Starlady at TEDxSydney TRANSCRIPT
I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the country: the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and elders both past and present. All my life, I’ve been told to turn it down. That if I’d just tried to fit it in, everything would be OK. However, as a youth, I discovered in the face of overwhelming prejudice and persecution, an incredible strength through being fiercely fabulous.
I am Starlady Nungari, The Real Queen of the Desert. Aboriginal communities might be the last place where you would expect a radical queer super-heroine to find her place in the world. Today, I am truly honored to share with you my surprising story of finding acceptance, a place where I was given the space to thrive, where the power of friendships overcame cultural and social divides.
Like many young queer people, in my youth, I was forced to flee regional Australia to find a safe-haven in the inner city. I sought and found refuge in Melbourne where I immersed myself in a world of vibrant and diverse subcultures. Yet, the systematic discrimination and continuous harassment that I faced on a daily level outside of these spaces continued.
In 1996, I found myself before the Victorian Victims Compensation Tribunal, seeking justice, after being violently assaulted by homophobic bigots. The presiding magistrate looked me up and down and with his head held high, he proclaimed his judgment: if Joe Blow saw you walking down the street dressed like that, he’d say that you deserved it. He gave me a pittance of the compensation that I should have received, and I walked out of our justice system absolutely devastated. Something inside me snapped.