I think being a woman is a sort of a responsibility to other women and to the structures that make me a woman, the way I experience it, and to other people who are marginalised through similar kinds of structures. I think it connects me to other women. And to a sense of fairness in the world.
First and foremost I’m a student of Gender and Sociology at the ANU and that’s a big part of my experience of the world as a young person. I’m learning, continuing to engage with the community and the world in different ways. I’m an active queer community member, so that’s a really big part of my identity. Engaging with other queer people in Canberra is also a big part of my life. I’m also an athlete, I’m a footballer, and that’s another part of my experience of being a woman.
My three favourite things: running with the university theme—thinking, being in my mind, learning new things. And being in my body. Both of these things moving towards creating or sharing with others, engaging with communities and building new opportunities.
I came to Canberra when I was fourteen, from a rural town in NSW/Victoria. So for me, Canberra does feel like a big city. For a lot of people I know coming from Melbourne or Sydney, Canberra has some kind of hybrid feel. And I love the natural environment of Canberra—but I really see it as a place of opportunity for me in comparison to a rural area. There’s just so much more going on, in terms of the universities and the communities that build around that, in terms of political engagement.
The best things about being a woman in Canberra are the kind of people that are here. Often politically engaged people. Often people who are coming from university. Canberra’s such a young city and that’s one of the things I love about it: that everything does feel new and there’s a real energy to that. There’s so much happening in feminist groups, queer groups, social justice kind of stuff, it’s a really great place to be in terms of things growing. And I also think there’s a great sense of commitment to that local culture because it is in growth, local people are really willing to give to that and to enjoy that, and work with each other for it.
I think that because there is that sense of growth and energy, it can be hard when you are taking that sense for granted a little bit when communicating with people outside of that environment. So there’s obviously a lot of really educated people and a lot of people on high incomes here, but there is disparity and that difference is really confronting I think, in a small space. In a bigger city there’s that constant contrast, but in Canberra it’s quite stark when you do see it.
One of the other great things about the local energy of Canberra for me is in local radio with 2XX, and the opportunity to create and relate to the community I run a queer women’s radio show and [it’s] a great way to work through the things that as a woman and as a queer person really resonate with me, and call me to do something.
I’m a bit of an extrovert—being surrounded by people who are energised really makes a lot of difference for me in maintaining my sense of health and wellbeing in Canberra. And the infrastructure that’s here, the institutions, like ANU, are wonderful things. And the built environment here is beautiful. It’s difficult because I didn’t quite grow up in a rural town, it’s difficult to imagine, but even from hearing about the different kind of lifestyles from friends of mine that have stayed in very different areas, I think I would have found it a lot more difficult somewhere else where I wasn’t with like-minded people.
hitting on all my favourite parts of living in Canberra as a woman, my perfect day would be a day where I had university, maybe one of the reading groups I do with some of the post-grads—that is an environment that really pushes me. I’d go up Mount Majura for a run, maybe with our friend’s dog. Also something local and live, I think in the evening I’d go to a gig or performance with my partner, hear some Canberra bands, Canberra music.
Image created by Liz Thompson