Neurodiversity Pride Day

Neurodiversity Pride Day

Rachel, 29, first thought she might be autistic and have ADHD when she was studying teaching. She's now seeking to be officially diagnosed. She spoke to us about being neurodivergent and queer.

Neurodiversity: Commonly refers to variations in the human brain and cognition, for instance in sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions. SOURCE

Neurodiversity Pride Day featuring Rachel

Can you please tell us about why you’re are seeking to be officially diagnosed as Autistic and potentially ADHD?

I’ve known I was different since I was young. I used to always say that it’s like I wasn’t designed for this planet because everything was really hard.

I first started making connections to autism and ADHD when I was studying to be a teacher. Even my lecturer made points about some of the similarities. I put it off for a long time because whenever I mentioned it to people, they’d say things like “oh you’re fine, everyone’s a little bit autistic”.

My partner has been one of the biggest supporters of me seeking a diagnosis. She has helped me see that this could be beneficial for me and help me to seek out supports that I couldn’t or would struggle to access without a diagnosis.

There’s also the aspect that people still have judgemental views of autism and any difference in society. It wasn’t without constant reminders from my parter that a potential diagnosis of autism does not make me less loveable, or less than anyone else.

Do you think a diagnosis is important?

Whether a diagnosis is important or not in general depends on the person. Some people are more than happy living their life with an imputed diagnosis and some like the diagnosis. Personally, I think I want a diagnosis to access the additional support and as a means of validation.

Can you please tell me when you first heard the term ‘Neurodivergent’ and how you felt it related to your own feelings and experience?

I don’t remember precisely, but it was probably whilst I was studying. After my teaching degree I completed some post graduate studies in teaching children with ASD.

I like the term. There’s nothing wrong with the brain of someone with ASD or ADHD, they’re just different, and different is not synonymous with bad or less than. We live in a world that is designed around a neurotypical brain and that has had a negative impact on how people view neurodiverse people.

I think the world is changing though, we are seeing more sensory sessions at shops and movies and it makes me hopeful that the future generations won’t struggle quite so much.

How do you connect with other Neurodivergent people in the Queer community? Is it important to connect with them? Is it easy to connect with them in Perth?

Honestly, I struggle to connect with anyone because I struggle to initiate and sustain social communication with people. Having said that, I find the queer community is pretty accepting and open to neurodiverse people.

So many people in the queer community have had their own struggles with family, friends and being accepted by society that they come from a place of empathy and understanding.

There are a few different pages and groups of people who are neurodiverse and identify as LGBTQAI+. I haven’t been to any of their events, but I know that there is an organisation called SAGE who run events for individuals diagnosed with Autism.

Neurodiversity Pride Day featuring Rachel
Rachel and her partner, Elisabet

Here are the standard questions we ask all of our guests:

What LGBTQIA+ Events in Perth should we look out for?

I love Pride Fair Day and the Parade (of course)! But I also love Barn Dance in August. I went for the first time last year and as someone who usually hides in the corner of social events, I can confirm that it was incredible!

Are you involved in any LGBTQIA+ organisations or events in Perth? Tell us about them…

I am a part of Perth Pride Choir. We sing at community events both within, and outside the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s been a great way for me to get out and meet people, all whilst having a great time!

What do you think is great about the LGBTQIA+ Community in Perth?

It’s just a really friendly and accepting bunch of people who all want to live their true lives. You can’t really go wring with that!

And what improvements would you like to see for the community here?

In general I would like to see more LGBTQIA+ awareness training for organisations and businesses. For people to feel comfortable asking peoples pronouns for example. People are becoming more aware of these things, but I think they’re scared or worried they will offend or upset someone.

What would you recommend for anyone new to Perth that they must see or do here?

Lucky Chans is great feed! I also love getting out of the city though and enjoy some of the beautiful places in and around the hills.

Lesbian Visibility Week: Kedy

Lesbian Visibility Week: Kedy

Executive Officer for GLBTI Rights in Ageing (GRAI), Kedy Kristal, 67, passionate advocate, long-time volunteer, and supporter of our community and the wider society across many important initiatives.

Meet Kedy:

Hi, I’m Kedy (she/her)

I’ve had the privilege of living and working on Noongar boodjar for over 45 years. I was born and spent my childhood in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I have been working at GRAI since April 2021, first as the training coordinator and now as EO.

GRAI delivers training to the community services sector on LGBTI inclusivity, organises social events for older LGBTI community members and has established the Befriender program as part of the GRAI Village Hub.

