If we thought the topic of wellbeing was huge this is topic is GIGANTIC! We also know based on past submissions – this is what matters the most to our contributors.
Young people around the world are standing up “for the Greta Good” amid droughts, bushfires and once-in-a-lifetime environmental disasters that are happening every other week. We’re advocating for change within the political space, standing with and for female rights and providing a different lens on what it means to be a migrant in this country.
WhyNot has published thoughts on Roe vs. Wade, our political system and what voting really means to you. We got angry together and we educated each other when publishing unique points of view. But it doesn’t stop there, and there are many new ideas, or causes, thoughts and events that are creating new conversations in this space.
Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see,” so we’re inviting you to share your story or opinion and advocate for that change!
e.g LGBTIQA+ / Social Justice / Change / Sustainability / Current Affairs / Youth Empowerment
This following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.
On Transitioning – Room for Nuance
When you’re trans, you are never allowed to express any doubt or negative emotion in regards to transitioning.
To do so politically would be seen as against the narrative that gender affirming care saves lives and unfortunately this could play into the hands of those who would seek to ban or limit it. There can be no nuance when the sides of the “debate” are so polarised.
On a personal level, to express that transition, be it medical or social, is anything other than completely euphoric is to open yourself up to the questioning of family or friends. For it to be hard is to confirm that you are making a mistake.
Therefore you are not allowed to acknowledge how messy it is. How there are days you wish you could go back because that would feel easier, how sometimes people referring to you, even the way you asked them to, makes you want to stop existing.
But it is messy. Life is full of doubt and no one is every one hundred percent sure about anything. That doesn’t make it wrong. Just because people *might* regret something doesn’t mean it should be limited, banned or even gate kept. Part of personal freedom is surely the freedom to take risks or make decisions you hope will positively impact your life, knowing you cannot be one hundred percent sure of the outcome. You can only do the best with the information you have.
Having to pretend like it’s always amazing and there’s nothing you would change is ignoring reality. It is a good thing, but it also sucks and pretending like that isn’t the case is exhausting.
Anonymous, 19 ACT
A tale of a black woman
I am woman in a world that is against me, I struggle to figure myself and I feel stuck in a loophole of being a woman and being black.
I face gender discrimination and I smell the cruel fate of racism. I am caged, having nowhere to run.
Sometimes I imagine myself as a white man. Oh, how jolly I would be. I imagine life differently.
I have been bullied for my hair texture as a child I cried a lot.
All because of a fate I cannot control.
Always putting my hair in braids as if it were a shield but is that a hope of defence or has my self-esteem been crushed? Running and running. What if the caught up to me what would I do. How long do I have to run? I have been told to behave more feminine like my life depended on procreation. Like a marriage could save my soul yet I am drained even at work I am facing a harsh depth of inferiority, and I am forced to keep myself together.
How long will this continue.
I cry but will that help me.
I want to take a stand but who will join me? I hope that one day our voices will be heard so that when I cry, I will not have to hug and pacify myself.
I can only dream.
Anonymous, 21, VIC
Police & Illegal Drugs
One very interesting and unsettling thing I found out was that the illegal drugs brought into Australia and passed through by official police are also caught by police to show the government they are essential for this reason and continue keep having government funding. I understand the cost of living is tough, but this system is completely unnecessary and total waste of resources.
Anonymous, 29 NSW
On being an Ally
I’ve always prided myself on being an ally. A true supporter of all my queer friends, a caring comrade for my colleagues, and a thoughtful relative to my extended family members. However, when I stepped into a new role last year, that’s when I realized how I need to do more.
Late last year, I stepped into a new contract role wherein I had to facilitate and co-create a health literacy workshop aimed at educating queer youth. I had the incredible privilege of working alongside some talented queer folk and progressive organizations that enabled me to do this work seamlessly. However, organizing this event against the backdrop of the Anti-Trans and Nazi rally that happened in Victoria proved to be extremely challenging. Up until this, due to my own wishful thinking and negligence, I never reflected upon some of the other structural barriers that still exist today for LGBTIQA+ youth in our country. Barriers that might not enable them to even attend a workshop for their own empowerment due to a fear of their lives being at risk. Barriers that continue to grow and worsen by the day.
Ultimately, we made the painful decision to pause the workshop due to a myriad of reasons but that event serves as a reminder to me even today to work harder as an ally. To not only show up but to create safe spaces every day so that queer people have a place to empower themselves.
