“No one will touch your body unless you say so”

Normativity and Bodily Autonomy in Australian Aboriginal Writing

  • Madeleine Clark University of Melbourne


This piece will use literary accounts of Australian Indigenous trans experience to problematise the epistemological centrality of normativity in white and settler understandings of queer and trans identity. It will look at the poetic work of the writer Ellen van Neerven (Yugambeh Mununjali), who identifies as trans and non-binary, alongside the oral history text of sistergirl Brie Ngala Curtis (Arrente, Luritja, and Warlpiri) from Alice Springs. These authors provide representations of Indigenous trans and non-binary experience in which bodily autonomy is respected and normalised within the Indigenous community. In these recently published stories, gender is marked onto Indigenous bodies with intention, collaboration, and mutual agreement, demonstrating a nuanced and communal relationship with gendered embodiment in which everyone participates.



How to Cite
ClarkM. (2021). “No one will touch your body unless you say so” . Transmotion, 7(1), 132-157. https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/03/tm.954