members of the Commonwealth to say the least.
Troy: On Drugs and Disability.
Troy works with youth in a program that diverts at-risk young people from homelessness and disengagement. He has a family and children and everyday at work. He brings a placid cool presence to lunched. After passing comments and conversations, his deeper and darker past appeared in small hints. Intrigued, I sat down with Troy and what delve into his own experiences and what drives him to do the work he does today.
Sayad & Rob: For the Sake of Life
Rob and Sayad are Rohingyan, a Muslim ethnic minority that live in the majority Buddhist nation of Myanmar. About 1.1 million Rohingya people live in Myanmar’s state of Rakhine, but none are recognised by the government as citizens. Rob & Sayad tell us of their journey by boat through the seas to find better life chances in Australia.
Akram: Have Faith
Singapore’s creatives, expatriates and migrants gather in one abandoned art space soon to be demolished by the government. Here we all are, at The Mill on a Sunday evening supporting powerful poetry, stories and music of a social group with limited opportunity to define themselves outside of their role as migrant or transient workers.
The Koscielniaks: Making Home Away from Home
The Koscielniaks are two polish migrants who arrived in Canada over 20 years ago with their first born child. Barbara is a soft spoken and gentle woman, who has been operating Aston Johnston’s weaving machines for over 10 years now. Her partner Janusz speaks English with a deep husk in his chords. Janusz works for the DDO, a borough in Montreal. Barbara and Janusz were refugees in the 1980s and have come a long way since living in communist Poland.
Dora: Taking Domestic Violence Out of the Home
It is one big step to acknowledge there is a problem and another step to share this story with others. In our conversation, it was apparent that due to the rawness of the situation, Dora had not accepted elements of what had happened to her. She speaks to us about her recent escape from domestic violence and challenges what is commonly assumed about these women.
Aero 164: What’s in a Name?
Hidden in the camouflage of the urban landscape are graffiti artists who appear to us under a different guise by day. At work we encounter the young professional and colleague, but without the uniform we encounter the not so conventional artist.
Ben: Not the End of the World
At the age of 22, in the peak of his active involvement in sports, Ben’s right leg was amputated as a result of a severe accident at his work. As Ben tells us more about his experiences, he comfortably acknowledges that he has had significant self-esteem issues. When we come to know more of his story, Ben shows us that it is not the end of the world and rather that with acceptance, determination and the support from positive networks, we can continue to live at our best.
David Rogers: The Rich in Enrichment
At 71 years old, David lived through decades of social trends and ideas. But the continuous change and pressures of a highly capitalized world have not stopped him to pursue his own goals of freedom and sustainability. David Rogers is a self-made man, owning his own custom leather shop in Central Montreal.
Nayuka: Connecting with Indigeneity
Nayuka Gorrie is part of many projects and councils supporting Indigenous Youth. Outside of these things, she manages an eccentric wardrobe and a lifestyle of a young 23 year old woman. Nayuka and I settle over a glass of vodka, lime and soda at Murmur Bar in Melbourne’s CBD. Here she tells her own story of the history we carelessly forget.
Emily: Inside Mental Health
Emily has lived with mental illness since she was 9 years old. Despite her health, Emily is one of the strongest individuals I have had the fortune to know. A highly philosophical, intelligent and wise character, she has made particular decisions in life that have shaped her personal growth, from working in the BDSM (Bondage Domination Sado-Masochism) environment, to becoming a mentor for African individuals transitioning from prison.
Grace: Why We are Here
Grace has been a strong companion to her husband and a mother of three beautiful children, two of whom have autism. She has had experiences few of us can imagine – experiencing significant poverty and losing the support of her closest family due to the ‘taboos’ of disability in Asian cultures. Yet despite the hurdles she has had to overcome, Grace remains a powerful figure that challenges our capacity to take on pain and transform these into learning lessons for ourselves.
Same 2: What’s in a Name?
Following from Aero 164’s interview, Same 2 shares a little more of the Ins and Outs of graffiti culture. For Same 2, graffiti exists strictly outside societal norms – the true graffiti artist has to begin with illegal pieces. Illegal or not however, Same 2 explains that graffiti is an art form in itself and its creative practices are part of a global community of artists.
Wati: Breadwinning Mother & Maid
Nannies in South-East Asia are shunned away and live in shoebox rooms, eat leftover food and use separate toilets to their host families. These nannies continue to work for a few dollars a day, long extended work hours, and they are commonly spoken down to because they come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Through another lens, we could almost say it is modern-day slavery.
Hannah: Becoming a Paralympian
Hannah was born without the lower part of her right leg – many of us would assume this would be a drawback on our ability to live an active, mobile and fulfilling life. When talking to Hannah, it became apparent that her life story is not about impairment, disadvantage or incapability. Rather, it is about hard work, positive thinking and success.
Pete: More than Gay
First impressions of anyone can often be misguided and simplified. 10 years ago, when I first met Pete at a Maroon 5 concert, his white, punctured shirt, with its scant material draping across his chest, became a clear indicator of his sexuality. Beyond being gay however, Pete desires regular human interactions that does not necessarily boast about his sexuality.