Essay Competition Winners Announced!

Sunday, November 25 2018

SpringOUT was proud to partner with the Equal Rights Coalition this year for the inaugural SpringOUT Essay Competition!

We had a great take-up of the competition for its first year. It was hard to pick a winner out of all the fabulous entries, but we are delighted to announce our winners are:

  1. Shara Jenkins for “pride cbr love is love”; and
  2. Steph Lum “Intersex Self-Love”

Congratulations to both Shara and Steph, and thank you everyone for your entries. We’ve included the winning entries below for you to enjoy!

“pride cbr love is love” by Shara Jenkins

We loved you before we knew you were there.  You were wanted, loved and cherished.

We watched you grow, felt your movements, your energy, and planned for your future.

When you were born, our beautiful baby boy, you were instantly adored, surrounded by love.

As you grew, you did things in your own way and your own time.  Strong spirited, quick to laugh, full of joy, passion and excitement for life.  A fighter for justice, defender of what was right. A bright spark, brimming with empathy and compassion, sometimes so much that it was hard to distance yourself from the emotions of others and it became overwhelming.

We saw the confusion and hurt when you were, deliberately or unintentionally, misunderstood. We tried to help you navigate through the twists and turns without losing your light, your very unique you.

We didn’t expect this twist, it was not part of the plan, but sometimes the diversions can take you somewhere much more exciting.  We have been shocked, confused and hurt as we try our best to muddle through something so outside our own experience.  We don’t always do things the way you want, but we try oh so hard, and we are here for you.  To protect you, guide you, comfort and support you.

But what it all boils down to in the end, our darling, daring, brave daughter, is that love is love, and we love you.


“Intersex Self-Love” by Steph Lum

You know what happened
When they tried to make you normal
All those appointments you hated
Where they looked at you
Touched you

It was actually a training program. It’s called:

How to hate your body or become so detached from it it’s no longer yours

It’s quite a rigorous program
but when they start you early it soon becomes
your normal

It trains you to think about yourself in a certain way
There must be something wrong with you
It trains you to be unsure of boundaries
Unsure if you can say no
It trains you to seek approval for your body
From older men around you
Afterall, they were the ones who got to say
Whether you had to come back

When they changed you, you wondered, am I normal now?
You weren’t sure so you asked your mum
She said that now you’ll be able to marry one day
You were six

You still weren’t sure
See when they took something from you they put something in its place
The need for constant validation
A man to make you feel normal
What you didn’t know then was you would never be sure
Not as long as you kept asking others to answer the question for you

But it’s all part of the training program
They trained you to ask the question
And then it was time to graduate
You know, you were one of their most successful graduates, for a time
Maybe that’s why they took so many photos
Funny they didn’t notice the flowers you got when you were leaving
I guess they didn’t know then
What yellow and purple orchids can do