Q – Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Hi! Thank you for having me. Hmm,
I would describe myself as a tough and tender queer, Jack-of-all-trades, with overarching interests in humans and creativity.
These big loves spill out in many directions! I do a lot of work with the wonderful Melbourne Bisexual Network, where I am acting Vice President. We focus on education, community building and therapeutic services, as well as advocacy, for the bi community (all multi- gender attracted folk, including bi, pan, polysexual etc). Alongside this work, I am studying to be a counsellor, because I’m passionate about LGBTIQA+ humans having access to thoughtful, nuanced care, tailored for their experiences in the world. I am also an artist, with a focus on photography, both film and digital, and I love to paint and write and draw and allsorts! I am bisexual, after all ☺.
Q – How important do you feel queerness and representation in arts & culture is?
Hugely! I think we have so much to offer the world and we bring so much, when we get to come to the table, invited or otherwise. Unearthing my own queerness and finding LGBTIQA+ community, has been life changing in so many ways.
Seeing visibly queer humans in media has been crucial for me
in learning to further accept and celebrate myself, and the rest of our beautifully diverse community. Creatively, I believe those living outside the pre-defined ‘norm’ have so many viewpoints and ideas and are often at the forefront of creativity and change – not fitting in encourages us to question everything and redefine the world, and I see this as a hugely positive thing, which can be harnessed for social change.
Q. Word on the street is that you’re Vice President of a bi network in Aus?
Yes! MBN has been a massive force for positive change in my life. Finding bi community has been so affirming and comforting, after a long period spent struggling to navigate this part of my identity. Some of the best people in my life I’ve met through MBN and I think a part of this is that each bi human knows what it can feel like to be excluded, whether from heterosexual, or gay community, and therefore we tend to be conscious of being inclusive. Living outside of the binary (with regards to sexuality, gender, culture etc), tends to encourage an openness, if we let it, and
I love the way we get to move through the world, once we start to accept and love our differences.
There is also so much crossover between the bi and trans and gender diverse communities, which is wonderful – we are an amazing, resilient, complex bunch of human beings and I feel blessed to be a part of these communities!
Q – What do you want people to take away from your work?
I hope that people feel the honesty in my work. I want to create dreamlike, vulnerable, raw, beautiful images and I am lucky to work with so many gorgeous humans, who share parts of themselves with me, and the viewer. I hope people feel able to see bits of themselves in my work, the softness, the fear, the loneliness of being alive, and also the joy, the beauty in the bruises, the fat, the pimples, the hair, the reality.
I love celebrating queerness, bodies, beauty, identity and self-expression, in all of their forms,
and I hope that comes across. I also love to be playful and express different parts of myself through self-portraiture – I hope the viewer sees the fun, the discomfort and a few of the many weird and wonderful facets that make up a human being.
Q. The theme of our second issue is ‘Dream’. Can you tell us how your work fits with that theme?
I love to play with my images and create pastel dreamscapes and worlds where our strangeness can be celebrated as our beauty.
I love to capture people in vulnerable dreamlike states, quiet moments, where they feel love and gentleness for themselves and see their own magic. I am also in love with nature and this fucking glorious planet we live on – I feel a dreamlike joy when I’m out in nature, whether naked on a mountain- top, bundled up out in the rain, or swimming in the ocean.
Q. If you had one piece of advice for your younger self (looking back now) what would it be and why?
Just one? Impossible ☺ Find the humans you get to be your whole self with – these are your people. Seek out the warm people, not the cool people!
Being vulnerable is the only route to real closeness and love
and you deserve love and connection and community and more love, in all of its forms.
Your queerness is so beautiful and magical, and over time, you will realise that it makes you so much more, and never any less.
Oh, and never stop playing, or being curious – your life keeps expanding as long as you stay open! xx
Megan van de
She / Her They/ Them (Genderqueer) | Naarm/Melbourne, Australia | Artist, Educator, Counselling student and Bi Advocate
Megan was interviewed by Lucy Everett