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Space Of Queer Tomorrow: “I Needed People To Know This Shit Existed”

Written By Rei Barker on 03/10/2016
Image: Facebook

Image: Facebook

Space from Melbourne is a part of another important section of queer media – radio. They (singular) ran Queer Tomorrow, a summer broadcasting show for 7 weeks that highlighted queer and trans artists on Melbourne’s 3RRR FM. They, too, noticed the lack of queer media and after completing the RRR training course and some graveyard shifts, was offered the opportunity to do a summer show.

All I know is I wasn’t the only one noticing the complete lack of genuine queer representation in such a heavily queer-populated city full of musicians always booking gigs,” Space told me.

“I know I wasn’t the only one who felt when there was the rarity of queer representation it was pink washed, predominantly white, predominantly cis and nobody seemed to be allowed to say “Hey I’m queer and also I’m a musician.”

“I knew I needed to put marginalized and underrepresented queer artists on the airwaves, which is pretty full on considering retrospectively I know I didn’t represent everyone, e.g queer people with disabilities. It’s to do with ignorance from not being disabled and access. Access to a diversity of queer/trans artists is almost non existent unless you really dig deep. Which for people in small towns or people without the technology, that’s fucking hard.”

It almost goes without saying that at the moment the drive to make queer media has to be driven by ideology or personal experience because nobody else seems to give a shit. I know a large part of my motivation for this column has been a lack of Australian Queer Music Editorial. I certainly can’t speak for everybody and wouldn’t try to, but it seems to me that Space had a similar inclination.

“From when I was about 18-19 I came out as pansexual and knew I wasn’t straight for quite some time, but in the last few years I’ve said I’m queer (sooo fucking queer like wow so homo ya know?),” they said.

“Since becoming proud as fuck to say that and then realising I’m trans/agender/trans masc etc I started to find myself going to fundraising gigs ran by Melbourne queers at places like H.O.P Community Centre (RIP) where I saw Simona Castricum play for the very first time along with artists I still love today.”

“The show came about because I was somehow so fortunate to be witnessing fucking queer magic all around me and I needed people to know this shit existed. For the baby queer in me from a devo town in the south east of Melbourne, it just needed to be done.”

“More than ever people needed accessible queer content. Trans people are spoken for in the media more than ever now, almost always as victims, as another statistic of murder, as inconveniences, as inhuman. So when I found myself staring into Jacinta Parson’s big encouraging eyes during the first radio training session asking “What is important to you? What would you want to bring to listeners?” My body, mind and soul were screaming ‘QUEEEEERRRRRRSSSSSSS.”

Of course this comes with its share of feedback, both good and bad. I’ve been lucky to have only received good feedback on this column thus far, but the bigoted and hateful are certainly out there and I’ve experienced them on other projects.

“When I started the show people would say “So it’s only queer and trans artists? ‘Bout fucking time!”  So I knew from the start I was doing something important and needed. This is the first as far as I know for queer content on Triple R so the feedback has been really positive in all honesty. I mean, after my first shows intro I did get a call starting with “Look yeah um, are you that woman on the mic right now?” which I replied “Well no I’m not a woman but I am on the radio right now, yes.” Followed by “Yeah well I don’t know who you think you are but…” which I so very happily stopped with “I’m sorry you feel that way, I must get going though, lots of radio to be done. You take care now,” and hung up.”

“I think when Mo and Matt from HABITS came in to have a chat with me they said something like “I never knew I could be both queer and a musician and like successful at that” so I wanted to ‘showcase’ badassery from trans, queer and gender nonconforming people to prove that we can do it and we can all do it really fucking well.”

“Every show I would chuckle to myself, rub my hands together and take a nice sip of coffee thinking of the bigots and unsupportive parents I would make mad with what I was doing. Suck it.

Somewhat ironically, getting to work on such an amazing show exposes many listeners to amazing music and artists, but it also exposed Space to many as well. I’ve definitely found this to be true for me. Actually finding queer artists can be difficult which in my opinion is part of the problem. The visibility just isn’t there.

Space has a number of people that they think should have a bigger spotlight castle on them:

SPIKE FUCK. She’s on her own on stage, intimate, simple, but will somehow go ‘oh hey I know you didn’t want to cry again today but here are some perfectly beautiful lyrics about tragedy and addiction and love so you should just start crying now and let it out the whole set’ I haven’t felt such a strong, minimalistic (no drums, etc ya know) solo presence in so long.”

Divide and Dissolve. They’re an all queer experimental, drone and noise outfit. Captivating soundscapes that you can get super lost in. They’re over in the U.S now touring and just won the ‘transform a performer pack’ with PBS radio. So that’s epic and exciting for them! They’re badass.

Okay so Beloved Elk! Yes! Simona Castricum! Yes! Theesatisfaction. Yes! Two Steps on The Water! Yes! HABITS! Yes!  Coco Solid! Yes! Should I should stop? No! Mykki Blanco! Yes! Okay… there.”

Space had plans to be quite active this year but is prioritising (for now) societal change in a different area, education.

“..I had big, huge dreams and goals of truly queering the airwaves and proposing a permanent show slot for 2016. But because of how beautiful 2015 was in regards to becoming more mentally stable and knowing I could achieve things in my life, I got inspired and wanted to focus on Early Years Education so that in a few years time I could be somebody who created massive change in the education system in regards to binary, straight, cis ways of going about things and support trans kids and families and work on getting important information out there about being trans. So I’ve begun the first year of my bachelor making it almost impossible for me to manage putting together the show I truly wanted to give people, along with the studying schedule for something I’m deeply passionate for. So I’ve put things on hold for now.”

“BUT! Rumour has it; Space is massively keen to do Tabula Rasa for a month mid year when I’m on holidays. So that will be through Triple R. Hopefully then I can speak to people about the things I can apologize for and mend in my language (i.e I would say I’m white and also able bodied in my intros to show privilege but since then have figured out ways of saying that better and more appropriately) That being said, I know studying will be a thing for my next 4 years of life, but if I work on things now, and shape it bit by bit, perhaps 2017 could be the year of queer Triple R radio.

But, chuck a peek at Queer Tomorrow’s facebook page run by myself and if you click the about section you’ll find all of the previous shows there from radio on demand links.”