Episode two, Gender Identity AKA “This Time It’s Personal”, documents the ways that Queers have had their identities defined and shaped, at first by others, increasingly by themselves.
In the early 20th century, Australia creates its National Identity (Federation! The Digger! The Bushman!). At the same time, Queers are defining theirs. Who are we? How do we find each other? And how do we define ourselves – especially in this land of manly men?!
To put it simply, Australia has a complicated relationship with gender. On the one hand, the country is hyper masculine. We celebrate icons of manliness from the ANZACs to our sporting heroes to the sweaty, calloused, hard-working bloke in the VB ad. On the other hand, we’re obsessed with crossdressing and gender bending, from Edna Everage to Aunty Jack to Les Girls to Priscilla to, well, every episode of The Footy Show.
This episode examines the ways in which Queer people have challenged and shaped Australian notions of gender and identity. It looks at Queers in the defence forces (Gay Anzacs!) and Queers in Sport (Sshhhh!). It celebrates those who have challenged how we see ourselves, from Edward DeLacy Evans, Australia’s first documented trans person, to Tony Briffa, the world’s first out Intersex mayor. It examines the ways that Queer bodies have been defined by medicine, from aversion therapies to the never-ending search for the “gay gene”. It also discovers the origins of Queer language.
If you’re looking for the episode that tells you how to spot a Queer at 100 paces (and how to do the secret handshake), this is the one for you.
Queerstralia – Tuesday 7 March, 2023 at 9pm on ABC and ABC ivew (episode 2 of 3)