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S2E4 QWS Podcast social tile with an image of Jasper Peach and logos of Queer Writes Sessions, Words and Nerds Podcast and Blarney Books and Art in Port Fairy
S2E4 QWS Podcast Jasper Peach

QWS Podcast S2E4 – To listen to the podcast click on this link from Words and Nerds here or here.

In this episode Rob chats with Jasper Peach about writing, Rainbow Families and those questions — and all about their new book, You’ll Be a Wonderful Parent: Advice and Encouragement for Rainbow Families of All Kinds

Full interview transcript below. Jo from Blarney Books & Art in Port Fairy reviews Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg.

yellow book cover for You'll Be a Wonderful ParentAdvice and Encouragement for Rainbow Families of All Kinds by Jasper Peach
You’ll Be a Wonderful Parent
Advice and Encouragement for Rainbow Families of All Kinds by
Jasper Peach


Jasper Peach links

Instagram @jasperpeachsays

Twitter @jasperpeachsays


Jasper Peach’s Shout outs

Quince Frances




QWS Podcast S2E4 – Jasper Peach interview transcript

Please note: this interview transcript has been modified for ease of reading.

Rob: Jasper Peach lives on stolen Dja Dja Wurrung Country in Castlemaine, Victoria, with their wife and two children. They are a trans, non-binary and disabled writer, editor and broadcaster. They are passionate about equitable access and inclusion, with a strong focus on storytelling centred around the dismantling of misplaced shame. Jasper served as guest co-editor for Archer Magazine’s 16th edition, and their work appears in HireUp, the Sydney Morning Herald, SBS Voices and We’ve Got This, a book about parenting with a disability.

Their latest book is You’ll Be a Wonderful Parent : Advice and Encouragement for Rainbow Families of All Kinds – is out this month, published by Hardie Grant.

Welcome to the show, Jasper.

Jasper: Thank you so much for having me.

Rob: Absolute pleasure. And, yeah, we’ve got a lot to talk about. But firstly, congratulations on the book and we’re going to deep dive into that but first on QWS Podcast, we start with a question which is, “How has your work influenced your identity?”

Jasper: My work is my identity, and I don’t mean that in a gross, like capitalist kind of way. <laugh>, I mean, as a disabled person with an energy limiting disability, I need to be really, really choosy about the way that I spend my energy. And if I do that wisely, my work helps me to feel more well. So, looking back with the benefit of hindsight, I’m 42 now, and looking back, all the work that has been the most fulfilling and satisfying has really helped my health. So, look, I had to write this book. It didn’t exist, and I thought that was bogus. So, it doesn’t really matter who wrote it, it’s here now. I’m really glad that it’s here. So, I guess part of my identity is seeing what’s missing, saying if someone’s going to do it, if they’re not doing it, I’ll do it. Why not?

Rob: Brilliant. I love that. Thank you so much. And, for our listeners, I’m going to read the blurb of the book.

You’ll Be a Wonderful Parent; Jasper Peach provides a practical and emotional guide for LGBTIQA+ families around the arrival of a new baby.

Becoming a parent is already a challenging time, even more so if you don’t see yourself reflected in mainstream parenting resources, culture or even language. But alphabet soup families are also in the unique position of being able to intentionally build their own family structure and create an environment of huge love and belonging for their children. This little book holds the reader’s hand through the journeys of both birth and non-birth parents, with advice on everything from to dealing with other’s definitions of your family, to finding the right medical care and communities, and of course making sure that you take a lot of naps before the baby is born.

A beautifully illustrated hardback full of warmth and personality, You’ll Be a Wonderful Parent is unlike any other book on the market in its inclusive and celebratory approach to queer parenting, and there is something for everyone to learn from the values and experiences of rainbow families. It is the perfect book for new or expecting parents of all descriptions.

Rob: I feel like as a parent in a Rainbow Family, I love that this book now exists. Not only is it a great resource for anyone and those in our communities thinking about a parent, but also as a gift for those friends and family to educate. So, can you tell us about how this book came to be?

