Matika Little: Blak, Queer, and Having A Voice

Matika Little: Blak, Queer, and Having A Voice
Image: Giancarlo de Vera

Matika Little is a Sydney-based Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi journalist and advocate. 

She is the creator and co-host of Coming Out, Blak, a podcast and online community whose mission is to celebrate and support First Nations people in the Queer community.

In a conversation with Star Observer, Little spoke about the podcast, the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and the important issues facing First Nations and Queer people. 

Wagga Wagga To Sydney

Little grew up in NSW in the regional town of Wagga Wagga, where she felt  “so isolated and alone” as a Queer First Nations person.

“I didn’t see anyone else like myself… It’s so scary for a young person, particularly those living outside of our metro areas,” she said. 

The fact that Little is both Queer and Indigenous surprises some people.

“I am a white-passing person. I have pale skin. I have blue eyes. I currently have bleached blonde hair, which probably doesn’t help. 

“On the flip side of that, people are sometimes surprised to know that I am a lesbian, and that I do identify as Queer. To some extent, I’m straight passing and don’t necessarily fit the stereotype that, unfortunately, a lot of people hold about what lesbians look like.” 

‘Coming Out, Blak’

In 2019, while doing a journalism degree, Little, along with Courtney Fewquandie, started the podcast Coming Out, Blak.

“I was really interested in sort of exploring stereotypes and telling First Nations queer stories.

“As part of one of my final subjects for my uni degree, I developed two test episodes for a podcast and I started an Instagram,” Little shared.

Originally called Pale, Deadly & Fabulous, the podcast was where Little would share her perspective as a Queer First Nations person. This is how she met future co-host Fewquandie. 

Little recalled, “I ended up getting a message from Courtney through there, saying, ‘I really resonate with what you’re sharing and as another pale Queer First Nations person, I feel a lot of the things that you’re feeling.’” 

Little eventually asked Fewquandie to co-host the podcast.

‘My Skin May Not Be Black, But I Am Blak’

According to Little, the term Blak, “encompasses the incredible diversity and expansiveness that being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person is. Our culture is more than just skin colour – and the events of our past – the attempted “Breeding out the Black” as it was put, is an oversimplification of who we are as a people, as a culture and as a community. My skin may not be black, but I am Blak.” 

On the podcast, Little and Fewquandie discuss their experiences and explore topics ranging from Queer sex to National Reconciliation Week, with invited guests. They also hope to provide a safe space for those struggling with their identities.

Asked about the biggest issue facing Queer communities, Little, said, “The way in which our trans and gender-diverse community is being threatened at the moment is disgusting, and it’s something that, if we are not careful about, hate groups will continue to try and rollback or prevent our rights, and our ability to live safe, joyful, celebrated lives. 

“Safe being the most important now. I think it’s a really scary time for people, anyone in the community, but particularly our trans and gender diverse community.” 

Indigenous Voice To Parliament

In late 2023, Australians will vote in a referendum about changing the Constitution to establish an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

The Voice to Parliament will be an advisory group, advising Members of Parliament to make decisions on what will positively impact the lives of First Nations people.

When it comes to the upcoming Voice referendum, Little is a firm ‘yes’. 

“Will The Voice be something that fixes all of Australia’s problems with its First Nations peoples? No. 

“Is it something that is a massive step forward? That creates a foundation that cannot be shifted, and that we, the Australian people, led by our First Nations peoples, continue to rally for it to be something that accurately represents our people? That appropriately protects us, and discusses us, when it comes to laws that impact our community? Yes.” 

She continued, “I think if this vote comes back with a ‘no’ result, we will have to wait, god knows how long again, for an opportunity like this to come up to formalise a voice that cannot be taken away by any government changing.” 

“It’s important to also recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in this country, already have a voice, and we have had a voice since the beginning of time. This opportunity to formalise that voice is a step forward. But it’s not the end goal. It’s just one of the steps where we need to be heading as a country.”

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