In Our Words: A book exploring the intersections of identity | HerCanberra

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In Our Words: A book exploring the intersections of identity

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In Our Words is a fabulous new book published by Lived Places Publishing and written by Wayne Herbert and Yenn Purkis.

In Our Words puts disability front and centre in its intersections with queer identity, something so important in a world that undervalues these stories and sees them as niche rather than universal.

Comprising of 11 heartfelt letters by 11 authors to their younger selves, In Our Words passes on the wisdom they wish they’d had at the time. In this way, they provide hope to readers old and young that things can and will get better. These stories have the potential to offer us all a different perspective – the voice of the adult that your child self-needed but wasn’t there at the time.

In this way, they can be a great tool in the healing process. Looking back at times in your life that have been difficult can help uncover different perspectives, and bring forward the strength, courage and resilience that drove you and can drive you once more.

Through the sharing of stories and experiences of those on the intersection of disability and queer, In Our Words provides a sense of community and hope. These messages can only have the power they do because they are written by and from the experience of peers.

Telling your own stories and learning from others who have fought hard to thrive and flourish, is the key to supporting and affirming peers. The advice and information provided by the writers will be invaluable to people who are developing their identity at any life stage, and to anyone who wants to support and understand them.

The book explores identities – specifically the intersections of queer and disability identities. Identities are personal, but they are also how we present ourselves, so they are often very circumstantial, too. For example, I’m a queer woman, a mother, a wife – just recently married to the love of my life!  This is how I present myself in my current role as the CEO of Canberra’s leading LGBTIQA+ peer-led organisation (Meridian), as a writer in my own right, and as a social entrepreneur and brand ambassador.

I am brave. The courage of bravery has led me on the journey of a lifetime where I have met so many people with disability on the intersection of queerness. Both the terms ‘disability’ and ‘queer’ mean different things to different people. Today, the word ‘queer’ is a way for us to create space for those who have been othered by the LGBTIQA+ rights movement, by social norms and customs, and by outdated notions of gender. It is hardly surprising that those who have had to look at the world, and navigate it from the unique perspectives which their disability gives, are also providing inspiring perspectives on gender and sexuality for us all to benefit from.

I like to dream big and surround myself with brilliant people – it’s a strategy I employ. Every day I see people doing great things in the world. What do they have in common? The courage to go after their dreams and make a positive impact.

In Our Words provides a message we all need to understand, and we should all support in moving through life. It’s a message of acceptance, courage, love and kindness – that is what we need to overcome discrimination, ableism, homophobia and transphobia.

Together with the 11 authors, Herbert and Purkis bring together a collection of stories which are all inspiring in their own right but, together, they make for an impressive, insightful and stimulating read.

I hope that through this book – and each time one of us shares our story – there’s another crack helping to break down discrimination, ableism, homophobia and transphobia. It’s time to be brave and bring this narrative into the spotlight.

Find more information and purchase your copy here.

 

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