Jasper: Yeah, sure. When the pandemic started – so I already used the P word, but that’s what was going on. <laugh>. When the pandemic started, I was working as a marriage celebrant, and I’d been doing that for 17 years really well, and I loved that work so much. You know, really deep diving into people’s love stories, deep listening, creating meaningful ritual, and then holding that space. And then the pandemic happened, and when it was legal to do so, when I could work in that space, it wasn’t as fun for me because social distancing didn’t seem to apply. And I’m immunocompromised, so I’ve got to be really careful. And my workplace, which is other people’s weddings, became a thing I couldn’t do anymore. So, I had to really think about, because I thought this was a job I would just have for the rest of my life till I was a little old They.


But you know what, I’m not glad it happened, but I’m really excited about this life that has opened up in front of me. It started out as doing a sensitivity read for a friend for her book. So, this book is part of a series. The first book in the series was by Ailsa Wild, who’s a wonderful children’s author. And she wrote this gorgeous book called You’ll Be a Wonderful Dad. It was a love letter to a friend of hers who was becoming a father for the first time. And she asked me to read it from a queer perspective and see if it felt inclusive. And so I read it, it was beautiful, but it wasn’t really for our community. It was from a heterosexual person to a heterosexual person. It’s a letter, you don’t need to make it something it’s not, it was beautiful.

And my main feedback for Ailsa in that post sensitivity read meeting was, you are a person who is inclusive, you’re a person who has all sorts of friends. And I would just recommend, if it feels right, add something about make sure your children see you loving and respecting all sorts of people, and then they’ll know whoever they grow up to be, they’ll be safe and they’ll be someone that you will love. So because that’s true. That’s the sort of person Ailsa Wild is. And then as a joke at the end of the meeting I said, “Oh, you should tell your publisher that I’ll write a companion book.” <laugh>. And so she went and talked to them, and they contacted me and asked me for a writing sample. So I just sat down here and went, okay, what would I say?

And wrote, I guess what was essentially the first draft of this book was just a little 5,000 word blah. And yeah, <laugh> that exploded out of me. And at the time our kids were, let’s see, they were nearly two and nearly four, so it was pretty fresh and all that. That time leading up and the birth and when they’re little and they went for it. And it, you know, writing books and getting books published takes a long time. And Ailsa did let me know that because I had, I’d never worked in this industry before, and she said, “Oh, publishing takes ages. It takes so much longer than you ever think it will.” But when your book is out, it feels like a shock <laugh>. And that’s exactly, exactly what’s happening.

Rob: Yeah, that’s so true. It feels like fair then all of a sudden and you kind of think, how did that happen? Right?

Jasper: And then people will tell you what they think of it. It’s like when you’ve had a baby and they go, “Oh, your baby is so beautiful.” And you think, “Of course they are. Yes. But that’s just fact. You don’t need to tell me.” <laugh>.

Rob: Yeah. Why are you commenting on my baby?

Jasper: Yeah, yeah. So it’s a bit like your baby going out into the world and this year my babies have started kindergarten and prep, so it’s a very parallel kind of journey.


Yeah, yeah. I’ve got teenagers now, but yeah. So when we way back, so I, I co-parent, and when we started, it was back in the John Howard era where he was changing the definition of marriage to exclude us. And so it almost felt like an act of rebellion saying that, dear listener, we all wanted to be parents. So it wasn’t <laugh>, we weren’t doing protest babies, but back then there was, there was maybe baby in Melbourne, which was a group where you could go along and ask the questions and hear from the experience which you’ve captured so beautifully. Like, now that this book is out in the world, I’m so excited. Like I was talking to, uh, Amy Wilson from Queer Chameleon about how that book should be in every library and I think this should be as well, and again, fantastic present to go there and you, you’ve captured everything, microaggressions,, dealing with a system that’s still, and look to be fair, I think there is a lot that is changing, but for a lot of us, uh, rainbow families, we are having to say we need three school reports., you know, just things like that. And to, yeah. And, and like I say, to be fair, a lot of the schools, they, they are trying, but their actual like computer systems, things are just not.


