Both of my mothers are packed with feminist inspiration and I could happily write thousands of words on how ace they are. This week, though, I got to read some wonderful words someone else wrote about Teresa when she was announced as a panelist at the next Women Say Something event.
Phoebe and I are thrilled to be producing the other Mardi Gras event Teresa will be speaking at, the launch of 55Upitty, a website Teresa’s built with Viv McGregor (our fabulous photographer). 55Upitty celebrates older LGBTI women, providing stories and history that I was privileged enough to grow up with, but that many young LGBTI women have to seek out once they discover the queer community. It’s a wonderful project, so you should probably book tickets to the event…
Anyway, here’s Teresa’s Women Say Something bio. It’s pretty damn good:
In November 2012 Teresa was awarded the Edna Ryan Grand Stirrer Award for “inciting others to challenge the status quo”.
Teresa has been a feminist activist her whole adult life. In England, she worked with homeless women, and then as a school librarian providing a safe place for gay and lesbian young people. She was a founder member of a women’s housing co-operative, and campaigned against restrictions to abortion. She was a member of (probably) the very first lesbian mothers group in London, and with her partner had children at a time when lesbian families were very unusual, but discrimination against lesbian mothers and their children was not.
Teresa came to Australia in 1988 and was one of the earliest people granted citizenship as the same sex partner of an Australian citizen. She established a lesbian mothers group and supported other lesbians and their children. She was a member of the Bluetongues lesbian writers group, writing and publishing about lesbian issues.
Teresa coached women and girls soccer for Balmain for over ten years. She specialised in training women over forty who had never played before, and got great pleasure in seeing women develop soccer skills, and gain a confidence in their own ability that they were then able to transfer to their lives more broadly.
Teresa has been a mentor for many skilled migrant women who come to this country and then are unable to find work that matches their skills. In her capacity as a senior manager in the NSW Public Service, Teresa also lobbies for equity in the workplace, and supports younger women to achieve their career aspirations.
Teresa is an ambassador for “This is Oz”, the online anti-homophobia campaign run by ACON. She regularly runs fundraising events for women’s causes. She is currently advising Leichhardt Council on providing more services for the local LGBTI community. Teresa’s commitment to living her feminist values includes a 35 year commitment to being a vegetarian.
Teresa is the Founding Director of 55Upitty, an online interview and photography project that celebrates the older LGBTI woman. 55Upitty will be launched in the 2013 Mardi Gras season.