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Thu, 23 May


Better Read Than Dead

Sam Elkin in-conversation with Erin Riley

Join us with Sam Elkin to celebrate the release of Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga! Sam will be joined by Erin Riley. This event is supported by Enqueer Sydney Queer Writers Festival!

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Sam Elkin in-conversation with Erin Riley
Sam Elkin in-conversation with Erin Riley

Time & Location

23 May 2024, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

In Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga, Elkin relates his bumpy journey from lesbian to transgender lawyer in the aftermath of the 2017 marriage equality postal survey.

As the inaugural lawyer of Victoria’s queer law service, Elkin is quickly immersed in thorny debates around trans inclusion in sport, children’s access to puberty blockers, birth certificate law reform and the Christian right’s demand for enhanced religious freedoms.

Set against the backdrop of a growing moral panic about the ‘trans agenda’, Elkin reflects on the double-edged sword of visibility post the ‘transgender tipping point’.

Elkin offers an honest, unflinching account of chest surgery, phalloplasty, the emotional impact of cross-sex hormones and the perils of airport body scanners. Undogmatic and refreshingly open-minded, Elkin explores his ambivalence about aspects of his own transition, masculinity and fears of lesbian erasure as he encounters a new world of gender-affirming psychologists, surgeons and speech pathologists.

Through an examination of Elkin’s legal casework and law reform efforts, Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga offers a kaleidoscopic view of LGBTIQA+ communities living on the margins. This politically sharp narrative offers a nuanced account of the lateral violence, poor mental health and activist burn out that besets the contemporary LGBTIQA+ rights movement.

Part love letter and part cautionary tale, Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga offers a darkly humorous glimpse into Elkin’s unique life in the law that will undoubtedly spark many prickly conversations.

Sam Elkin is a writer, event producer and co-editor of Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2022). Born in England and raised on Noongar land, Sam now lives on unceded Wurundjeri land. Sam’s essays have been published in the Griffith Review, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books and Kill Your Darlings. He hosts the 3rrr radio show Queer View Mirror and is a Tilde Film Festival board member. Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga is his first book.

By day, Erin Riley is a social worker, having spent most of the last decade working alongside marginalised populations in community aged care in and around Sydney. By night, Erin’s a skivvy-wearer, a dedicated reader, wrestling fan, swimmer of laps and a lover of routine. Erin brings a queer lived experience to their professional work and to their writing, and is fascinated and energised by the power of stories in both understanding and reimagining ourselves. They were a Penguin Random House Australia Write It fellow in 2021, and have been published in Kill Your Darlings, Bent Street and various corners of the internet. Erin lives in Sydney with their partner and Remy the dog.


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    Includes a ticket and copy of Detachable Penis

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