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Growing Up Queer in Australia

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  586 ratings  ·  85 reviews
No amount of YouTube videos and queer think pieces prepared me for this moment.
The mantle of “queer migrant” compelled me to keep going – to go further.
I never “came out” to my parents. I felt I owed them no explanation.
All I heard from the pulpit were grim hints.
I became acutely aware of the parts of myself that were unpalatable to queers who grew up in the city.
My queern
...more
Kindle Edition, 319 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Black Inc. (first published August 1st 2019)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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Shirley Bateman
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insightful collection of essays. I dipped in and out of the stories and was struck by how intricately complicated life is for Queer people. Benjamin Law’s foreword is so funny and touching, it’s almost worth reading the book for this alone.
Nick Martin
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some may be more literary than others, but it was truly wonderful reading all the stories in this collection.
Masyhur
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing read.

I didn't grow up in Australia, nor did I grow up queer, but the essays resonated with me. Especially this quote:

"I want to tell people all the time: there is no deadline for growing up, no submission date for your life’s narrative. You can work it out now or later. You can reveal yourself in parts, or as a whole, and make revisions. For better or worse, sooner or later, life conspires to reveal you to yourself, and this is growing up."

Other choice quotes:

"I resented the
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Sam King
3.5 stars. There's no trigger warnings in this book which I found odd, and the content very much warranted many of them. Also was shocked/disappointed by the lack of asexual and genderfluid rep. Some of these entries were lovely, original and uplifting and others felt like the repeats of others. I'd recommend reading the contributions you're most intrigued by and skip others that you feel just aren't your thing (as with many anthologies).

Not disappointed by it, but a little let down.
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joanne
oh benjamin law i love you truly
Courtney
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a spectacular read.

I've been looking forward to this since Benjamin Law posted on instagram looking for submissions and the Black Inc "Growing up in Australia" series is always quality and this edition didn't fail to deliver. I blubbered my way through half of the submissions, laughed in others, learned that somehow female teachers were not allowed to be married until the sixties (I mean, I shouldn't be surprised but like... wow) and was pleased with the diversity of this collection.

Some s
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Tayla
while some of the stories were like scratching at old scars, overall it’s just so nice to be seen. to feel like you belong. essentially that’s what every single one of these stories is about. it’s heartening to know we all go through the same rites of passage in our own ways.
Jas Shirrefs
Incredible. This book helped me grow up all over again.
James
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a wholesome read thank you Benjamin Law! Some stories were more articulate and compelling than others, but there was still something that made the heart swell in each story of development and self discovery. Highly recommend.

Too many favourite passages/quotes but one that sang to me in one of the earlier stories was: “I want to tell people all the time: there is no deadline for growing up, no submission date for your life’s narrative. You can work it out now or later. You can revea
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Hakki
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me feel a little less alone. So many heartbreaking and joyous stories. Cried and laughed. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Panic Prince
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8/10
This really hit home for me, and made quite a problem as i usually read on the train, i would find myself more often than not, tearing up due to the stories. Some mirrored my experiences too closely, others provided insight on the queer aussie scene that i don't think i would've otherwise.
I took time off reading recently to focus on school activities and homework, but these stories provided a breather in the moments i had alone to spare.
I read an earlier release copy that my school luckily
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Toni Meehan
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this over a number of months because it’s something that cannot be rushed or glossed over!
Carmel
I rarely read books twice and I can’t remember ever starting again straight away - that’s what I’m doing with this one. First time round I read it Audible/kindle. While listening, I really wanted to highlight key lines but that’s hard to do when you’re driving so this time will be a kindle and highlighting read.
Hermine
Contains all the good stuff like shame, guilt, isolation, family disownment, guilt, sex, toxic masculinity, repression, internalised homophobia, judgement and need for validation. A wide-ranging spectrum of the human experience.
Lydia
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! A fantastic book of experiences, emotions and one's journey to acceptance and identity. A powerful resource, and an honor to hear personal stories, a true humbling experience. ...more
Tess
A well-encompassed and deeply personal anthology that explores the Australian queer experience with such heart. 4.5 stars
Suzie
A great compilation, with some being incredibly emotionally raw. I like to think that I've learned something by reading this. Thank you all for sharing your stories ...more
Emma
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2020
Again essential reading
Claire Teale
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Im just sad I didn’t read this earlier! Amazing book
Molly
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent. Highly recommend for everyone to read.
Fernanda dahlstrom
This was, I think, the most nuanced collection of queer writing I have read. As well as presenting a variety of coming out stories it contains a lot of reflection on the way discourses around sexuality and gender identity operate on a person during the coming out process and importantly, it acknowledges the destructive power of homonormative expectations as well as heteronormative ones. Refreshing, validating and inclusive.
Gina
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-shelf, god-tier
I will never get sick of reading the stories of queer folk, a wonderful collection
Highlyeccentric
I really enjoyed and appreciated this book, and powered through it at a fair clip. There's a lot in here that's affirming (although personally, I would have appreciated a little more substantial engagement with non-monogamy alongside the predictable-given-the-context stress on marriage equality, impact of), and a lot that's warm, and humourous and very human. Ben Law describes this as the book he wished he had had available to read as a teen, a book for the in-community. I kind of wonder about i ...more
Natasha (jouljet)
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbti, memoir, poc
The anthology of queer voices, commenting or pouring their heart and soul onto the page, to tell of being young and working through the realisation of a queen identity in Australia through the past decades.