Kedy holding a mic giving a presentation

I’ve always identified as a dyke – to me it says, strong political activist.

Can you please tell us how you identify?

I identify as a Dyke, a label not often used in the spectrum. My name is an anagram of dyke.

Are labels helpful and important to you?

Labels can be both useful and pigeonholing. They can signal quickly to others via badges, T- shirt slogans etc a connection, a safe person, they can be inclusive but they can also be used to force conformity and squash individuality.

Do you think disclosing your identity is easier now than when you first came out?

Yes it is since I started delivering LGBTI training sessions in 2020, I’ve had lots of practice.
Outside of work I still have moments of not disclosing, sometimes I just can’t be bothered using the energy required to educate some people.

This week is Lesbian Visibility Week. Do you think visibility is important? Whether in our community and or wider society?

Lesbian visibility is very important, we are everywhere and often heterosexual /cisgendered people just don’t see us. I would love to have more recognition for all those school teacher/principals and hospital matrons, all those women who never married and had careers so many were lesbians as up to the early 70’s all the married heterosexual women had to leave the workforce.. Also recognising that many married women were actually lesbians and it wasn’t until feminism of the 70’s made it possible for them to leave their marriages.

Can you tell us a bit about the things you do that bring that visibility to our community and or to the wider society?
  • 1991-93 – I was the co-editor and producer of The Laughing Medusa a bi monthly lesbian magazine in Perth. We fundraised to produce the magazine as subscriptions weren’t enough.. by running lesbian events/ dances in nightclubs across Perth including Connections and the lesbian Olympics one weekend at Perry Lakes stadium.
  • 1996-97 – Started the Outing Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in the GLBTIQ community committee
  • 2005 – Chair of Same Sex Domestic Abuse group. Government funded organisation
  • 2017-ongoing – Chair of Standing Shoulder to Shoulder Inc. (Supports women and LGBTI people who have experienced Intimate partner violence)
  • 2019-ongoing – Member of the SHQ (Sexual Health Quarters) GLBTIQ advisory group
  • 2021-ongoing – Member of City of Perth LGBTQIA+ Advisory group

Voluntary positions

  • 1999-ongoing – Justice of the Peace
  • 2008-ongoing – Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services Independent. Prison visitor
  • 2017-ongoing – Court Welfare worker. Perth Magistrates Court

Thinking about our elders and through your work at GRAI, how important is this aspect of their identity?

Many older LGBTI people have been out for most of their life, they may not have been an activist in the public domain but have been part of a LGBTI community and have established a LGBTI family/friends network, as they grow older this network can be reduced and many older LGBTI people become socially isolated and fearful of being forced back into the closet if they require age care in their home or accommodation in a nursing home.

Being visible as a LGBTI person in an environment that is heteronormative and not welcoming to LGBTI people is a traumatic experience for anyone, but is particularly stressful for an older LGBTI person in need of care.

In GRAI's April Newsletter there are a few initiatives to connect our elders with the community. Can you tell us more about those and your newly launched Befriender Program?

GRAI’s Village Hub is led by and for older LGBTI people, offering multidimensional peer support and service development for the community. An LGBTI Elders’ Advisory Group has been established to advise on the Hub activities, and LGBTI Elders will help provide a one-on-one befriending service for vulnerable and isolated individuals.

Befriending is a structured relationship between a befriender and a befriendee that
is initiated and supported by the GRAI Befriender program, as part of the GLBTI Village Hub project.

Befriending relationships aim to be non-judgemental, supportive of the befriendee and confidential. The befriender supports the befriendee to choose how they share their experiences, views, and interests with the befriendee.

Having fun is an important part of the relationship.

Befrienders are carefully matched with a befriendee and visits are usually 1-2 hours, once a week. Visits can be at the befriendee’s home, or at community venues.

For more info about the Befriender Program, how to become a Befriendee or a Befriender read GRAI Matters - April Newsletter.

participants of GRAI's Befriender program posing for a photo
Participants of GRAI's Befriender program posing for a photo

Lastly, what LGBTQIA+ Events in Perth should we look out for?

GRAI & Living Proud WA logos

GRAI and Living Proud will be hosting Better Together: LGBTQIA+ Volunteering

What: An intergenerational event for National Volunteer Week 16-22 May 2022 – Join in some easy volunteering activities and meet like-minded others.