Hashwina (she/her), 26 VIC
Queer people can be proud without being loud
I “came out” as queer about two years ago, but except for my close friends and family, a lot of people still don’t know I’m gay. This is because I’m introverted by nature and tend to keep a lot of things private. Over the past two years I have learnt to embrace my queer identity, but as an introvert, this hasn’t involved being loud about my sexuality. I see a lot of stereotypical gay people, especially in movies and TV, who are very loud and proud about being gay. They wear rainbow merch everyday, overshare about their relationships at parties, and everyone knows them as “that gay friend”. That’s totally cool, but it’ll never be me. I’d much prefer to wear clothes in darker colour palettes, keep my relationship between me and my partner, and stick to a small circle of good friends. I am proud of my identity as a young queer person, but I’ll never be a person who is loud.
Stephanie (she/her), 21 TAS
Gender is dumb, like I just really hate it. People try to gender me all the time and it’s weird because like I don’t view myself like that?
Like I identified as a trans man for a while, and then trans masc but I don’t even know any more. It all just doesn’t really fit with me. People have these expectations around gender and it’s so awkward when people try to put me in those boxes. I’m not a guy and I’m not a girl – I’m just like some cool person with my own unique identity and experience, you know?
It’s just so hard with how gendered the world is to try and break that or like know how to go about doing that because everyone has their groups and treat each other based on genders and it’s just UGHH I don’t know what I’m doing or where I stand! shits so weird and I just wish people understood each other’s uniqueness!
Sol (he/him), 16 NSW
Being old must be really strange. I don’t mean getting older, I mean being really, really old. Like, 85. At one point you’re a younger person and the progression of the world hangs on your every decision, then, in the blink of an eye, you’re in everyone’s way on the bus. You’re slow, you’re tired. You don’t know how things work. There aren’t targeted ads for you. There’s only the inevitability that you’re getting slower, and tired-er. Maybe your mind starts to go. And between the brief glimpses of nostalgia and the realisation of your mortality, is that feeling that your choices created the world that would eventually forget you. You spend so long not worrying about time, you forget time doesn’t give a damn about you.
Nik (he/him), 25 Vic
Growing up being a child with ADHD, your world is seen through neurodivergent glasses, while everyone else has their ‘normal’ ones.
It’s weird, whacky and wonderful when you understand how your mind works but in primary school everyone views it differently because you’re not seen as ‘normal’, but you don’t know what their version of ‘normal’ is.
Many years trying to discover what makes you special.
Many years comparing yourself to others and their abilities vs yours.
Many years seeing the world differently with glimpses of hope thinking you’ll become like them –
but many years later you realise that you were made to be different, you’re made to be you.
Penny (she/they), 18 Victoria
I was thinking about pros and cons lists, and the way they’re kind of pointless.
I think we’ve all turned to them at some point, anyone who hasn’t been plagued by indecision at some point in their life is lying, or at the very least, they certainly aren’t a libra.
But now that I reflect, we often think whichever decision has the most pros is the correct one. Yet, aren’t some pros worth more than some cons. Or vice versa.
You see, my parents told me that relationships are like a petrol gauge. Sometimes you might upset your partner and the gauge goes down a little bit, but then you might buy them flowers and the gauge goes back up. I always thought of the gauge as a measure of pros and cons.
Pro: They’re funny. Gauge goes up. Con: They forget your birthday. Gauge goes down.
On a pro con list these two would equal out, but I don’t think the gauge would balance out. I always thought a good relationship means there’s more pros than cons, but I think I’ve finally realised it’s more nuanced then that. Even if there’s 10 times more pros, the gauge might be a little empty. Don’t settle for an empty tank.
Luna (she/her), 18 NSW
Time stops and yet the world proceeds
Encased in four plaster walls
Suffocated by the sweet aroma of berry-scented disinfectant and the lingering taste of a black current soother
Shakily inhaling recycled air into lungs that already feel as though they’ve been filled
Wanting nothing more than to feel the golden warmth of the sun,
Desperately hoping that a 7 day absence isn’t long enough for someone to be forgotten.
With no one but myself for company, one might assume that isolation feels lonely
Which at some moments, it can be
But there is also something renewing about spending 7 days with no one but yourself,
You learn to know yourself intimately,
Which I suppose is why people drive themselves mad in solitary confinement.