So many collective themes here - no role models, no positive examples, no sex education, the revelation of the arrival of the internet and the ability to find answers and people who have experienced something similar. It's really incredible how resilient queer and non-binary identifying Austra
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Malcolm McPherson
I didn't expect to like this book quite as much as I have. It wasn't that I had any expectations. Ben Law has assembled a magnificent and highly varied cast of contributors. Varieties of sexualities, gender identities, ages, ethnic backgrounds and abilities are all included in a diversity of storytelling. To select just a few, Stephanie Convery's account of bisexuality is intriguing. Mike Mullins' account, an older gay man from a small country town, is not so different my own story of growing up ...more
Laura
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me laugh out loud, cry, smile, and utterly broke my heart time and time again. Like any collection of essays there are some hits and some misses, and I think it potentially would have got a higher rating if I had physically read it rather than listening to it as an audiobook as I felt the narrators didn’t perhaps portray the story in quite as much emotion as I would have felt reading the words on paper. But I loved how utterly raw some stories were and found myself being struck by ...more
Jackie McMillan
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to like Growing Up Queer in Australia more than I did. I think my main gripe is how highbrow it is overall. It's not just high-end writers who grew up queer in Australia, but all sorts of people, and I think the collection would have benefited from greater balance in this respect. Interspersing working class queer stories might mean a bit less queer art-house cinema and literature, which got a bit dry and repetitive after the first story or two: "One benefit of being a repressed gay tee ...more
Alastair Lawrie
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved so many of the stories of Growing Up Queer in Australia.
This includes several from people who I know personally - as well as several more from people who I don't, but now feel I do (at least a little bit).
I would highlight my favourites here, but I literally tagged close to 20 out of the 50 or so stories for re-reading so it wouldn't make sense to do so.
As with Growing Up Aboriginal, the strength of Growing Up Queer is in the diversity of stories shared, including many bisexual and trans
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Kumar
Jan 07, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A disappointing offering of stories that often contain insufficient detail and/or are barely worth telling. Most of the contributors grew up in an age of increasing tolerance and so had a fairly easy time growing up queer other than the odd snicker. Lesbians and bi-women are greatly over represented in this volume. Hardly any of the contributors had any dramas coming out to their family or peers. Be warned that this is fairly dull stuff other than the odd story from an ethnic viewpoint or from a ...more
Vivienne
Read as part of 20/20 book challenge in the category LGBQT related.
This is an interesting and diverse collection of short stories which, like most short story/essay collections by different authors, vary between being beautifully written and engaging and not so much.
Sadly, there are a couple of common themes running through most of these stories: that of confusion (especially the confusion triggered by lack of role model in childhood and youth) and of a lack of acceptance often by parents "who
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Benjamin Law is a Brisbane-based freelance writer. He is a senior contributor to frankie magazine and has also written for The Monthly, The Courier Mail, Qweekend, Sunday Life, Cleo, Crikey, The Big Issue, New Matilda, Kill Your Darlings, ABC Unleashed and the Australian Associated Press.

His essays have been anthologised in Growing Up Asian in Australia, The Best Australian Essays 2008, The Best A
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