On the 22nd of September the ANU Queer* Department hosted a talk at Gods Café given by Hannah Gadsby as part of ANU Pride Week. Gadsby is an Australian comedian and writer, who graduated from ANU with a degree in Art History and Curatorship in 2003.
Gadsby, perhaps most known for her role of ‘Hannah’ in Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me, spoke on a number of LGBTI+ issues, such as the process of coming out and homophobic attitudes in society. Gadsby, whilst keeping the event light-hearted, discussed serious issues, including being physically assaulted during a night out in Tasmania because of her sexuality.
On the issue of coming out to family, Gadsby spoke of a general fear of a lack of acceptance and her reluctance to tell her mother in particular. Her mother’s initial reaction was not positive, telling Gadsby “I don’t want to know… what if I told you I was a murderer?”.
Gadsby, however, emphasized the importance of allowing people time to process someone’s sexual orientation.
“Give people some time so they stop being a dickhead”. She has now reached resolution with her mother, the latter having said to her that “I am really sorry that I brought you up as straight”.
Speaking also on the issue of same-sex marriage, she voiced concerns that the opponents of same-sex marriage can seriously damage vulnerable teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality, who do not have the resources that adults do. She stated that it was time to “just change it.”
Kat Reed, the ANUSA Queer* Officer, said of the event: “[Gadsby’s] an ANU alumni so she was able to relate her coming to terms with her identity to being specifically at ANU”
“She spoke quite a bit about how coming to ANU she was able to discover herself and explore being a lesbian – which was quite a familiar story for many of the audience”.
Gadsby was accompanied by her dog, Doug.
Photography by Ana Stuart