The inner workings of your own mind can induce a catatonic state,
But it can also make you love yourself a little more.
Luna (she/her), 18 NSW
For me, school is tough for many reasons. The main one is homophobia.
I am a trans male. I’d never felt the need to hide it.
When I moved to my new school, I thought others in my grade would be supportive. However, that wasn’t the case. I could no longer walk down a corridor in peace, instead, I resorted to putting on my hoodie and taking the slurs that were thrown at me. This happened for a long time.
Recently, a new boy joined my class. Everyone liked him straight away. He sat next to me in class and eventually he told me he was trans. I was horrified because at the time I had internalized homophobia.
He assured me that being trans was normal and that there were other people who are trans in the world. It took a long time, but that friend helped me realise that yes, it is okay to be trans and that it wasn’t normal to feel the way I felt at the time. That friend saved me from my internalized homophobia.
Atlas (he/him), 16 NSW
Free period products in educational facilities
We need free period products in all schools and universities.
The amount of time my friends have spent off school and uni because they have not had the products on them or have been in pain is way more than it should be. If there were free products including hot water bottle libraries and pain relief medication we wouldn’t need to take as much time off. This could not only work on those with female reproductive systems feeling more comfortable in educational facilities but could also increase the quality of education being given to women. The side effect of this initiative would be the destigmatisation of period-related issues.
Ayva (she/her), 19 ACT
Sexism in regional private schools
At my regional high school, the only teachers to get sexist boys in trouble for misogyny or harassment, are the women. So many of the male teachers just stand there and let it happen, inadvertently encouraging it. The constant objectification of girls at my school, concerning uniforms, drives me up the wall too. At our swimming carnivals, so many girls got in trouble for wearing two pieces (even if they were appropriate) but all the shirtless boys or boys in speedos are completely fine. Not only that, my desire to be a politician is often mocked and or met with a snicker from certain students around me. Some teachers have even questioned my abilities, despite my significant interest in politics, and reputation for engaging in political discussions. The ignorance of teachers when they say no, when students ask to go to the bathroom, is unfair too, especially for female students. My school used to lock the bathrooms during classes because of people vaping and vandalising and didn’t stop until some of us female students protested. They are so ignorant of the risks of TSS, heavy periods, endometriosis and other menstrual issues that female students face daily. I’m done with the sexism permeating through high schools.
Madeline (she/her), 17 NSW
We know that women face challenges. We know that the female existence is complex, a struggle, multifaceted, and difficult to understand. When we focus on the struggles and barriers that exist for women, however, we must also consider the experiences that women of colour face.
Have you heard of intersectionality?
It is an analytical framework used to describe how different aspects of an individual’s identity (race, gender, sexuality, etc.) can overlap to accentuate the experiences of discrimination. I am a second-generation immigrant. I am a woman of colour. English is my second language. And my experiences are specific to my race, and not just my gender only.
Women support women
“Women Support Women,” I say to myself as I pack my schoolbag full of pads and tampons, even though I’m not on my period, just in case someone needs them.
“Women Support Women,” I think to myself as I try not to call that girl a bitch, just because I don’t like her. Because just because of all the things she’s done to me, just because I think she deserves it, doesn’t mean I should call her a bitch. Someone needs to set the standard.
“Women Support Women,” I whisper to myself as I drive a girl that I just met to the hospital from a party.
Despite these factors, I know that I have to support as many women as I can because if I don’t, who will?
Elise (she/her), 16 NSW
A holistic and collaborative approach to tackle gender inequality
Here are a few ideas I think will help create a holistic and collaborative approach to tackle gender inequality, from various angles, involving multiple stakeholders and addressing systemic barriers.
Education: Integrate comprehensive gender education into curricula from an early age. Encourage critical thinking and debunk gender stereotypes in educational materials.
Economic Opportunities: Implement affirmative action policies and equal pay initiatives to ensure equal access to job opportunities and equal pay for equal work.
Legal Measures: Strengthen legal frameworks against discrimination, harassment, and gender-based violence. Ensure proper enforcement and encourage the reporting of such incidents.
Media Representation: Advocate for fair and diverse representation of all genders in media, advertising, and entertainment to counteract harmful stereotypes.
