I have been officially awarded a Fellowship at The RSA – The Royal Society of Arts Manufactures & Commerce, the Fellowship is a global network of change-makers who have created positive impacts for their communities. I will now have access to financial and social support for possible future community endeavors for the betterment of my community particularly in education and employment.
It is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with this award which is in recognition of my trans advocacy, trans education and trans awareness training programs.
In 2019 I was invited by a young film maker still at university to feature in her short film on feminist intersectionality, not out of feminism but because of the earnest good intention of the film maker did I agree to the project, I was already heavily laden with speaking engagements, social events, community based volunteer work and board meetings with various boards and committees I belonged to, so even though I felt reluctant, saying no would have made me feel like I had killed Bambi.
Filming with the girls was a treat for us all as The Pullman Hyde Park generously lent me a suite for my filming location and I was also dressed by Camilla for the occasion.
At Intersections has been shown at short film festivals around the world and has garnered nominations and awards for Fern Mei Sim, I hope you enjoy this delightful short film documenting the diversity of LGBT Feminist Intersectionality.
I also wish Fern Mei Sim a fruitful and successful career in Filmmaking as she goes forth into the film industry.
I am very proud to be associated with Out For Australia.
Did you know that mentoring is widely considered a critical component to career success?
Yet 63% of women reported that they have never had a formal mentor.
Not having a mentor could be the difference between what makes or breaks your career.
To discuss the importance of women mentoring, Out For Australia (OFA) is hosting a free online event for women and non-binary folk on the 14th of September at 6:30pm.
• Hear from our amazing panel of speakers about their experiences with mentoring.
• Uncover what mentoring can do for your career.
• Understand what stops LBTQIA+ folk from engaging in mentoring and why we need more of us to be involved.
• Be inspired to find your next great mentor.
• Be inspired to get involved as a mentor.
At OFA we aim to bring the community together and offer a supportive and nurturing environment where people can network, build relationships, and assist each other in their professional journeys.
We have over 1000 participants in mentoring relationships Australia wide and are the countries’ largest and most successful mentorship program offered for LGBTQIA+ and allies. It is 100% free, open to anyone 18+ in Australia, and is quick and easy to sign up!
I am very excited to be invited to speak on The Director of Fiji Fashion Week -Ellen Whippy Knight’s recently picked up by a Fijian National TV Station, Fashion Talks with Ellenabout my advocacy and my pivot into fashion with the creation of my new floral crown label Katherine Wolfgramme Handmade.
Ellen is also a well regarded current affairs television presenter and prominent socialite in Fijian Society and a leading luminary of the Fijian Community in Sydney Australia.
It is an honour to be able to present myself to the people of my country of birth with such a lovely debut.
broadcasting live via Zoom on Facebook on Wednesday September 8 at 4pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
I have just started creating floral crowns especially designed to go with Camilla Kaftans and Leisurewear.
So….I’ve launched a label!
Unfortunately with COVID lockdowns, there is no elegant launch with a fashion parade and champagne but I am now creating one off handmade floral crowns and headpieces to stock in boutiques across the Eastern Suburbs, specifically made to adorn elegant leisurewear for glamorous outdoor events, weddings, day gala, summer cocktail parties, swish afternoon tea events, dance parties and of course Mardi Gras; or just to make the great unwashed, feel unwashed, ha!
Something perfect for COVID Brides who cannot access hairdressers and makeup artists.
Also designed to be moderately priced to meet the gap in the floral crown market (an issue I was faced with annually) I sincerely hope my new hobby that was borne out of a need to keep my mind busy during this lockdown becomes successful enough to pay for itself so I can continue to do something I enjoy.
Wish me luck!
My first physical stockist is Sharon ‘Sha Sha’ Barclay’s Oasis Emporium on Macleay St in Potts Point.
You can also view some of my stock on Instagram at KWflowercrowns
To Stock In Your Retail Showroom or for Editorials Please Contact Me Directly at email@example.com
I knew the second wave, the Delta Strain of Covid19 from India was going to be absolutely horrific if it came to Australia, and I prayed and hoped that it would not because I saw in advance how it had ravaged my country of birth Fiji.
