Re-storied and Restored: Queer Family Conundrums across the Generations by Manja Visschedijk and Gipsy Hosking

In this Friday afternoon video we (Manja and Gipsy) share some snapshots from our 28 years of loving, living and working together in the intersections of age, sexuality and illness as non-biological mother and daughter in a Lesbian family.

In fighting for our rights as a ‘same sex’ family, we recognise that we do this within a complex, everchanging interplay of privilege and marginalisation. For us, intersectionality means we can’t talk about our struggle for recognition and equal rights as a queer family in Australia, without also talking about the broader colonial, social and political context in which the struggles of our family and our communities take place.

We consider some Narrative ideas that might assist practitioners when working across intersections of power and privilege; as well as some of the implications which the politics of lived experience can have for our Narrative practice.

Manja currently works as a Narrative Therapist in private practice, and is a member of the Dulwich Centre faculty. She first trained in Narrative approaches in 1997 and has worked with individuals, couples, groups and communities who have experienced violence and/or discrimination related traumas in a range of different roles including counselling, group work, training and senior management.

Gipsy was one of the first children born through donor insemination to lesbian parents in Australia. Identifying as queer herself, she is passionate about challenging homophobia and heteronormativity in all its forms. For the past 10 years she has also been living with a debilitating, invisible, incurable illness. Drawing on her honest lived experience she works to generate conversations and challenge the silences that surround lives lived outside the bounds of what is considered ‘normal’. She is currently working on a PhD that explores young people’s experience of invisible chronic illness through storytelling. You can read her blog here:

Published February 5, 2016

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Lisa Jones

    Thanks so much Manja and Gipsy for your video. What a beautiful relationship you have. I found your explanations of intersectionality very helpful particularly as this is a relatively new concept to me. I am very interested in my work at exploring discourses around the notion of being a ‘burden’ and how this is internalised by people who are receiving care even though oftentimes the people who are providing the care do not feel it as a burden at all, rather it is about reciprocity as you say Manja. Thank you both very much for giving me more to think about. Kind regards, Lisa

    1. Gipsy and Manja

      Thanks Lisa! I’m most interested in the concept of being a ‘burden’ too and how we are invited to feel that way even when the people helping us do not hold that view. It is a very strong discourse deeply tied to the idea that we all ‘should’ be independent and produtive bodies. I hope to explore the idea further in my thesis about young adult’s experience of chronic illness. We wish you all the best in your continued exploration of intersectionality and problematising this pervasive idea of ‘burden’. We would love to hear any insights you glean from your own work on this topic.


    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually one thing that I think I’d never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m taking a look forward to your next publish, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

    1. Gipsy and Manja

      It’s not easy! We spent many many days thinking about it all and exploring how intersectionality has affected our lives so don’t be discouraged. It is a very complex issue and it is unique in how it presents in everyone’s lives. I don’t feel like I will ever have the answers but the process of questioning is what is most important.

  3. Heath Truda

    That was brilliant Manja and Gipsy. Thank you for sharing your stories and inspiartion. Much love Heath

    1. Gipsy and Manja

      Thanks Heath! Much appreciated and much love back

  4. Emma Van der Klift

    Thanks for this nuanced conversation. I am left once again with an overwhelming commitment to these important intersectional conversations. We need safe places where we can make these delicate overtures toward each other – between disability, gender identity, sexuality, etc. One of the things that my partner Norm (who has cerebral palsy – while I am Autistic) often laugh about is that we did not so much fall in love as into recognition. Is my experience the same as his? Absolutely not. But do our experiences intersect in important ways that build empathy? Absolutely yes. I found myself falling into recognition (love) with this interview. Thanks.

    1. Gipsy Hosking

      Thank you for your beautiful words Emma. I also very much enjoyed watching the interview that you and Norm did on Relocating the Problem of Disability and I have since shared it with some of my friends as great resource.

  5. Mark

    Dear Gipsy and Manja
    Thank you for such a rich and inviting presentation. I welcome the chance to give further consideration and action to “how I benefited from the marginalisation and exclusion that came with white colonisation”. You have also reminded me of the sneaky ways we can inspire and connect with each other as part of navigating “the piles people were sorted into”. I can picture myself returning to this presentation as part of some of the conversations I share with people – for connection, for sustaining the efforts being made and the lifting up of preferred identities…..and I so much loved hearing you both contribute across the generations. It has me on the look out to explore ways other families and relationships might speak about their lived experience.

    1. Gipsy Hosking

      Thanks Mark! It warms my heart to hear such lovely positive feedback – Gipsy

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