Here's how this Wiradjuri woman is challenging people's perceptions
Matika Little, a Wiradjuri woman and lesbian originally from Wagga Wagga in NSW, has created Pale, Deadly & Fabulous with the aim of pushing content that represents, explores and creates community for LGBT+ Indigenous people.
Growing up is hard, we’ve all been there. It’s a cherished time of first crushes and zit-popping that is almost always looked back on with a weird mix of cringe and fondness - fondness, because all the cringe-worthy, hormone-fuelled blunders have contributed to who you are today. Matika Little, a proud Wiradjuri woman who also identifies as a lesbian, is familiar with the perils and pleasantry in coming of age - but her journey was made a bit more complicated by the fact that she doesn’t fit the stereotypes of all the boxes her identity ticks. Queer, check. Female, check. Aboriginal, check. Was there room for someone like Matika in Wagga Wagga, let alone in this Tony Abbot special envoy for indigenous affairs-Australia?
We catch up with Matika in the lead up to the launch of Pale, Deadly & Fabulous - a platform that this LGBT+ Wiradjuri warrior is using to make room for triple threats like herself: Pale, check. Deadly, check. Fabulous, check.
What is Pale, Deadly & Fabulous?
Pale, Deadly & Fabulous is a blog and podcast. The idea was born out of a desire to create content that represents, explores and creates community for LGBT+ Indigenous people. I strive to highlight the beautiful diversity that is Queer Indigenous Australia and to share that with the world through sharing my own and others’ stories and experiences.
I plan to write blog posts about my experiences going to the doctors as a pale Aboriginal woman and the many ridiculous questions I get asked when I tell a medical professional I'm Indigenous. Other blog posts will be about family, dating, living off country and so much more. I hope to have the podcast focused around talking with other queer Indigenous people about their experiences, but it’s proving hard to do given I live in Sydney with minimal equipment and we are all over Australia. We’ll see how it goes.
When is the launch?
Blog posts can be expected before the end of the year, and the podcast is launching around February 2019.
What is the aim of Pale, Deadly & Fabulous, and why did you create it?
The name Pale, Deadly & Fabulous came from writing down words I felt described me. What was it about me that made my life and experiences unique or worth being interested in? I had a page full of words and in the end chose Pale, because my experience as a pale Aboriginal woman has shaped the way others have viewed and interacted with me. Without a doubt, my experience of Aboriginality was unique because of my skin colour. I have white-passing privilege, yet I am also constantly questioned about my identity by both non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities.
Many things about being a pale Indigenous person can create complexities when it comes to identity. You know, the whole 'too white to be black but too black to be white' struggle. I chose Deadly to represent my culture and being strong, proud Wiradjuri woman, and the word Fabulous to represent my queer community given I'm also a lesbian. All these things I felt represented part of what I wanted my message to be. I wanted to talk about and raise awareness of the fact Aboriginal Australians have a variety of skin tones and that doesn’t mean we are less cultured or proud. And I wanted to talk about being a queer female and a queer Aboriginal woman.
I’m so excited to create more discussion and hopefully make some people feel less alone in their experiences while also educating others.
If you could sum up your experience living in Australia as a Wiradjuri woman who is also queer in one word, what would it be and why?
My life and life experiences are, to me, incredible. I'm incredibly lucky to be a part of the oldest surviving culture on Earth. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the queer community, and being a multiple minority Australian can be incredibly complex at times.
What do you think is the most challenging part about advocating for accepting "all colours of the rainbow", including red, black and yellow?
I wouldn’t call myself an advocate, but I do acknowledge the importance of people like me speaking out, even if it is just to friends, about struggles our people have. Breaking down stereotypes is a powerful thing to do, and it can create a ripple effect by creating allies who can then go on and educate more people around them. It's wonderful to see. The most challenging part about it is that at times, our own communities can attempt to segregate ourselves from others. Be it queer people not wanting to engage with straight people, or Indigenous people not wanting to engage with non-Indigenous people, I don't believe we can create a better, more understanding and just society if we refuse to work together. But that is a topic for another time, and I know both communities have valid reasons at times for having those opinions.
What is the most beautiful part?
For me, educating others about my community is wonderful, it is fantastic when I have someone say to me ‘You know, because of you I was able to talk about the importance of not stereotyping *whatever commmunity* at work today', or something like that. Even better is finding others who can relate to my experiences of being queer and Indigenous, because lord knows when I was younger, at times it felt like I was the only one. Actually one of the podcast episodes is me talking with the first female Aboriginal lesbian I had ever met.
Bronte Gossling is a third-year (oh my god, already?!) Journalism/International Studies (Spain) student, who has a penchant for being super organised but is also perpetually late to any and all engagements. Nice.