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My favourite things are my girlfriend, cats and, I was going to say my support network, but I think myself. I think I’ve actually come to love myself recently.

My mum committed suicide about four years ago. I moved to Canberra after her suicide because I was still quite young. I wanted to start a really cool rescue because she loved cats; Leah’s Pawsitive Future is about suicide prevention. We’re rescuing cats, creating something positive and being part of mental illness, carers, and disability—as much as we can get involved with!

I think the support you can find in Canberra is great. We meet women in cat rescue and just click immediately. I grew up on the Gold Coast and it’s a completely different environment; it’s catty—the bad sort of catty! It’s harder to make friends and people are more stand-offish. Whereas here, I feel that everyone wants us to be a community.

I also feel there is a lot more female pride and respect here than there.

On the other hand I have experienced a lot of bias as a woman in Canberra; I’ve moved workplaces because of it. I didn’t know it was still such a big issue. I hate being called “darl” at work by men—that’s my pet hate. I mean, no! I’m not your darl! If you were to say it to that guy over there it would be weird, so let’s just keep us all on the same playing field.

We also get a lot of bias being lesbians—the bias against bisexual, lesbian and gay people is still really, really big. So we’ve got a lot of female pride going on in our house—all our cats are males, but I don’t know how that worked out!

I am a bit of a feminist and participated in some forums for women while in Queensland. Around fifty women were picked and the day was just beautiful! We had some awesome inspirational speakers, women who have come from really hard backgrounds and have prospered. It makes you so proud to be a woman. I have a lot of pride in being a woman and what it means to be a woman.

I think it is easier to maintain my health in Canberra than the Gold Coast. We recently adopted a dog and it makes going for walks easier, even if it’s really hard with the weather—the weather sucks here! Really, I think people in Canberra want to be active. Every time I want to meet up with someone, they’re like: “Oh we’ll just go for a walk around the lake,” and I’m like: “You wanna do that? That’s weird.” I never asked a friend to go for a walk along the beach on the Gold Coast because that just wasn’t a thing. But people here are active; they want to do the markets, and they want to go out and about. I think because we don’t have access to festivals and things that other states do, we’re more involved in the community. I love that.

My perfect day would have weather like this and a good walk around the lake with the dog. We’re foodies, so also some good food and company.

I’m busy, but really happy—really content with life at the moment.

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Image created by Liz Thompson