Everyone has a story…
For the Sex Edition of Verse, On the Record are diversifying their search for compelling human beings that fill our campuses. The student-run publication has allied with Verse for the year of 2021, bringing to print the voices of architecture to business students. In their third deep dive into the university’s cohort, OTR’s reporters have covered all topics regarding this edition’s theme from gender to sexuality to dating in the modern day. Join OTR as they investigate what inspires them in regards to the topical one word theme of sex.
Evan Johnson | @nuclear_droid
Bachelor of Public Health Sciences
Interviewer: Clem Stanley | @ClemStanley2
Which degree do you study?
I am currently in a Bachelor of Public Health Sciences, but I am planning to hopefully (fingers crossed) transfer into Occupational Therapy (OT).
I want to go into OT […] to go into the area of sexual health, and work with mainly disabled people and their relationships, as I understand the importance and difficulties with that as a disabled person myself.
What have the highlights of your study been so far?
It has been really interesting learning about [the medical system] from the other side. Because I have some chronic illness issues, I have been through the medical system a lot, so seeing it from the other side has been really good.
How do you like to express yourself?
I guess I would say I present masculine, but I do some more feminine things. I have been growing out my hair, I paint my nails, sometimes wear jewellery. The way I describe myself is “gender queer man”. I guess I am comfortable definitely being perceived as a man but feel my gender identity and expression is queer.
I guess I would say I present masculine, but I do some more feminine things.
Tell me about the UniSA Rainbow Club, what is your role within this?
We represent queer students at UniSA. We do a lot of advocacy for students, so, for example, if they are having issues with teachers. We also do social events both online and in-person. My role is as an Executive Assistant. I joined quite recently actually, and I have been helping out with the advocacy and the planning of things. So, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes that people haven’t seen yet.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing LGBTQIA+ communities today?
Ooft, yeah that is a big one. I guess it is just general social perceptions in a lot of ways. A lot of people still view being queer as a bad thing, but this is also shown in worse ways in society. There is still a lot of violence. I have personally experienced, when I have had male partners, people yelling at me in the streets and throwing plastic cups and stuff like that. So, there’s still violence… but I think overall, as a society, we are progressing past a lot of that if you compared it to like the 80’s when it was a lot more violent. But I think we still have a way to go.
What changes do you hope to see within the LGBTQIA+/ ally space in the next 20 years?
Having less toxic discourse. There seems to be a lot of internal fighting, I don’t really know how to explain it but there is just a lot of people disagreeing with each other. Whereas I feel like we should be focusing more so against the people who don’t like us, rather than within our own groups. Just overall more acceptance from wider society would be really great.
How are you currently working towards those changes?
Through the UniSA Rainbow Club we have been working on a lot of student advocacy, especially with the Ally Network as well as getting a queer space at Mawson Lakes set up.
Carolyn Booth | @carolynanne_b
Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
Interviewer: Chelsea Shepherd | @chelseashepherd_
What are you studying and are you enjoying it?
I am studying psychology. As someone who is queer and has chronic illnesses, I enjoy some content and theories more than others! I am drawn to constructionist research, especially work that is clearly aware of socio-political factors.
Do you have children and how has having children affected your studies?
I have two junior primary aged boys. Honestly, both parenting and studying with ADHD is a real struggle, both physically and mentally. I am doing my degree slowly, and I am lucky to have an amazing partner. I started studying in my thirties, so I see no need to rush at this point!
You identify as demisexual. In your own words, how would you describe being demisexual?
I love sensuality and sex, but I cannot enjoy it unless I have an emotional connection to the person. I have a somewhat open marriage, but it’s rare for everything to align nicely. Even if I find someone aesthetically pleasing, I could not just jump into bed with them.
Looking back to my teen and young adult years, so many things make sense now.
How did you come to realise that you were demisexual?
It’s a little complicated! My husband and I belonged to a fear-based religion from birth. Being queer or having sex before marriage was a big no-no. When I left around three years ago, I was finally free to explore my sexuality and my identity. As well as demi, I also identify as bisexual.
My husband and I then discussed opening our marriage a bit, including sex with other people. I am satisfied with my husband, but, as we married very young, I never got to experience being with anyone else. The idea of having new experiences and then coming home to my husband was intriguing, but the people offering it were not. I found them extremely aesthetically attractive and they seemed like nice people, but something was missing. Then I got to know this one cute guy a bit better and it hit me all at once – I really wanted to have sex with him. I still do. Unfortunately, I got emotionally and sexually invested in someone who isn’t available. Just my luck!
