"It was one of those awkward teenage kisses with way too much tongue."
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

9 Feb 2018 - 3:47 PM  UPDATED 9 Feb 2018 - 3:49 PM

Between giving TED Talks on anxiety, making music, and campaigning to change the date of Australia Day to May 8th, you'll probably find comedian and musician Jordan Raskopoulos playing roller derby.

"I think derby first appealed to me because it's such a new sport and has its roots in alternative and queer culture," Raskopoulos tells SBS Sexuality, one week after Australia's narrow second-place finish in the World Championships.

"It is a space where all bodies are celebrated. When I transitioned I wondered how I would pursue sport, because I've always loved sport, so it was amazing to discover an environment where my body wasn't only accepted but celebrated."

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Coming out as a transgender woman two years ago, Raskopoulos admits that her first time attending the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was "a bit intense", but last year she marched the entire parade route not once, but twice - and enjoyed it so much that she's doing it all again.

This year, Raskopoulos will be fronting Medibank's interactive Kiss Cam float, an experience already shaping up to be more memorable than her first kiss.

"I was in high school and it was New Years Eve," Raskopoulos recalls with a laugh. "I was at a party with a bunch of friends and a girl just kissed me and I didn't know what to do. It was one of those awkward teenage kisses with way too much tongue."

While gearing up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras, Jordan remains mindful of the fight still ahead for LGBTIQ+ Australians, particularly those in the trans community.

"I think there's a lot that needs to change," she says. "We're starting to talk about trans people now which is great, I think we need start having more discussions which involve trans voices, and not only those of activists or performers, but trans writers and artists. I think we need to create platforms for diverse voices."

When asked whether she feels the pressure to represent such a diverse community, Raskopoulos hesitates.

"There is a pressure to try and get things right," she admits, "but that's really difficult and one of the things I want to help achieve is fostering a culture where it's okay to get things wrong, to create an environment which encourages change."

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She continues: "The marriage equality vote is a huge example of that, considering how much of the country had to change their mind. I don't think we celebrate that enough - when people ask for forgiveness and change, it's turned into such a big deal, there's this idea that an ally has to have always been an ally."

"But when someone becomes an ally, that's fantastic. That's the goal."

Catch Jordan Raskopoulos on Mardi Gras night Saturday, March 3 hosting Medibank's interactive Kiss Cam float.

The 40th Annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will air on Sunday, March 4 at 8:30pm on SBS.