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'Sista Girls' by Bindi Cole

The term ‘Sistagirl’ is used to describe a transgender person in Tiwi Island culture. Traditionally, the term was ‘Yimpininni’.  The very existence of the word provides some indication of the inclusive attitudes historically extended towards Aboriginal sexual minorities. Colonisation not only wiped out many indigenous people, it also had an impact on Aboriginal culture and understanding of sexual and gender expression. As Catholicism took hold and many traditions were lost, this term became a thing of the past. Yimpininni were once held in high regard as the nurturers within the family unit and tribe much like the Faafafine from Samoa. As the usage of the term vanished, tribes’ attitudes toward queer indigenous people began to resemble that of the western world and religious right. Even today many Sistergirls are excluded from their own tribes and suffer at the hands of others.

Within a population of around 2500, there are approximately 50 ‘Sistagirls’ living on the Tiwi Islands. This community contains a complex range of dynamics including a hierarchy (a queen Sistergirl), politics, and a significant history of pride and shame. The Sistagirls are isolated yet thriving, unexplored territory with a beauty, strength and diversity to inspire and challenge.

fuckyeahexistentialism
what was once before you – an exciting, mysterious future – is now behind you. lived; understood; disappointing. you realize you are not special. you have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. this is everyone’s experience. every single one. the specifics hardly matter. everyone’s everyone. so you are adele, hazel, claire, olive. you are ellen. all her meager sadnesses are yours; all her loneliness; the gray, straw-like hair; her red raw hands. it’s yours. it is time for you to understand this.
walk.
as the people who adore you stop adoring you; as they die; as they move on; as you shed them; as you shed your beauty; your youth; as the world forgets you; as you recognize your transience; as you begin to lose your characteristics one by one; as you learn there is no-one watching you, and there never was, you think only about driving – not coming from any place; not arriving any place. just driving, counting off time. now you are here, at 7:43. now you are here, at 7:44. now you are…
gone.
 Synechdoche, New York, 2008 (via fuckyeahexistentialism)