So when the Delta Variant was first detected here in Sydney with the first cases reported in Bondi I went on a manic online shopping spree because I knew I would be locked down for months, instead of shopping for toilet paper – a baffling and mysterious first world phenomena where panic shoppers will buy all the toilet paper available in supermarkets rather than important things like food and medicals, I bought a plethora of silk flowers, florist wire, florist tape, silk ribbons and headbands, 71 separate 0rders each order containing several items not because I was completely crazed but because i decided to join the world wide trend of Pivoting.
In 2019 and 2020 I was very ill but I didn’t realize it, so ill I ended up in hospital early 2021 and then admitted to Sacred Heart Rehabilitation in Darlinghurst in Sydney recovering from a broken leg I had not healed from both mentally and physically, I also had undiagnosed Cushing’s Disease and Diabetes.
It started with my broken leg, unfortunately I was not given the right aftercare after I fell off a stage (truly, I couldn’t make it up) and fractured a bone in my leg, so I remained isolated in my third floor apartment for three months because the stairs caused my leg too much pain for me to even think of descending and ascending the stairs to and from my home; eventually I picked myself up and started leaving the apartment and I was also excited my rehab was was finally set for April 2020..I could see people were shocked by my appearance, I had gained weight and I used a walking stick but could only walk short distances, I was basically an invalid.
By March 2020 the global pandemic began and Australia and the world was sent into self isolation, which in turn caused all my medical follow up appointments to be canceled.
At first the isolation seemed calming and beautiful but having no control of the world around me must have had a very deep negative psychological effect on me because I was also so terrified I only left my bed to go to the bathroom and collect the home delivered groceries and food deliveries left at the door. I had by this time subscribed to every streaming service available so my days were filled with non stop television.
I think it must have been during this time that my undiagnosed Cushings Disease led to Diabetes, I had gained 30kgs so I was diagnosed obese to boot, a series of unfortunate events led me to be become very sick.
When I finally went to St Vincents Hospital in Sydney in January 2021 it became very obvious to myself that things were serious because the hospital strongly advised me to stay the weekend until a bed was available at the rehabilitation centre – hospitals usually chuck you out as soon as possible.
To be honest I was in shock, I mentally did not grasp what was going on but I did know rehabilitation was my salvation so I stayed in the hospital and waited for a bed in the rehabilitation clinic, also knowing I could die made me very compliant and obedient – contrary to some jealous rumors I actually do take direction well when instructed properly…
Rehab was a dream, the care and empathy and sympathy shown to me helped me heal in leaps and bounds, with all my ailments diagnosed and treated, and with my physical rehabilitation taken care of I was able to heal both mentally and physically, I don’t wish to whitewash things so I will say it was physically and mentally very demanding at times and I cried a lot but in the end I pulled through this year with flying colours, the deep depression lifted, I no longer have Cushings and my diabetes is taken care of; oh and I am also walking without a walking stick 90 minutes every afternoon and have also gone from Australian dress size 22 to a size 16!
Post first wave of Covid19, work and society and virtually everything else returned to normal, all was wonderful until the Delta Variant from India arrived in Australia late July 2021.
Instead of defeat and returning to my bed again like the last lockdown I decided to pivot – change direction, do something I have always wanted to do but was never able to do, and my idea came from my annual issue which occurs around every Mardi Gras Season.
Every February The Sydney Gay Community puts on a celebration like no other – The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, an internationally recognised event where my community comes together to remember the past crimes committed against us but also to celebrate the rights we have won as a community by a gigantic street parade followed by a legendary dance party second to none . The Mardi Gras Arts Festival runs for a month culminating with the dance party.. our last hurrah before our season ends and the Autumn weather sets in.
I digress, every parade night I like to wear flowers in my hair in memory of my glorious trans god mother Carmen Rupe who was always adorned in enormous jewels, glorious gowns and a gigantic flower in her hair, she was a striking a figure in every parade and an iconic and much loved transgender woman of Sydney and New Zealand’s Gay and Transgender Communities, basically she is a legend.
Every year I would scramble to find flowers for my hair to pay tribute to Carmen’s memory, I myself cannot wear just a single giant flower, I prefer flower crowns and every year I am faced with the same dilemma, a milliner will charge me between $500 to $700 for a silk flower crown, a florist will charge me $220-$300 for a fresh flower floral crown or I can buy a plastic one from the discount store for $4! I could see there was a gap in the market.. and I thought I could attempt to meet that gap, I am in lockdown and there really was nothing else for me to do.
