A national LGBTQI+ live story-telling project and correlating podcast, Queerstories  was a sell out event at Thirroul’s Community Library in June.

Queerstories featured six local queer speakers from the Wollongong community, joining over 250 LGBTQI+ speakers across Australia.

Director and host of Queerstories Maeve Marsden never anticipated the rate of success and national recognition she gained from her first event.

“I initially hosted the event thinking it would be a one off, a chance to celebrate and honour LGBTQI+ storytelling and oral histories,” Ms Marsden said.

“I always hope my creative projects will be a success, but I never could have imagined I’d be hosting events around the country five years on, or that so many people would come to share their story as part of Queerstories.

“It’s an honour the community trusts me to curate this project, and it still brings me immeasurable joy to host the events.”

Queer speakers of the night Ash Johnstone, Fox Shepherd, Lu Bradshaw, Paige Headington, Alex Groombridge and Adam Larkham (drag name Roxee Horror), shared stories that provided small windows into their world and life experiences, rather then stories just about being LGBTQI+.

Speaker Lu Bradshaw joined Thirroul Queerstories event through writing pieces about his journey as a transgender male, recently undergoing top surgery.

“I saw that Queerstories was looking for speakers and I’m a queer writer and performer, so I was really keen to be part of it and reached out to Maeve with some recent writing I’d done,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“I’ve never had the experience of sharing stories where you don’t have to explain yourself all the time, because everyone in the audience understands you and what you’re talking about. 

“Queerstories was incredibly special to be a part of. Something I’ll never forget.”

Queerstories remains one of the leading LGBTQI+ projects in Australia, with Ms Marsden planning to extend the project.

“I’ll keep hosting the events and producing the podcast as long as audiences love them,” she said.

“As an arts worker, 2020 threw a lot of my plans out the window, but I hope to revisit this once the dust has settled, so that Queerstories can be a platform that helps LGBTQI+ writers pursue bigger and better opportunities to showcase their work.”

Maeve hopes to publish a second book for Queerstories next year and explore opportunities for some of the best stories to be adapted to film and theatre.