Words Cordelia Attenborough
In 2016, ABC’s Heywire put a call out to LGBTI+ young people living in regional places, wanting to hear their voices. In 2017, we responded with Hear & Queer: a new podcast series documenting the stories of LGBTI+ young people living in Tasmania. Stories were recorded and produced by a group of young LGBTI+ Tasmanians and Working It Out, Tasmania’s gender, sexuality and intersex status support and education service. Hear & Queer is about providing a positive and insightful platform for queer youth in Tasmania.
Our podcast is conscious of the limited representation of the queer community in the media and so aims to provide a space for real and relatable queer experiences to be shared. We want our community to feel valued and listened to.
Jasper, 22, whose story features in the debut series said:
“I chose to tell my story for the podcast project because I believe in the power of storytelling and representation.
We as an LGBTI+ community, and especially in my experience, the trans community, are often sensationalised or left invisible. I wanted to tackle this using my own diverse voice as a person who has identified across the spectrum of gender and sexuality and come out of it happy.
If I can make one person realise that the way they feel when they look at somebody of the same gender isn’t wrong, or that they will one day identify with who they see in their reflection, that they too will be happy, then I will have achieved what I set out to do with telling my story.”
The podcast series strives to represent a diverse range of individuals, with our first series bringing storytellers from Somerset to Kelso Beach, Devonport, Launceston and Hobart. This collection of stories demonstrates how different life is for queer young people living in regional places. Our first series tells stories which delve into the lives of those who often go unheard. Raw and deep conversations about ‘coming-out’, transitioning, romance, acceptance and living in a world where representation of queer people is hard to find.
According to Julia Jean, 21, who also features in a podcast episode:
“I decided to share my coming out story so that other young teens living in rural areas who may be questioning their sexuality can see that they are not alone. That what they’re feeling is perfectly okay and that they are valid and worthy of love and acceptance. I wish that when I was younger there was someone out there to tell me that I was going to be okay and that who I was scared of being was okay.
Though I was anxious to share my story and have others listen to it, I found the experience liberating actually, finally saying aloud how I came to be here at a time in my life where I fully accept my sexuality and love myself.”
Each episode is a personal and insightful story shared by different queer young people living in Tasmania who vary in gender, sexual orientation and experience with their identity in their lives. Some of our storytellers are ‘out’ and open about who they are, while others have elected to stay anonymous due to the environment of stigma and discrimination which still exists. Many whom have chosen to tell their story hope that by doing so, they can help others come to accept themselves, reduce isolation and help instil a greater understanding in the broader community about the challenges faced by LGBTI+ young people.
Zachary, 21, who also featured in Hear & Queer, said of recording his story:
“I wanted to take part in this podcast project as a way of giving people an idea of what it is like to grow up in North West Tasmania as a young queer person. I’ve loved telling my story and I hope sharing my story inspires others from the North West to tell their stories.”
Hear & Queer’s first season debuted in November 2017 and featured music by Zevende Klasse, a project of established Hobart musician Chloe Escott (The Native Cats).
Keep an eye out via the Working It Out website and Facebook page for Hear & Queer and direct access to episodes via our brand new website and Facebook page.
Hear & Queer is a project of Working It Out Inc, supported by an FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant. We would also like to thank Hobart City Council’s Youth Arts and Recreation Centre for the use of their recording room.