That’s what it’s, isn’t it, there’s so much rapid change in presence, in understanding in language. It’s just bing boom, bam, bam. But then it’s, it’s the, is it the infrastructure? It’s, and it’s the computers. Like I, I talked to a few people for this book who had the lived experiences that I haven’t had, because I can’t talk about something I haven’t lived. And he was telling me that as a trans man, the computer, once you select male will just wipe out any kind of birth related procedures or appointments. And so that was a really big problem for their system too, to work out how to do. And I just, and I hear that sort of thing all the time and I just think, well, surely once one person’s mentioned it, you’d sort it out, but it can take years. And it, it, like my three-year-old says, it bloated my mind open <laugh>. Oh. It just seems so like, we’re, we’re here, we’re not, we’re not pretend., Could you just add that box in your computer? Whatever machine with the internet is made. I don’t know how it works, but it seems a bit of a silly Billy situation to me. I don’t know.

Rob: Absolutely. And I look, there’s that brilliant intersect where, you know, we’re human, we have the same concerns as non-queer parents. But I loved about the “love bubble” and, logical family, which, you know, is one of the things I think the queer community does so incredibly well is, you know, we make that found family and how that can look as a parent. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Jasper: Mm-hmm. Well before, I guess before this book existed, what we did, my partner and I was, we talked to other people that we knew in our community who had their babies, or had their baby. And you know, you sort of broached the subject with great respect always and say, “Oh, we’re really interested in having children. Would you mind if we asked you some questions just about how we would go about things?” because you know, all queer people know what it is like to be this item of fascination and entertainment, you know? So very mindful not to do that. And all the people we asked were, “Oh, sure. Come over for lunch, ask us anything. We’ll tell you our story and you can ask us anything you’d like to know.” And that feeling, that’s really what I wanted to capture, that openhearted warmth and trust and intimacy that we share behind closed doors without our community members.

It is, it’s like family. It’s so loving and so holding and, and it’s generous. It’s incredibly generous. You know, that’s what we do so well, you share that information about not just being safe and staying alive, but how we thrive. How we live our best lives. Because I guess a lot of queer people, a lot of trans people growing up, we didn’t see this sort of life as a possibility. And sometimes any kind of life as a possibility, so dreaming big. It’s an intimate and vulnerable thing to do. You know, I really just wanted that to be something that was on the bookshelf that wasn’t just this tokenistic little paragraph just to tick a box. You know, this is for us, this is for our community.

Rob: Yeah. And you’ve, you’ve captured that beautifully. Like, it really, like you say, it does feel warm.

Jasper: And it’s a feeling you want to bottle. Right? It’s an open back and forth. So open and generous.


And I think that’s the other thing about, uh, communities is, you know, communication is really valued. Yes, of course we have our, our blind spots when it comes to it as well. We’re not perfect, but there is that, I think because we go through the experiences that we go through is that, value what’s really important. But yeah, I think, and, and I love that and there is so much open openness and honesty,, when it comes to talking about, you know, sex or, you know, where we’re talking about making a family or I guess because we’ve had to deal with shame a lot more than perhaps a non-queer person. Once you sort of can process that, you just don’t put up with any kind of nonsense around it anymore., but can you tell us, uh, please a little bit about how you structured this, this book?


Mm-hmm. That’s a great question., it’s sort of like the, the phases of birth really. There’s, I guess I wanted, wanted it to be kind of linear. My mind is not linear, <laugh> in any way, shape, way, shape or form., I’m all over the place. I’m like a pinball machine and the little ball’s just going ding all over the place. So, this was a very good ‘shh’ exercise for me to <laugh> to try and make sense, I guess structuring this book. I tried to think through what happened in my life and in our family., I tried to think through what that would look like to the external gaze and which parts were important., so I mean, you, you were mentioning just a few moments ago about not putting up with, with nonsense from external sources. And I absolutely agree with that.


