Brisbane Pride returns this September with a month-long celebration of the LGBTQI community.
The launch of J M Tolcher’s debut bestselling memoir, Poof kicked off Brisbane Pride festivities on Friday, September 1, 2023.
Queensland’s Labor Minister for Education, Grace Grace, Out gay federal Greens member for Brisbane, Stephen Bates, and local LNP Councillor for Central Ward, Vicki Howard came together for the launch that was hosted by the charismatic Miss First Nation Chocolate Boxx.
Writing As Therapy
Tolcher revealed writing the memoir was therapeutic. “Poof was my outlet for the trauma I suffered at school, at my work, in my relationships, and unfortunately also in my gay community. Transferring the demons in my head into words on a page and then seeing those pages in a bookstore has been the best therapy I could have hoped for.”
“Poof was a word that was so derogatory and abusive whilst I was growing up. But I feel I have come of age, and now I celebrate being a Poof in every sense of the word. My book Poof is a call to arms, in that if I can stand up for myself and insist that my voice is valid and heard, then any gay child can shout from the rooftops as loud as they can,” said Tolcher.
Minister Grace said that Tolcher’s experiences as a student who faced bullying and harassment were among many experiences that have helped the state enact policies to make schools safe for LGBTQI students.
“Every student should be made to feel welcome in our state schools,” Minister Grace said in a statement. “That’s why as Education Minister, I am committed to providing a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all LGBTQI+ students. As the local member, I thanked James personally for writing such a beautiful and confronting autobiography. His experience is a part of a history that needs to be heard, and I wish him all the best.”
Greens MP Bates said that Poof was a difficult read but reflected the experiences of many LGBTQI kids.
I remember the first time I was called gay as an insult and how that impacted me. When people write books like this and put themselves out there, in a way that is extremely difficult to do, bearing your soul, you give permission to other people to be themselves. You never know who you’re going to help come to terms with themselves, to see it’s ok to be different. Everyone needs to buy a copy of this book, it’ll make you cry, it’ll make you feel so affirmed in yourself,” said Bates.
A Powerful Story
Cr Vicki Howard expressed her immense pride in Brisbane’s libraries and announced that “Poof” would soon be available at the New Farm Library.
President of Brisbane Pride, James McCarthy, praised Tolcher’s courage in sharing his past, highlighting the timely significance of launching the memoir during Brisbane’s Pride Festival. “James has shown he’s a writer with impact. His story is powerful and a reminder that for many in our community, every day is a matter of survival.”
Brisbane Pride runs until September 30, with Fair Day and the March and Rally to be held on September 23.