On the 8th of March 2018 the ANU School of Sociology hosted a provocative event at the Smith Bookshop Canberra featuring Bent Street 1 2017 authors Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen and Simon Copland. Hosted by Bent Street editor Dr Tiffany Jones – whom the ANU School of Sociology flew in from Macquarie University Sydney – this Canberra Bent Street Launch featured several talks inspired by the journal.
The event centred around a challenging extended Q&A session on the key themes of Rasmussen and Copland’s joint book chapter: “Safe Schools, Marriage Equality and LGBT Youth Suicide“. These academics did not shy away from the big questions; they readily deconstructed how both the media and activists portrayed LGBTIQA+ youth in the Safe Schools and marriage equality debates of 2017. They grappled with both the limited value and specific problems of a focus on issues of suicide; calling for more complex considerations of the way victim narratives are used in queer political campaigns and thinking.
Audience members from politics, academia, education, the arts and other fields offered insightful reflections on the complexity of youth and queer identities in 2018 and posed several curly questions on new directions moving forward in research, media, activism and other areas.
Bent Street would like to thank the ANU School of Sociology for a providing a safe space to explore dangerous ideas, queer representation, and contemporary political issues of social importance to diverse communities.