I don’t put up with nonsense from people who might not use inclusive language or might ask me very personal questions. But that has been such a learning experience through, through having kids, I think. Yeah. Because for the, I guess for the first year, whenever someone asked myself or my partner a really personal question, both of us would be so shocked that we would just answer it. And so we had to Yeah. You know, and we’d come home, and we’d say, oh my God, the lady at daycare kept asking me who gave birth to this kid? And I, I told them, but I didn’t want to. And why does, why does she need to know? And, yeah. And so then we would talk about it and, and I noticed that we were just sort of getting stuck in the, the bit where you are upset. And so I would say, okay, this is going to keep happening. Like it’s just going to keep happening. Yeah. We’re interesting to people who, who aren’t living this life, so that’s fine. And there’s also the pressure of you don’t want to represent your community and be those rude queer people. <laugh>, you know, who

Rob: So hard relating right now too.

Jasper: You <laugh>. So, so we, I, I said, all right, we’ve just got to workshop this, we need to practice a response. We need to practice. So I’m going to be the rude person at the supermarket. Who, where’d you get your baby? What country did you adopt them from? What do you say? And then we, you know, we would do that. Like we had, oh my gosh, we had Rob, we had a family Christmas, right? Where, one of the extended family people said, oh yes, we’ve got a lovely family at our church who got their baby from a terrible home, and they’re so loved now. And I was like, what? <laugh> that’s, that’s great that there’s an adoption that’s taken or foster, whatever it was that there is nothing wrong with fostering and adoption. Fostering and adoption is beautiful, but my, you know, our children have been born in our family.


And why do you, I didn’t even say, why did you think that? I was so shocked that she had just decided our story. You know, it’s such a, it’s such a weird thing. So we, we need to, we needed to, it took about 18 months for us to really go, all right, all right, we’ve got that second skin now. When your babies are born and it’s like all your skin’s falling off and all your, your heart’s just outside your body. Your feelings are so big., so we really had to practice and, and get that tough, tell us back up again where we could, we could hold a boundary even though the other person might not understand why you just hold it and go, well that’s not, that’s my child’s information. And they’re not old enough to decide yet, so.

Rob: Yeah. And I thought you, you write about it beautifully and, and the book all about that. And I think you’ve also incredibly kind, uh, when it came to which we all experience, which is people asking questions, but I, I think you call it open-hearted., yeah. So they’re asking with good intent. They actually are genuinely interested. But it is that saying, and yeah, you come up with the responses to try and cut things down because yeah. People, it’s almost like there’s this entitlement to

Jasper: The emotional labor is astounding. <laugh>, it’s just like everyone with kids is exhausted because you’re running around picking up crusts up that have been shoved down the couch and how long’s that apple core been there and stop pulling the dog’s tail.

Rob: <laugh>.

Jasper: Oh. And then you’ve got like very well-meaning kind people either telling you what your story is or demanding to know., and it, it would feel like if I went to someone, so what, what sexual position were you in when you conceived? How were you feeling that day? Did you enjoy that sex? Was that good? Is that why your baby’s happy <laugh>? It’s the same right? <laugh>, it’s so intrusive.

Rob: 100%. Yeah.

Jasper: Yeah. But people don’t know till they know I really try and hold that. I really try and hold that even when I’m frustrated or tired or, or whatever it is, they don’t know till they know. And sometimes the moment when they learn, when they get to know can be quite defining. So, you know, it’s no one’s responsibility to be anyone else’s teachable moment. I, I never want to put that pressure on anyone, let alone myself. But if I have the energy, if I have the <laugh>, the goodwill in my heart that day, I will do my best to be gentle but firm about it. And they, oh look, that’s, even though you’ve got a gay hairdresser and you know them, which is what you’ve framed your question around, that’s quite a personal question for me. Someone you have just met. So

Rob: <laugh>. Yes. And I remember when my first book came out, which is an adult crime novel, and one of the, which I turned down, one of the publicity things was an article talking about my rainbow family. And it was nothing to do with the book and I was just… I said no, because that’s not related at all. And that’s my private family business. And with our children, like, I mean, obviously we’re all incredibly protective, and parents are, but I think for us it’s about – and you talk about it in the book – around home and then outside world. Can you tell us a little bit from, from the book around for maybe for non-queer listeners, a couple of those challenges for children and family of Rainbow parents?