When & Where: Saturday 21 May 10am-12.30pm, at Southcare Hall, 19 Pether Rd, Manning

Guest speakers:

    • Minister Hon Stephen Dawson MLC – Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and ICT; Medical Research; Volunteering
    • Sarah Collins from Living Proud who will present on a range of great online volunteering options.Morning tea provided

Register your attendance here

Find out more about GRAI:
  • GRAI website - Creating a responsive and inclusive mature age environment that promotes and supports a quality life for older people of diverse sexualities and gender identities.
  • Facebook -
  • Instagram - @graiorg
  • Twitter - @graiorg
Lesbian Visibility Week: Lexie

Lesbian Visibility Week: Lexie

Lexie, 34, is a sexuality educator, counsellor, LGBTQIA+ and sexuality/disability training facilitator, “professional shit talker” (Emcee), musician, and pro-Domme.
Queer Perth spoke to Lexie about performing at Fringe World, being out and proud, lesbian visibility and much more.

Are you open about your sexuality to the world?

I can’t not be! I literally have to come out to people for work every day and train them on LGBTIQA+ inclusivity. I’m very lucky to have a very supportive family and very queer workplaces. When I was teaching it was a little bit of a different story, but I knew I wouldn’t last in a career where I couldn’t be 100% myself.

Do you think telling people you're gay is easier now than when you first came out?

There is so much more language around sexuality now, and I think younger people are becoming a lot more comfortable with fluidity in their identities. Maybe I’m just lucky to be surrounded with woke folk, but I’ve found there’s a bit less fetishism towards lesbians than there was when I first came out.

Lesbian Visibility Day is coming up. Do you think Visibility is important?

Visibility is so important! Visibility builds community, fosters solidarity, allows for conversations, validates identity, and provides role models for those who need them. There’s a lot of diversity within the label of “lesbian” and there’s no “one way” to be a lesbian.

Smash those stereotypes and be whatever type of lesbian you want to be!

We were lucky enough to see you perform in BurLEZque at Perth Fringe World – you’re part was so fun and informative! Please tell us about that, also, what's next?

Yes! All of the writing in BurLEZque is my own, and I’m super proud to be able to perform it in front of our wonderful Fringe crowds. As a troupe we want to entertain and educate; I come from a sexuality and diversity education background so it’s fun to weave it into my love for performing. People learn better when they are laughing and engaged.

We haven’t planned any tours for obvious reasons and we are all pretty busy in our individual lives and careers. We always get so inspired and energised by our shows at Fringe, so we always keep plans in the pipelines! There are a few ideas floating around for next year, you’ll just have to wait and see.

We’ve taken a little break after our fringe season, but we’ll be doing a couple of regional shows this year - for those down south, catch us at Busselton Fringe in May!

Ginger LaMinge wearing a red velvet jacket and performing on stage with red lighting and an outrageous expression.

Here are the standard questions we ask all of our guests:

What LGBTQIA+ Events in Perth should we look out for?

I’m a big fan of Cleo’s Big Gay Cabaret, and I love getting out to see independent queer theatre/film/music/cabaret. Go and see any show by Justin Sider, you’ll be tickled in all the right places. And maybe our beloved Anna Piper Scott will come back from Melbourne and treat us to another show sometime - if that happens, don’t miss it! Drag Queen Story time at Rabble Books in Maylands (Gaylands) is also a very wholesome time.

Are you involved in any other LGBTQIA+ organisations or events in Perth?

Apart from galavanting around spreading the Gay Agenda in BurLEZque, I’ve done a lot of work with Living Proud, and some volunteering at the Freedom Centre and Qlife - amazing organisations! I’ve been an active part of Bunbury Pride for the last couple of years too, it’s great to see more events happening regionally!

What do you think is great about the LGBTQIA+ Community in Perth?

I love that the queers are infiltrating a lot of other spaces now, not just ‘da clubz’. It’s nice to see some more community/social events and LGBTIQA+ awareness in the mainstream.

And what improvements would you like to see for the community here?

I would like there to be a queer French bulldog owners meetup that I can crash, and just lie on the grass doing snow angels (grass angels!?) while a bunch of happy fluff nuggets put their snoots on me. Can we make that happen? I’ll also accept small kittens.

What would you recommend for anyone new to Perth to see or do here?

Sunset fish n chips at South Beach in Freo, boozy bubble tea at Lucky Chans, Riverside Gardens dog park in Bayswater on the weekends, rooftop cinema, the jazz cellar… Perth has some cool little nooks!

Alissia, honestly!

Alissia, honestly!

Alissia Marsh, 23, has always loved comedy. When she was in high school, it's all she watched. After doing Raw Comedy when she was 18, she's never looked back!
We asked Alissia about some funny moments while performing and her brand new comedy night dedicated to queer comedians.

Read More