Engaging Men and Boys: Actively involve men and boys in gender equality conversations and initiatives, promoting the idea that gender equality benefits everyone.
Support Systems: Develop accessible resources and support networks for individuals facing gender-based discrimination or violence, including helplines, shelters, and counseling services.
Intersectionality: Acknowledge and address the intersection of gender inequality with other forms of discrimination, such as race, socioeconomic status, and disability.
Corporate Responsibility: Encourage companies to adopt internal policies promoting gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, and hold them accountable for their progress.
Grassroots Mobilization: Support local, community-driven initiatives that empower individuals to actively participate in promoting gender equality and challenging discrimination.
Rodney (he/him), 27 NSW
The Radical Nature of Disability Pride
When July arrives, my heart swells with a unique type of pride – Disability Pride. You might raise a brow, and this same reaction underscores how radical this concept is. Disability and pride aren’t traditionally linked in the public mindset.
As a young person with a disability, I’ve grown up absorbing narratives that frame disability as a deficit. But as I’ve navigated this life of mine, I’ve recognized that my disability is not a subtractive element of my identity but an additive one. It shapes my perspective, adds to my strength (no, thanks, but no inspiration porn, please), and makes me proud.
Disability Pride Month aims to dismantle narratives that portray disability as less. We are not ‘broken’ or ‘incomplete’, but rather wholly capable of thriving in our unique ways. We yearn for understanding and equality, not pity or charity.
Pride in disability is radical because it defies societal norms. We are not objects of sympathy but authors of our stories. Our pride rejects the view of disability as a tragedy and celebrates our resilience, innovation, and spirit. In the spirit of advocating for change and empowering ourselves, it’s time for us to redefine the narrative.
Puneet (he/him), 26 India
Drag Queen Storytime doesn’t make your kids queer
If you were one of the few old bigots, pathetic proud boys, or four cardboard cut-outs of Pauline Hanson failing to protest a Drag Queen Storytime today shouting ‘pedophile’ at a bunch of teenage counter-protestors holding pride flags, I hope you know you’re not ‘protecting the children,’ – you’re just repeating hateful viewpoints you saw in a minion meme on Facebook instead of giving it a single fucking moment of critical thought.
Drag Queens aren’t ‘grooming’ kids, they’re reading books and telling them it’s ok to be themselves. If your kid is gay, your kid is gay – whether they’ve seen a Drag Queen or not isn’t going to change that, they’ll maybe just feel a little less alone. Just like any other artist, drag queens perform according to the context of the performance. They’re not going to wear the same outfits to read to kids in the library that they wear at nightclubs, as much as the flyers with the salacious pictures someone dug out from the depths of a Drag Queens Instagram try to make you believe it. You’re angry for no reason, you’ve fallen for the manufactured outrage of the far-right.
If you don’t want your kids to learn about drag queens, don’t go to Drag Queen Storytime, that’s your choice. But let the parents who know better make their own choices.
But how is a parent supposed to explain a drag queen to their kids? Personally, I think it’s much harder to answer your kids’ questions about Nazis yelling ‘groomer’ outside public libraries than their questions about the drag queen reading ‘Love Makes a Family.’
Maeson (they/them), 23 WA
When you are young, they assume you know nothing
In my last three jobs, I have been the youngest employee. I often have to wonder: am I there to make the workplaces look younger, feel more innovative, or tick diversity boxes? I would like to think that it was my resume or interview charisma that secured me these jobs, not my chronologically defining number. Yet, on my first day, I was told that “I really do look 20 – it’s the hair out and cute earrings”. As someone trying to pave my professional path, this comment hurt. Because I don’t want to look ‘young’ – I want to not only look but be, an intelligent, sophisticated, creative young woman. Perhaps it was a reaction to showing her up in my first meeting…
Tara (she/her), 20 QLD
School, let alone all-girls schools, is a tightrope we must walk, a trapeze we must swing. As if the changes of puberty, the competition of grades, and the talk of boys are already not enough to handle, there’s then the social hierarchy to climb and social media to prime. Consciously or not, I found myself changing everything about me to fit in. The TV shows I watched, the food I ate, the way I wore my hair, and how my jeans had that tear. I was showing them every version of themselves, spinning in my highest heels, just so that they could shine. But now they tread over my shattered edges drunk, my pride never again to be sunk.
Tara (she/her), 20 QLD