Maeve: Hi, I’m Maeve Marsden and you’re listening to Queerstories. This week, Inspired by both her father and Shaun Micallef, Ivy Hawke completed a law degree then went straight to Brisbane to become a comedian. Her comedic style is a mix of chaotic ramblings, punch lines about lessons she learnt growing up queer in Townsville and disaster tales formed from not paying attention to her surroundings. Ivy runs a dungeons and dragons radio show on zed digital where she encourages writers and comedians to let out their inner goblin. She also made it to the semis of Raw Comedy and was a finalist in the Brat Pack finals, all in her first year on the scene.
My name is Ivy and I am ashamed to say that beyond the introduction I was just given I am also a zoomer and a gamer.
I met and asked out my current partner during a magic the gathering tournament. Now I know three other queer people with similar stories but not a single straight couple. When I was a teenager I made my video game name Trans Justice, because you know I love the law. That has gotten me horrifically hate crimed in game chat (people really don’t like lawyers) but I have also formed an all queer women league of legends team from people who were like that’s awesome can I hang? So you know, win for friends, a loss cause I play league of legends.
Since I’ve been performing stand up in bars and pubs, I’ve learnt that it’s helpful to come out as a gamer, but even with that warning, my sense of humor tends to need a 20 minute Ted talk before I begin. Sometimes I skip that content entirely and just make fun of Townsville and my experiences growing up there. Of course when I go to Townsville I just make fun of Sydney and Melbourne…
I started comedy actually very young. In primary school I didn’t get along with kids, I was the kid that used to help the librarian out during lunch breaks and basically do anything for teacher or parent approval. The first time I felt like I related to my classmates properly was during a talent show at camp, when I got up and just did an improv story. It made everyone laugh and I came second place. After that I had kids come up to me and tell me they liked my story and appreciated me, something I’d never felt before.
From then on, an awakening slowly grew in me that I might struggle to relate to others but I could definitely make them laugh. Later I realized its because I was constantly dissociated and I could actually relate to people, it was just hard when I wasn’t being me, but you know baby steps.
At high school I did a lot better because of this realization, I basically fixated on that being fun part and ignored the rest of me. I came out as trans when I was about 16 but I was so fixated on doing a law degree, I also ignored that part of me till it was done.
The funny thing was I was still out as trans to the uni, but had no coherent identity or like fashion sense. I was like “If I wear stage blacks like in theatre then no one will notice me” but in Townsville all that did was make you stand our more and make it so much hotter. I often joke that no one in Townsville knew what being trans was they just thought I was really gay but I honestly don’t think that’s a joke.
I was president of a drama club and the gay pride alliance there for a while which naturally crashed and burned due to there being no interest in either of those things in a town that is 60% army and fly in and out minors. I was also in the law society and I played on the young liberal national party touch football team, which at the time was the only active political party on campus unless you count the guys that wore akubras all the time and just felt like they were representing Katter.
I did my practical legal training at QUT and became a lawyer, but uni was tough. Being queer is hard, being queer on jobseeker also hard, I had parental support but still managed to get scurvy doing my post grad.
I think in the age of technology it’s so easy to avoid thinking things like your wants and desires cause of all the noise around you, and boy did I do everything to distract me, no one check the amount of hours I have on some games.
Now I have stable life and job I can think about what I want, and it turns out currently that is still the same thing as when I was 10 years old, which is help people and make people laugh.
As well as having to ‘come out’ as a zoomer and a gamer, I am also often the first trans person people who come to my gigs and work with me will meet.
I recently performed at a ‘no snowflake’ comedy night here in Brisbane. Imagine an Elon musk/Trump fanboy meet up, and that’s ‘no snowflake’ comedy nights. There were one or two people I knew from the regular scene, but also a lot of people who are straight up banned from most venues. I would go into the reasons why, but I am here to talk about the positive part of this story.
I actually enjoyed the night partly cause the room wasn’t hard and just liked jokes, I had assumed a greater challenge but due to its position in the city it had walk ins to the general public so it wasn’t just \ 4, 50 year old men staring at me like I thought it would be. After a gig, I like to say “I enjoyed the night” rather than saying “I did good.” I’m just starting out but I also see comedians with 20 + years experience, who are amazing at their craft still struggle and improve. I don’t believe in people being good or bad at comedy, I believe if you’re having fun and you have the intention for others to have fun, then that was a good night. But also it was a little satisfying to see the sets about how much I hate my wife fail horrifically.
The MC for the night was someone I had worked with for a while, a fantastic comedian who is well known. They have been banned off Facebook multiple times for some posts that I definitely didn’t like, but they have always been sweet and lovely to me when working together.
That night, she told me, “Oh now I have got to spend more time with you, I see you as a woman.”
And I reacted “Yes, it’s amazing how when I relax, I act more like myself”
And we got to talking after that. She had a lot of questions.
I usually expect people with more experience in my fields know what trans or other queer terms are, cause I go you’ve been a lawyer or comedian for like 40 years surely this has come up. But the more I progress in these field, the more I am surprised by how utter geniuses don’t even know, cause they never needed too. Now I have had these talks before I am from Townsville. I am used to people just not knowing and asking questions and that’s normal to me, I enjoy reflective questions over someone just assuming and being a dick, I am sad that I don’t get to that option much anymore. Up north you’re kind of forced into these convos after like 2 or 3 hang outs with a few beers, here in Brisbane and a lot of cities there just isn’t that connection anymore, and when someone does ask it’s so angsty or aggressive.
After my conversation with the MC, it was real entertaining to watch her Facebook posts get a lot milder on queer issues. This was win on my part but it was also just fun to talk to someone about how much the queer community and queer identities have changed in the 30 years they’ve done stand up, time moves way too quick.
There is a recurring theme in my life where I end up in these right wing places. It is less I seek these out, it’s more right wing places are where the gamers are and I get tricked. I once had a boyfriend for like 6months and I didn’t realize he was right wing until I was chatting with his friends mid game, like at the end of those 6months anyway.
When I am not tired and in a mood to be a goblin, I like being in these spaces and I have found it so incredibly endearing to watch people change their minds about my existence even in small ways. Much like how I had crises of identity throughout all my life, I like to give these to others.