When I was 25, I got a job at the Gender Centre in Sydney as an Outreach/HIV Prevention Worker. I had no idea that, in November of 1996, I had walked into the tail end of the most historical moment for transgender people in Australia.
I was privileged to get to know many of the people in the video below. They taught me universes about gender and its social and biological role in culture. I also made a couple of lifelong friends.
One of those was Nadine Stransen, who died at the awfully young age of 52 last year. The response to her death by authorities has been seen by some as inadequate, indifferent, and discriminatory.
Nadine was a campaigner for justice for people who live outside of gender norms. It's been so very difficult for the people close to her to understand how she died or have faith in the official findings.
For so many reasons, I wanted to write about her story. My hope is that this article, published today in The Saturday Paper, will start a discussion about Nadine's life, her work, and the way her friends and family feel in respect to her death. Maybe also, a greater look at the rights of a community that suffers immense discrimination, in the face of the laws that Nadine ensured were in place. But also, because I miss her. We all miss her in so many ways. We never imagined the world without her, and it's way more beige a place without her.
The video below, Sexing the Label, is a fascinating insight into the philosophies of the transgender community when I met many members, over 20 years ago. There are some very brave and resilient people amongst these participants and with ideas way more progressive than what I read now. But I think we were way more progressive back then, thanks to people like Nadine.
But those are views for another day. For now:
To Nadine xo...