LISTEN: Benjamin Law on Growing Up Queer in Australia

by |July 30, 2019
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What’s it like growing up queer in Australia?

For many people in the LGBTIQA+ community, there is no simple answer to that question – only a myriad of experiences that reflect the isolation and violence of a society that privileges heterosexuality, but also the joy of finding your community and discovering your true identity.

Growing Up Queer in Australia is an upcoming book that aims to better reflect those experiences. It’s the latest book in the Growing Up anthology series, in which writers across Australia have shared their experience of growing up as an Asian, Indigenous, Muslim, or African person in the 20th and 21st century. They ground stories about life as part of a distinct community with the voices of writers that we know and love (like Maxine Beneba Clarke!) and taking up the editor’s mantle this time around is the hilariously wonderful queer author and journalist Benjamin Law.

For Benjamin, Growing Up Queer in Australia is a book that’s he’s incredibly excited about, mostly because it feels long overdue.

“I don’t think there’s ever really been a time in Australia where queer kids and teenagers haven’t had a fraught experience with their sexuality and gender identity and haven’t been targeted for that,” says Benjamin. “We thought it would be a really affirming, celebratory thing to showcase those experiences in a book.”

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Growing Up Queer in Australia is a mix of personal essays and Q&A-style interviews, featuring contributions from people like David Marr, Fiona Wright, Nayuka Gorrie, Holly Throsby, Sally Rugg, Kerryn Phelps, and many more. Australia’s LGBTIQA+ community spans generations, genders, and cultural divides, and each person belonging to the community has their own unique and compelling story to tell. There is no one definitive queer experience, and the beauty of this book is that it celebrates so many individual ones.

“It can be a struggle to see yourself represented in stories, and the fact that these are all real stories, personal essays, I think drives home that you’re not alone,” says Benjamin.

Growing Up Queer in Australia comes out next week and we have a humongous stack of copies that have been signed by Benjamin himself. We also have a wonderful podcast with Benjamin, featuring our non-fiction specialist Joel Naoum and myself, so order your signed copy before they sell out and listen to our chat below!


Growing Up Queer in Australiaby Benjamin Law (editor)

Growing Up Queer in Australia

by Benjamin Law (editor)

Compiled by celebrated author and journalist Benjamin Law, Growing Up Queer in Australia assembles voices from across the spectrum of LGBTIQA+ identity. Spanning diverse places, eras, genders, ethnicities and experiences, these are the stories of growing up queer in Australia.

For better or worse, sooner or later, life conspires to reveal you to yourself, and this is growing up.

With contributions from David Marr, Fiona Wright, Nayuka Gorrie, Steve Dow, Holly Throsby, Sally Rugg, Tony Ayres, Nic Holas, Rebecca Shaw, Kerryn Phelps and many more.

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About the Contributor

Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.

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