Diverse Speakers, Inclusive Language & Wear it Purple Day - FEM Presents
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Diverse Speakers, Inclusive Language & Wear it Purple Day


Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to think about the change you want to see in the world!

At FEM, we produce diverse productions + events, manage powerful speakers and deliver speaking + storytelling workshops for an inclusive society or as we like to call it, a post #metoo world.

This week we’re shining the spot light on #femspeaker Peta Friend, plus we have the (actual) link to our our Non-Binary Inclusive Language Guide – apologies to those who attempted to download using the wrong link last week! And some inspiration for Wear it Purple Day coming up this Friday 30 August.

We’re also working on the Lunchtime Speaker Series for corporate, government and NFP orgs. to develop YOUR people’s speaking and storytelling skills; whether they be from a diverse employee network or emerging leaders or somewhere else you see the need. So standby for more info on this in the coming weeks or send me an e-mail for further info – hello@fem.net.au.


OK, here it is again!

As we discussed last we encourage you to use non-binary language in your work such as scripts, meetings, marketing and more. Binary language not only marginalises people who don’t identify as a binary woman or man, it often places women in an inferior position. Using non-binary language in the arts and entertainment industry and beyond creates an inclusive space where eveyone can thrive.

You can download your Non-Binary Inclusive Language Guide here


FEM speaker Peta Friend spoke at Generation Women Sydney last week to an incredibly receptive audience who were really moved by her personal story about family, loss and finding herself. This is a great monthly storytelling event at Giant Dwarf that offers a platform for women from 20-70+ to tell their story and be visible. I absolutely recommend it!

Speaking has become part of Peta’s life over the last five years, since she founded Trans Pride Australia and represented the trans and gender community at the Marriage Equality Rally at Town Hall in 2017 (speaking to an audience of 30 thousand!) and many other corporate and community events. She’s pretty relaxed and confident when speaking in front of any crowd now. What she’s not relaxed and confident about is going to a 40 year high school reunion. Let’s face it this is pretty daunting for most people but when you haven’t seen your class mates for many years and you’re a woman who went to an all male school it raises the stakes. But I’ll let Peta tell you about it – and read through to the end to see the fantastic photo of Peta and her lovely class of 79 mates!


I stared dumbfounded at the email, here were two words I never wanted to see… old and boy.

The email read

Dear Waverley College Class of ’79 Old Boy,

You are invited to celebrate our 40 Year reunion!

The details are as follows:

Date: Saturday 27 July 2019

Location: Tattersalls Club

Time: 5pm

Format: finger food provided and cash bar

Dress: neat casual – no t-shirts, ripped jeans, running shoes.

I read and then reread it…

I remember my last day of school like it was yesterday, I literally walked out of the gates of the school and I did not have one single person to say goodbye to.

I felt like my years at school were spent dodging a bullet. I felt fundamentally different to the boys at Waverley College but at that time I didn’t have the words to articulate what I was feeling, I just knew that the differences between us were so far apart that in order to survive I had to be as inconspicuous as possible, I retreated into myself and never let anybody see me. This worked very well for me.

My time at school passed without any real lows and unfortunately no highs.

I always felt that the majority of the boys in my year at Waverley Collage were good boys but the differences between me and them was so evident to me. I never wanted to play sport and when I was forced to play football I avoided touching the ball…the other boys would throw the ball over my head anyway.

My interest lay elsewhere; movies, girly music and afternoons spent in front of the television watching Tina Louise (who played Ginger on Gillian’s Island). I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

The years have passed, 40 to be exact. I have affirmed my gender and while I may not look in the mirror and see Ginger I believe I have become the best and happiest version of myself.

As I read the invitation to the school reunion I thought that maybe I don’t need to hide from my school mates anymore.

But first I needed to be assured that I would be entering a safe space at the reunion so I sent an email off to the organisers John and Warwick explaining my gender identity and seeking assurance that if I attended, I would be respected.

Their swift replies and positive responses put any apprehension to rest.

I arrived at The Tattersalls Club on Elizabeth St wearing my favourite black leather pants, black heels and a pink blazer.

I took the lift to the first floor and entered the room.

There were about 50 men in groups throughout the room, one broke away from the first group and extended his hand to me.

“You must be Peta Friend” he said, then introduced me to the nearest group.

I was warmly welcomed by everyone, the night was incredible, I was really overwhelmed by their kindness and respect towards me. I was so pleased to see that the lovely boys I went to school with back in the 1970’s had grown into good men.

There was the group photo and then a short speech by John welcoming everyone, at the end of his speech he singled me out and made mention of the fact that while I may have been initially hesitant to attend he was very glad that I was here and how brave it was.

The group applauded and then someone shouted out,

“And she looks 20 years younger than all of us”

The tears welled in my eyes, I was finally visible to my schoolmates and it felt bloody fantastic.


For more information and to book Peta to speak at your event contact us here


And finally this week we want to encourage you to dig into your wardrobe and find something purple to wear on Friday 30 August. Why? It’s Wear it Purple Day. Wear it Purple was founded in 2010 and strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people. By wearing something purple on Friday you draw focus and attention to the challenges many young LGBTQI+ young people still experience. Find our more here or contact us today to book a speaker for your event.

Here’s a little inspiration from some people who’ve worn it best!


Have a fabulous week!

Lisa x

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