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Broad Church: Feminism and Queerness in Modern Religion


Event Status

Hear from a panel of writers and thinkers from a range of backgrounds about how their identities have been shaped, challenged and influenced by their connection and disconnection to religion and spirituality.


As well as being a uniquely personal experience, the relationship between religion and gender identity is increasingly a topic of discussion within public and political discourse. Those who identify as female or LGBTQIA+ are redefining frameworks of religion, creating their own spaces and moving towards a more nuanced understanding of faith and spirituality. Practices within religious traditions, including meditation and prayer, generate opportunities to explore and navigate these relationships

At this event, hear from a panel of writers and thinkers from a range of backgrounds about how their identities have been shaped, challenged and influenced by their connection and disconnection to religion and spirituality. Holy Woman author Louise Omer, Buddhist monk and scholar Sunim BomHyon, ex-Mormon writer Jess Knight and LGBTQIA+ and Islam researcher Aisya Zaharin will join host Jacinta Parsons to consider what a safe, meaningful and inclusive experience of modern religion can look like for women and LGBTQIA+ people, and why this so often ends up being the exception, not the rule.

The bookseller for this event is Neighbourhood Books.

Presented in partnership with the Contemplative Studies Centre

Illustration by Megan Herbert.


Wheelchair accessible

Accessible toilets available

You can learn more about the Wheeler Centre’s accessibility policies here. Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

Broadly Speaking

Building on conversations begun at Broadside festival in 2019, join us for a series of deep dives into feminism and gender. Featuring brilliant local and international feminist thinkers talking culture, media, matriarchy, law, health, sex, sovereignty and more.

Broadly Speaking


Sunim BomHyon

Sunim is a Buddhist monk, scholar, teacher, and activist, who lives on the unceded lands of the Gundungurra and Tharawal people. Sunim came of age in the early seventies and was active in the early women’s refuge collectives, and in the eighties worked with HIV/AIDS campaigns. In the early 1990s, ... Read more

Jessica Knight

Jessica Knight is a writer based in Melbourne.

Louise Omer

Louise Omer is a feminist writer born on Kaurna Country with words published in The Guardian, The Australian, The Saturday Paper, and more. She has read at events in Edinburgh, Dublin, Catalonia, Melbourne and Adelaide, participated in art residencies and group exhibitions in Spain, Bulgaria, and th... Read more

Jacinta Parsons

Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, writer and public speaker who currently hosts the Afternoon program on ABC Local Radio Melbourne. She released her debut memoir, Unseen: The Secret Life of Chronic Illness in 2020 and recently released her second book A Question of Age: Women, ageing and the forever... Read more

Aisya Zaharin

Aisya Aymanee M. Zaharin serves as one of the board members of Australia GLBTQIA+ Multicultural Council (AGMC) while doing her PhD on navigating Asian values and media responsibility. Her research includes fields in political science and history, decolonisation to LGBTQI+ and Islam with a focus on i... Read more


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