Jasper: Yeah, I think, I think one of the challenges is actually having those conversations with, with your partner either during pregnancy or surrogacy or, or whatever it is that means that you’re going to have a child in your family. It’s, this is something that that’s his head. People don’t even need to think about like protecting their story. They don’t need to think about that. I mean, there might be some people who do, but it’s not a blanket situation where everyone who is a member of the LGBTQIA plus community who is having a family, it’s, it can be a really tender subject and it’s really personal. So the parent or parents need to decide together a united front about what, what is our response, to this? Are we, how do we deal with, with the fallout of, of the, the fatigue that happens from that emotional labor? How do we help each other through that? you really got to think it through from beginning to end., and that’s, that’s something that, that is unique, I think. Yeah. Oh, what else? Gosh, I mean, can you think of any?

Rob: Well, I guess we can, we could flip it as well and, and some of the joy of being a Rainbow family – and it is a lot of fun. It’s a lot of, for us. A lot of really great discussions and open communication and ideas and seeing your children thrive is,

Jasper: Oh, I feel like it is, do you know what I love about it is like, our kids are now five and three and they don’t bat an eye to anyone. They’re very used to all sorts of people. In my kid’s reader for school this morning, there was, it was a book about the wheels that are on different vehicles and there was a photo of a Paralympian who was using their wheelchair to race, and my kids said, “Oh wow, look how strong they are.” And that was their comment. <laugh>.

Rob: Yeah. I love it.

Jasper: You know, just, so I love that, I love that we live these really intentional lives and it, and it’s a privilege to think about these things that I guess the people who are like the majority, they don’t have to, they have the choice of going about it if they wanted to, they wanted to make the space and time and in their lives to do that. But it’s something that I think, I think queer families do really well.

Rob: Yeah. And absolutely agree. And I guess probably something that we kind of just take, not for granted, but just as a given, but again, maybe not as just how, you know, our kids are, are rooted in equality. Like that is just a fundamental belief like what you were saying, uh, you know, across the board. So their interactions with, with other, people, they’re coming from that lens. And it’s, it was interesting, uh, particularly primary school, so you’ve got this, but it’s just, you know, them coming home and talking about, I guess different things that were said, not to them necessarily, but just, and all around equality and just them and, and their friends who came from non-queer parents. But this is why I’ve got such great faith in the new generation is because they call stuff out like they were doing stuff. Oh my goodness. I was, when I looked back, I was just sort of running around eating my lunch and these kids are like, yeah, just challenging stuff. And I just think it’s so good.

Jasper: Yeah. They see it, don’t they? They can identify.

Rob: Yeah. And label it

Jasper: Things not quite right. Even, even like, I know I’ve mentioned consent a bit, but

Rob: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jasper: One of my, my kids is really high energy, right? And loves to play loud games where you run and chase and, and they know to always check with, like, this is something that they have decided to do themselves. They’ll check with the other children they’re playing with, is this type of play okay for you? Do you feel happy? Oh wow. And I’m just like, what? You are five. I’m going to follow you around <laugh> out how to live.

Rob: Yeah.

Jasper: Oh, the, the lessons that it took me till my thirties to even notice, you know? That’s really, really special. Really incredible.

Rob: Yeah, it is. It’s, it’s incredible. And, another thing I love about the book is you’re covering, it’s about being a parent. So that is, no matter how the child comes into your life, it’s about you being that parent from queer community, it’s so inclusive. I absolutely adore it. So I was hoping you might do a reading for us from, you’ll be a wonderful parent and as long as you don’t think it’s a spoiler, because it, it’s fine. <laugh> final thoughts. Page one, one seven. Uh, I was teary-eyed in a cafe when I read it. <laugh>., I think it’s just beautiful.

Jasper: I just have to say I love when people cry <laugh>, like through my life I’ve always been like, yes, that’s great. You’re releasing your feelings and you’re not holding it all inside for to turn in into pain or whatever it is. So, yay., thanks. That’s really lovely feedback, Rob. Okay. So final thoughts. The love you feel as a parent. The fear and hope and vulnerability and wonder. It is exquisite and humbling. Use it to make the best choices you can. The best advice I can offer other than the naps before birthing is to always greet your children with joy. When they know that you’re happy to see them no matter what. It will help shape such an unshakable sense of self that they’ll know their worth in any setting. And the single greatest gift you can give yourself next time you look in the mirror is to regard that person staring back with that same joy and pride and acknowledge that despite the scars of this world, you are loved, you are worthy, you are here, and perfect as a parent and as a person just as you are.

