“Why are we still scared to come out?”

This panel will discuss the challenges people face when coming out. It will explore all the questions people are forced to ask themselves when coming out. Will my life be easier in or out of the closet? Am I going to have to come out once, twice, more? Am I going to be out in all spaces, or only one? How is my identity going to intersect with other aspects of my life? Coming out is a complex and difficult experience, and this panel aims to explore the reasons why.

Participants:

Jax Jacki Brown is, in her own words, a disability activist, free-lance writer, spoken-word performer and trouble-maker. She is an activist for queer and disability rights.

Zoe Birkinshaw is a trans masculine identified member of the queer and gender diverse communities. They are a part of the Zoe Belle Gender Centre, and also sit on the committee for YGender.

Barry Taylor is the Senior Project Officer at MindOUT, a national LGBTI health alliance. His focus is mental health and suicide prevention, which he has been working in for 25 years.

Jacob Thomas is the Manager of Business Development and East-Coast Regional Manager at It Gets Better Australia. They have worked in South Africa with Oxfam International, Oaktree on the 2013 Roadtrip to End Poverty, and more recently with Access Monash, It Gets Better Australia, and UN Youth Australia.

Freddie Wright is one of the queer officers at Monash Student Association. They are queer and gender diverse and have had to come out many times and will probably have to come out a bunch more times.