Looking back to my teen and young adult years, so many things make sense now. There were times I would be kissing guys and fooling around (as much as I could without fully breaking the rules) and I would feel no sexual desire at all. I thought it was because I was a sinner and God was punishing me. I realise now that it all depended on the person. Some experiences were genuinely pleasurable, and they were always with guys I had a connection with.
Do you believe more attention needs to be placed on gender, sexuality and representation in schools and universities?
I think it’s important to recognise that these educational systems are hierarchical and mostly patriarchal. Therefore, many decisions are being made through a narrow lens. Things could always be better and will change too slowly with so many power imbalances in play. That said, the people on the ground are doing fantastic work. There has been a lot of research done around sexuality, even specifically at UniSA, and many staff identify as queer. Likewise, I know so many students who are loudly and proudly advocating for education and inclusivity, whether queer or ally. That takes courage.
Do you believe society is becoming more open and accepting of different sexualities and gender identifications?
Yes and no. We have a long way to go in Australia, but it’s also important to recognise how things look different globally. There are still many places where it is incredibly dangerous to be openly queer or different in a variety of ways.
That said, being in my thirties, I have seen an encouraging shift toward that openness in the past ten years in our country. The generations under me are incredible and they do inspire us “older” people to examine the lies we were taught. I would like to see ableism get some more attention as there are still ridiculous stereotypes and lacking education when it comes to disability and sexuality.
Alycia Millar | @alyciaamillar
Bachelor of Law (Honours) & Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing
Interviewer: Simone Pickstock | @dimsim___
There’s a lot of chat suggesting modern dating is lazy and chivalry is dead. What’s your experience with it?
I mostly agree with that. Some people are definitely better than others. It really depends on your relationship with the person. I think how you meet someone plays a huge role, especially if the first time is through an app. People tend to be more direct online; they will just ask you to come over. If you organically bump into someone though, like at the shops or a café, they will likely display better manners and take it slower. There are things you would never say face-to-face that you wouldn’t even blink at on Tinder.
How do you meet single people nowadays? I have heard apps are dead and it’s all about “sliding into someone’s DM’s”.
There’s a lot of swiping up on Instagram Stories. It’s funny because the picture doesn’t even have to be of you, it can be totally random. You might upload a pic of a nice view, then someone who likes you can react to it and start a chat from there. Instagram is almost a dating app in itself.
I want men to know they cannot take us for granted. We are strong and we deserve respect.
Is there a formula to flirting on Instagram?
Yeah, for sure, but it does depend how keen you want to seem. I have friends who have liked an old picture of a guy rather than something recent to get noticed. That’s pretty rare though. If we are talking from a heterosexual perspective, I don’t think guys do it as much anymore because girls might find it odd. If a girl does it though, the guy knows he can start a DM and it’s less of a risk. Commenting straight up takes confidence. That’s risqué.
Oh dear, all my fears confirmed. There is a formula.
I don’t like that though. I wish it wasn’t some strategic thing where you are constantly playing games with someone. I would prefer to meet in-person, that way I can gage if they are genuine or not.
I agree. I think it’s become too contrived. It’s sad because so many of us are afraid to be ourselves and we end up putting on an act of who we think people want us to be. I also think it’s hard because of what happens after the cheeky likes and banter. It’s usually always “Netflix and chill”. Is “Netflix and chill” the new booty call?
Do you think that mentality makes it difficult to assert standards with someone you like and to ask for a “real” date?
I think the “old” Alycia found it very difficult because she didn’t want to risk losing someone. The “new” Alycia would be upfront and not waste her time.
I love that “new” Alycia is empowered. I am curious though… did the “old” Alycia ever agree to a date she was not entirely comfortable with because of her fears?
Absolutely. You can say you would never put yourself in that situation but until you are faced with that reality you just don’t know. For women especially, I think that’s why it’s important to be able to recognise red flags. If we can do that, we are more likely to attract people who will treat us with respect.
Why are girls willing to compromise their self-worth for people they barely know?
Oh, that’s tough. Maybe we feel like we have no options, or at least very few. Statistically, there are more women than men in Adelaide. There’s a man drought. I don’t know. Maybe we lower our standards too because we don’t want to be lonely. I don’t think it helps that as women we are taught to be accommodating to everyone, even if they behave badly. Hopefully that is becoming less of a thing now. It’s such a toxic mindset. I want men to know they cannot take us for granted. We are strong and we deserve respect.
More from Edition 40
30 years. 30 Degrees. 30 students. 30 accomplishments. It’s countdown time... We are hitting our midway point with our massive 30th Anniversary …