A Queer Legal saga

Sam Elkin with his new book. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Tanya Steele

Melbourne-based author Sam Elkin presented a thought-provoking group chat in honour of IDAHOBIT Day to celebrate the recent release of his book.

Knox Libary hosted the author on Thursday 16 May Sam said the talk was a great experience and really heart warming.

“It was wonderful to go to the new Ngarrgoo library – we had about 25 people come along and many people were part of the LGBTQIA+ community,” he said.

“It was a really involved audience who had a lot of interesting questions to ask and we had great conversation about my experience as a trans lawyer and about how society has changed in the last 25 years.”

‘Detachable Penis: a Queer Legal Saga’ has been described as ‘part love letter and part cautionary tale’ and delivers the author’s journey from lesbian to transgender lawyer in the aftermath of the 2017 marriage equality vote.

Sam said he thinks some readers will be interested in the community lawyer experiences and others will be interested in his experiences as a trans person.

“People might also just be interested in a local Melbourne story,” he said.

The book is set in St Kilda and Yarraville and Sam was the first lawyer in Victoria’s queer law service and found himself at the pointy end of debates about trans inclusion in sports, children’s access to puberty blockers, birth certificate law reform and the Christian right’s demand for enhanced religious freedoms.

The group attending Sam’s talk also discussed the recent national news about the book ban by the Cumberland Council in the Western suburbs of Sydney.

Sam said that the group discussed how important it was that the decision was reversed.

Sam said that getting the book together happened quickly and it came out of personal reflection on how LGBTQIA+ inclusivity training doesn’t always reflect the positive parts of being queer.

“The training is often delivered using a deficit model with negative statistics instead of focusing on the positive – that can actually undermine our collective mental health,” he said.

Sam’s book “Detachable Penis: a Queer Legal Saga was released on 3 May and Sam hopes to keep on writing.

“I’m really happy to have the book out and the book launch meant a lot to me,” he said.

“I had such a positive experience at Knox and I hope to keep writing and publishing.”