Mardi Gras 2021: Queer Perspectives on Out of the Box

March 6th 2021

In the lead up to Mardi Gras 2021, Mia Hull sat down with five superstars from the Sydney LGBTQIA+ community to chat about their lives and the songs that soundtracked the big moments. 

Robyn Kennedy (she/her) – “The thing that distinguishes ‘78 is the level of violence perpetrated by police.” 

Throughout her life Robyn Kennedy’s work has been informed by a commitment to social justice. From growing up in a very Catholic family, Robyn went on to be an organiser in the first Sydney Mardi Gras on June 24 1978, a night marked by police brutality.   

In this episode, Robyn soundtracks her life with songs exclusively by queer women as she reflects on June 24 1978, meeting her longterm partner Anne and her hope that young LGBTQIA+ people today remeber those who fought hard for their rights and that the fight isn’t over yet.

Content warning: This episode contains discussions of homophobia and mentions of police violence and suicide. 

Bianca Willoughby (she/her) – “A lot of who I am is what you can’t see.” 

Walbunja woman Bianca Willoughby is an Interdisciplinary artist exploring disability and trans identity through her work. She was also a musician for a while, then a fine dining chef and a DJ!

In this episode, Bianca talks about the aesthetics of chronic illness, cooking for Madonna, childhood moments of gender euphoria, the McIver’s Baths controversy and reclaiming her Aboriginality after living most of her life knowing very little about her Walbunja ancestry. 

View Bianca’s work here. You can sign the petition supporting trans women’s inclusion at McIver’s Ladies Baths here. For trans or gender diverse folks looking for support, Bianca recommends Transhub, ACON and The Gender Diverse Centre.

Content warning: This episode features discussions of drug abuse and gender dysphoria.

Rosie Piper (she/her) – “Comedy is full of a bunch of rejects who all have mental health issues.”

Rosie Piper has gone from class clown to Australia’s Premiere Lesbian Trans Comedian. 

In this episode, Rosie reflects on growing up in the oppressive white suburbia of the Shire, her emo phase as a teen, finding her religion at Meredith Music Festival and then experiencing puberty all over again after starting gender affirming hormones in her 30s. 

It’s not cheap to be trans and Rosie is raising funds to become her true self – help a trans gal out and support Rosie’s GoFundMe here

Tilly Lawless (she/her) – “You’re not going to be able to end sex work, you just need to ensure the human rights of those in the sex work industry.”

Queer sex worker Tilly Lawless is passionate about sex worker rights, feminism and horses. 

In this episode, Tilly tells Mia about the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation, the complex relationship between feminism and sex work, what SWERFS and TERFS have in common and her messy European summer soundtracked by Dido. 

Tilly shares resources related to sex worker rights on her Insta @tilly_lawless.

If you’re a sex worker looking for support or someone who wants to be a supportive ally check out Scarlet Alliance and SWOP

Content warning: strong language, and discussions of sex, sexuality, and sex work, and mentions of mental illness and drug use.

JamarzOnMarz (he/him) – “Not me growing up and realising Harmony Day is just tokenism.”  

Growing up Black and queer in regional NSW was tough for rapper and saxophonist JamarzOnMarz. 

In this episode, Jamarz talks about why censoring hair is censoring identity, performing with icon Solange, his fear of losing a finger and his advice to all the baby queers out there scared to come out to their parents. 

And as a sweet surprise, Jamarz also blessed us with a sneaky live performance/nod to the many potholes of Orange. 

You can Jamarz’s petition to stop schools restricting Afro-textured hair and protective styles here.

Content warning: Discussions of bullying and racism. 

Tune in to Out of the Box with Mia Hull every Thursday or catch up wherever you get your podcasts.


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