Growing up Rainbow in the Wimmera | Podcast episode four

ACROSS this week, the Mail-Times released a four-episode podcast telling the story of three people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community showcasing three very different experiences of the Wimmera. 

Tom, Lily and Wanda have shared their experiences of living in the Wimmera, transphobia, homophobia and their reasons for staying or leaving. 

For their candour and willingness to share their, sometimes painful, stories, we thank them.

In this episode they discuss the learning process we are all on and the people who stepped up and supported them.

DIVERSE: Horsham's Lily Dalton, 19, who identifies as non-binary and bisexual. Tom Dryburgh, 22, who grew up gay in Rainbow, Vic. Wanda Jackson, a transgender woman, moved from Sydney's Kings Cross to Goroke. Picture: MAIL-TIMES and CONTRIBUTED

DIVERSE: Horsham's Lily Dalton, 19, who identifies as non-binary and bisexual. Tom Dryburgh, 22, who grew up gay in Rainbow, Vic. Wanda Jackson, a transgender woman, moved from Sydney's Kings Cross to Goroke. Picture: MAIL-TIMES and CONTRIBUTED

Episode four: The learning process

Tom Dryburgh, 22, said coming out as gay and others coming to terms with one’s sexuality was a learning process. 

As an adult, he knows casual homophobia often had no intent behind it – but he said it was important to remember words and actions could have serious consequences on young people who were struggling. 

Lily Dalton said while feeling little acceptance in the broader region after coming out as non-binary, they had formed very close friendships. 

They said some people “really stepped up” and made the effort gain a better understanding. 

Goroke’s Wanda Jackson transitioned 45 years ago. She said it was a tough time and moving to Goroke in the 90s came with it’s own challenges - but overwhelmingly people have accepted her.

Why the right words matter 

FOR many, terms used but LGBTIQ people can be foreign, we’ve put together an explainer of some common terms. 

Sex: The term refers to biology and sex assigned to someone at birth. It does not always match someone’s gender. 

Gender: One’s sense of self, what they identify as. 

Trans: The term trans is sometimes used as an umbrella term for anyone whose gender characteristics differ from societal expectations – meaning their gender doesn’t match their sex.

For example a person classed as male at birth, their sex, who’s gender is female might describe herself as a trans woman, or a woman. 

Gender diverse: Gender diverse people include people who identify as agender, having no gender; bigender, both a man and a woman; genderqueer or fluid, having shifting genders; or as non-binary, neither a man or a woman. 

Misgendering: Misgendering is the term used for describing someone with a pronoun or language that doesn’t match how they identify. 

Why does it matter?

Everyone one likes to be recognised for who they are, misgendering someone takes that away from them and can indicate they are not supported in their real identity. 

All this is new?

No, people have been undergoing sexual reassignment surgery since 1951. People living as genders other than their birth sex have been recorded back to ancient civilisations.

Help is available

Headspace Horsham have recently opened their doors as a safe space for all youth. 

They are working to create an LGBTIQ inclusive space where young people can be supported and find resources. 

If you’ve been affected by any of the podcasts content, wish to talk or find out more contact Headspace Horsham on 5362 4000 or eheadspace.

For immediate support call lifeline on 13 11 14 or Qlife from 3pm to midnight on 1800 184 527 or their online support chats.

Visit the Wimmera Pride Project, or Face the facts.