I had never made millinery or floral headwear before so I decided that during the impending lockdown I was going to learn to make them to keep my mind healthy and far too busy to worry about the world around me which I had no control over.
I was always very artistic and creative growing up, and drawing, painting, sketching, singing and all forms of decorating was my creative expression, I was destined to be a designer of some kind; be it interior or fashion design. In 1990 I attended design school in Melbourne, I deferred for a year to transition, but when I tried to return in 1991 the school declined to take me back, not because I was transgender but because they could not guarantee my safety and did not wish to hire security to ensure my security travelling between classes, I was told the people a year above me would remember me which would be the cause of the issue.
Thus ended my dreams of of being a designer, this would not have happened today, but sadly thirty years ago was another era.
That is how I came to my new hobby, designing floral crowns and floral millinery, and for a novice, I actually don’t think I am too bad.
The world is an uncertain place with Covid cases rising in Australia, as of today there are 500 new cases a day in Sydney alone, we will no doubt reach a thousand soon. I have no control over the future of my community or the outside-world but I do have control over the small bubble that I live in – so each morning I play beautiful operatic arias and start creating silk floral creations to adorn imaginary heads for weddings, racewear, parties and gala events…. I go into a cocoon of creativity and I feel so impossibly happy, happier than I have felt in years because for the first time in thirty years my creativity has again been able to flow freely and so beautifully, so I am in heaven – I’m designing again.
I feel like a busy bee surrounded by a garden of silk flowers and I feel euphoria in my beautiful silk garden, and my newly created floral adornments are my honeypot.
I already have a Potts Point boutique to stock.
I feel so fortunate that I was able to pivot and explore a side of me that has been locked away so long, I hope I can make a small successful little cottage industry to supplement my income out of this so I can continue creating beauty for many years to come – just for the joy of it.
On a practical note, if they don’t sell they each match one my kaftans so I will be set for every Mardi Gras and wedding from now until Kingdom Come.
My first day at Tafe, I still maintain going back to school was the bravest thing I’ve ever done.. and I’m pretty brave, but leaving the safety net of my community and meeting a classroom room of young straight people was a terrifying prospect to me.
I never quite felt comfortable not being open about my journey to them, I always think things made hidden will always come out and the only person who suffers is the person hiding the secret, so, in my first semester I did my disability presentation on Gender Diversity, it was so wonderfully liberating and though some were surprised, my classmates were very accepting.
During the presentation I told my fellow Community Service and Social Work classmates that it would probably be the first and last time in their life they will work beside a transgender person and the next time they will meet someone like me will be serving them in their new jobs at the front line – it was very liberating for me.
Its so important to always be in control of your own narrative because the story will inevitably be told differently by someone else.
So much has changed since then, the experience and education was life changing.
Being a transgender woman doesn’t define who I am, but being open about my gender and sharing my experience gives me the freedom most people can only dream about. It empowers me and gives me strength, so I celebrate my journey and acknowledge that I transitioned from one gender to another – to find peace and happiness and contentment….what more could any human being wish for?
I love Mardi Gras in Sydney, it is like Gay Christmas, we wear our best, act our nicest and there are parties everywhere, one of my favourite this year was at Chuuka Restaurant in Pyremont.
It was a lovely Sunday afternoon, motor tricycles ferried us from the street to the end of the Wharf.
DJs played on while drag queens swayed and we all laughed and chatted to the effervescent sound of free flowing French champagne and an eye popping abundance of delicious morsels arrived from the kitchens – classy, sydney style.
Thank you Star Entertainment Group and CMO George Hughes for your wonderful hospitality at Chuuka, a restaurant I will definite return to.
YIORGOS is a photographic portrait artist who has a remarkable
way of making photography look like paintings.
The Voyeur was taken at precisely 3pm when the light is most beautiful, I do love my skin against a black velvet foreground and background, the Venetian mask adds mystery to the portrait.
I love this painting because I think as a trans-woman I often feel like I am on the outside looking into a world that is not mine, studying custom and culture that belong only to non-transgender people.
