Latest from my blog
I’m stepping back from Ballarat queer and trans community work
For many decades I’ve volunteered my time and skills working in the open source software, kink, fandom, tech feminist and sustainability communities. In all those endeavours, I have stood by the principles of openness, inclusivity, information sharing, and grassroots direct action (also known, at least in software development circles, as “Just F*cking Do It” or…
The story of Ah Chew, convicted and flogged for attempted sodomy
Ah Chew (alias Ah Munn) was tried and convicted for attempted sodomy in Ballarat in 1871. His judicial flogging was the first ever performed at Ballarat Gaol, and was closely reported in the Ballarat press.
New Resource: Diverse Stock Photography
Just a quick note that I’ve recently added a new page to the “resources” area on my site: Diverse and Inclusive Stock Photography – a categorised, sortable list of sources of images including people of colour, queer and trans, disability, and body diversity. I’ve also listed licensing terms and other handy information. (The Ballarat transgender…
Ballarat Queer Cooperative: What’s a Cooperative?
A week or so back, we started to put the word out about our plan to create a Ballarat Queer Cooperative (that’s the working name, for now). This is the event announcement: We are a group of queer/LGBT+/etc people from the Ballarat region who are coming together to build a stronger community. On Sunday 11th…
Beyond Buggery: Digging Up Stories of Sex Between Men on the Victorian Goldfields. An exploration of the language used for queer acts in colonial era newspapers, including many stories from the Victorian gold rush era.
How can we lower Ballarat’s suicide toll?
Content note: suicide. There’s a Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System going on at present. Yesterday, I spoke to the Ballarat Courier about statistics that show high rates of suicide in Ballarat, especially among men. Ballarat’s Alex Bayley, who identifies as non-binary, also believes that communication could be an issue, saying: “When I see…
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Hi, I'm Alex. I'm an independent researcher, writer, educator and activist based in Ballarat, Australia. This work is not funded by any institution, nor do I have access to the other resources – like academic journals – that would provide.
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I Told My Mentor I Was a Dominatrix, She Rescinded Her Letters of Recommendation
The academic sex worker illuminates the insidious class tension of academia. Look at me, whip in one hand, Foucault in the other.
Google, democracy and the truth about internet search
I’m pretty sure I read this article in 2016 when it first came out, but I’m reading it again now with the eyes of someone thinking hard about why and how progressives should extract themselves from social media. I’m realising that search engine optimisation – fighting back against the forces that seed Google with horrifying…
An Open Letter to the Person Who Gave Me HIV
If I didn’t get HIV, if I hadn’t taken the step to ask you to get tested, that this could have been a very different story. A story of hospitals and death. This is how the silence brings harm.
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language
I don’t know what I expected from “Because Internet,” but the thing that delighted and surprised me most was the language used in the book itself. It’s written in Internet language, in a way that feels comforting and familiar to me, like a knowledgeable Tumblr post that makes you mash the repost button two nanoseconds after reading it.
101 Notes on the LA Tenants' Union
1. First of all, there is no housing crisis. 2. Housing is not in crisis. 3. Housing needs no trauma counselors. 4. Housing needs no lawyers. Housing needs no comrades or friends. Housing needs no representatives. Housing needs no organizers. 5. When we call this crisis a housing crisis, it benefits the people who design…
A Highly Opinionated Taxonomy of Librarianship
To think radically is to get to the root (radix) of something. Six years ago Erin Jonaitis made a proposal on Twitter that I still think about regularly: “If knowledge is power, then a key part of professional ethics for info professionals should be: Who are you empowering?” In some ways, it’s the only question in librarianship…
Dystopia does not require much imagination; as I have said elsewhere, it already has a postcode. It is Nauru, Manus Island and Don Dale. It is deaths in custody. It is the NT Intervention. It is family violence, defunded shelters, no escape. It is punitive welfare systems and robo-debt (all debt). It is feudalism in…
Barbara Smith: Why I Left the Mainstream Queer Rights Movement
If June is Pride Month, July is Wrath Month. Here’s what I’ve been reading. Three decades later, despite some genuine efforts to increase diversity, especially in progressive movement circles, exclusivity and elitism still divide us. We have won rights and achieved recognition that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago, but many of us continue…
The Land Dykes of Southern Oregon Saved My Life
I was wrong about what it meant to build queer community when I was younger. I was so obsessed with the idea of unconditional love as a moral litmus test, I forgot about the practice of actually building community, of showing up every day even when it doesn’t come from the heart. It’s a less…
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