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WA Rolls Out First Queer Derby Bout

Roller Derby

The fast-paced world of roller derby is about to get more queer than ever before. The Vagine Regime, a community of skaters which aims to promote the inclusion of LGBT people in roller derby, is hosting Western Australia’s first queer bout on January 18th. WA co-founders Nurse Stax (pictured, left) and Mary Fagdalene (pictured, right) caught up with OUTinPerth to tell us more about the sport and its queer players.

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To get acquainted, the players share the stories behind their derby names. “I’m a nurse and used to fall over lots. Still do really.” shared Nurse Stax. For Mary Fagdalene, her name was a suggestion from a friend. “She found it hilarious that I identified as both Christian and queer and thought my derby name should reflect these seemingly conflicting worldviews. She really liked the idea that I’d get called ‘fags’ and that it would ‘out’ me in such a big way when it had been such a challenge a few years earlier. This particular friend was the first woman I ever kissed and was instrumental in pulling my very fearful self out of the closet so I think it brought her great delight knowing that I’d have such a gay name. Now it’s a name I very much own myself and am happy to be recognised as an openly queer woman.”

Roller derby has a substantial queer following which is reflected in the international presence of the Vagine Regime. “I think it has such a strong queer following as it is a safe place for women to be strong. They are not judged for who they are and can be comfortable with being with whoever they want. And because strong women are sexy women, that other women want to watch. “ Mary Fagdalene concurs. “My take on that is that women in roller skates playing an aggressive sport is super hot. It’s not even that the sport is dominated by queer women by any stretch of the imagination but it displays women in ways that we don’t often see in society. Derby provides an outlet to demonstrate a strong physicality, aggression and competitiveness which are attribute that aren’t necessarily encouraged in women. Speaking for myself, this was a large attraction to the sport because it provided an outlet to be the kind of unusual woman that I am. Whether you play the sport or not this is an element that attracts women of all persuasions and walks of life whether it’s as a spectator, a skater or an official.”

The players are hoping that by celebrating this queer following with a dedicated bout, the sport will help cultivate an LGBT-positive atmosphere. Mary Fagdalene told us a bit more about what the organisation hopes to achieve. “The Vagine Regime internationally aims to promote the sport of roller derby and create a culture of acceptance and celebration within it for queer people. In WA our hope is to foster and develop this as much as possible.”

“The Vagine Regime aims to build an international community of queer derby folk. Through a commitment to inclusive solidarity we hope to create networking opportunities, cultivate acceptance, and foster derby love matches.” Said Nurse Stax. According to Mary Fagdalene, inclusivity is especially important. “Whilst it might not be a big thing to be ‘out’ in derby, it can still be a very difficult to be queer in the world. For gender queer or trans people, being involved in sport can be very challenging. VR has worked to advocate for the acceptance of trans women in the sport and to call out discrimination where it is present. If we can build a safe and accepting environment within our sport then it can make a big difference in the lives of individuals external to it.”

WA’s First Queer Roller Derby Bout is at the Morley Rollerdrome on Sunday January 18th at 6.45pm. Tickets available at www.trybooking.com

Sophie Joske

Images: Candy Goldsmith Art and Photography

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