If you know me you will know I only wear kaftans, rain or shine I will be sporting an elegant mu-mu, I have many kaftans from many designers but my favourite is Camilla…
Camilla Kaftans are a sentimental favourite for well heeled Sydney women, much coveted by those who wish they owned one and much loved by their wearers, to the point that most women know her different collections and recognise a “Camilla” from a mile away, their popularity has reached a point where a kaftan from any other designer is called a fake “Camilla”.
Their resale vale is very healthy, thus why though expensive Camillas are good investments.
With shock and delight I took a call from Camilla Head Office to invite me to participate in a Mardi Gras Campaign with Camilla Franks – The Goddess of Kaftans… needless to say I said yes without fuss or stipulation, haha.
Camilla has an abundance of energy which made the photoshoot nothing short of magical.
To top off the daydream, I was paid in Camillas – Thank you universe.
21 Feb 2020 What Matters. This weekend we are celebrating What Matters. We celebrate acceptance, inclusiveness and above all, equality. We will be parading through the streets in the name of love, so very proud of our LGBTQIA Tribe. We love you endlessly and this weekend, we honour you.Happy Mardi Gras, with love Camilla xx
I was invited to recite a story that had inspired me as a young LGBT person along with 7 other giants of Sydney’s Gay Community at The National Art School, the event sold very quickly this year and it is no wonder, the settings and surroundings were truly spectacular, and the many recited words were an inspiration to hear.
The air in the room was cultured and refined, cosy and welcoming, and uber elegant.
Congratulations Terese Casu and Dino Dimitriadis on such a thoughtful and visually beautiful and unforgettable event.
Owner of the Merrivale Group, Hospitality Moghul Justin Hemmes flew to Melbourne and approached Poof Doof Melbourne’s owner Anthony Hocking to partner in a venture with him by bringing his legendary gay night to Justin’s legendary venuethe Ivy, situated in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.
Justin believed the very unpopular lockout laws in Sydney would soon finish and his super club needed a new energy and a new direction to enliven his Ivy Precinct and the central business district.
I was approached by Poof Doof’s General Manager, the handsome Nic Holland to run the door because I “know everyone darling“, many of you who know me also know I have always kept a weekend job to keep my foot in the door and keep me in touch with the LGBT Community.
I am not sure anyone foresaw how quickly Poof Doof would become a huge hit, or foresee the gay community travelling away from Oxford St to party. I suppose Justin knew, that is why he is so successful in the hospitality industry.
Offensive slang is often fought against, as a trans advocate I too have had offensive transphobic slang words forbidden, when quizzed about this recently I only had one reply..
Poof Doof is owned by a gay man, celebrated, loved and frequented by thousands of gay people every week, I think it is wonderful that gay men are now in a place of such privilege that they can take a hurtful word and have fun with it, the trans community is not there yet, but I hope with time and more social equality this will one day happen. One must also consider that I am no longer an stakeholder of the P word, so I have not right to comment on the subject.
Working with Poof Doof Sydney is like being a part of a good hearted family with the best of intentions for the community.
…And it is amazing, people have said to more than once “Katherine, I was expecting something amazing but this is even more amazing than I thought it would be”, what makes Poof Doof amazing?
It is the community inclusivity, young drag queens dancing next to muscle men who are dancing next lesbians who are dancing with twinks who are dancing with trans people, ages ranging from 18 to late 60s all accepting each other, this is what Gay Sydney once was back in the 1990s when Gay Sydney was the envy of the Gay World.
The music too is incredible with a DJ Line up of World Class DJs from Sydney and abroad.
Anthony Hocking aka Hockers is a master of the vignette, so there will always be something visually spectacular every weekend, from dancers, to drag queen, to new lighting and pyrotechnics – every Saturday you will come away with a visual memory to savour until your next visit!
Every facet of Sydney’s Gay Community is welcome, every colour, creed, class, body shape, gender and sexuality is welcome to come to our wonderful club, but be warned you must come in peace and with respect for all aspects of the gay community.
I know this because I am in charge of the door, my job is to keep the riff raff out and to lovingly welcome The Family, The LGBT Community through, and I look forward to welcoming you to Poof Doof every Saturday Night at the Ivy in Sydney.
Poof Doof is situated in Angel Place on Ash Lane in The Ivy Precinct every Saturday Night from 10pm until 4.30am