Rob: Beautiful. Thank you so much Jasper. No, I just adore it. A question we ask all our guests is a writing question, which is around any advice or top tips for our writers out there?

Jasper: I think one of the, one of the questions I’m asked the most frequently, so my FAQ is how do you find your unique voice?, I think this is something that people are really worried about and I just like to, that I, I really encourage anyone to have fun with it, just write for the heck of it. It doesn’t have to be because you’ve been commissioned for a byline. It doesn’t have to be for a job, it doesn’t have to be for someone else to see. Just let your voice flow through into whatever it is that you are writing. Let yourself have fun with it and it will happen before you know, it, it, it’s really about letting your authentic self shine through., and that, that means believing that your voice is worth hearing. Yeah. And let me tell you a secret, It’s fantastic.

Rob: Absolutely. 1000%. Yeah.

Jasper: <laugh>, I like those odds.

Rob: <laugh>. Yeah, <laugh>. Yeah. And it is, it’s a, it is, indefinable, but I think you’ve defined it very well around that. Yeah. Authenticity and just letting go.

Jasper: And it’s okay to be a giant dork you don’t have to be cool.

Rob: No, not at all. And you don’t have to be anyone other than yourself. Yeah, true. That’s the whole point.

So we also have a shout out question. So firstly, how can listeners connect with you on socials or book events?

Jasper: Yeah, sure. I’m pretty easy to find, so if you look up on Instagram or on Twitter where I live,, my handle or whatever you call it is @JasperPeachsays., and on there I’ve got in my bio link with all the events that are going on,, there’s a book launch in North Fitzroy in April., there’s a few things around Central Vic where I live and I’ll be up in Geelong for Q Lit on the 1st of April.

Rob: Brilliant.

Jasper: Yeah.

Rob: I’ll put those up on our show notes as well. And would you like to shout out any LGBTQIA plus artists books, art’s organization, social media?

Jasper: Accounts? Yeah, I’d, I’d like to give a shout out to the illustrator of this book, Quince Francis, who’s done such a beautiful job representing the breadth of our, our community. They did such a soulful, deeply thought out, considered job with this, with this work. And it is such a pleasure to have these illustrations in the book.

Rob: Oh, that’s beautiful. And, Francis won the Rainbow Prize, the Blaney Books and Art Biblio Art Awards that two years, I think. Yeah. So it’s so great to see their illustration in this book.

Jasper: Yeah, yeah. I’m really, I’m really excited to, to be, to have worked with them on this book and also that more people will see their work. It’s really, yeah. You know, often, often we toil away in, in our little hometowns and, yeah. The more we can lift one another up and, and share the, the wonderful things that people are working on it, it creates so many beautiful ripples, I think. Yeah. That just, we don’t know where they’ll end up, but it’s, it’s, it’s a wonderful thing, really wonderful thing. Absolutely.

Rob: Which is a, a fantastic segway to our closing question for you, Jasper Peach, uh, which is, what is your hope for the LGBTQIA plus community?

Jasper: Mm. I would love if we didn’t need this book <laugh>. We do, we do though. And I don’t, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But, I think, I hope that the labors that we undertake to chip away at the things that oppress us and exclude us, that they’re not in vain, and that our allies can take some of the work off our shoulders. It’s really important that you step up and help us out because it is an everyday 24 7 job too, to do this work. It’s really, it’s, it’s more, it’s more bigger than I can say, incorrect English <laugh>

Rob: Preach. It’s been fantastic. Thank you so much. And thank you so much for creating such a, a wonderful book, celebrating our Rainbow Families. Yeah. Super excited for, you know, a new generation of parents, so, yeah.


Me too. Thanks so much, Rob. So lovely to speak with you.


You too. Take care. Thanks.

Check out our Season 1 QWS Podcast episodes here.