Experience of living as queer ex-Jehovah's Witnesses; Dating as a trans woman

Sunday, 18 August 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Artist: Jonas Ropponen

Content and trigger warning:

Please be aware that today’s show contains descriptions and discussions about mental health, suicidal ideation, self-harm, trans-exclusionary radical feminists, family violence, misogyny, transphobia, child abuse, religious fundamentalism, gay conversion therapy, queerphobia, sex, violence against trans women, and sexual assault, that may be distressing to some listeners. If this type of content is a trigger for you, please contact Lifeline (13 11 14), 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), iHeal – Family Violence Recovery Support (03 9663 6733), Beyond Blue (1300 224 636), Switchboard Victoria (1800 184 527), or contact your state-based service. 


Michele speaks with Jonas Ropponen, an ex-Jehovah’s Witness, artist, and teacher. Jonas is originally from Sweden and grew up in Frankston (Victoria) in a Jehovah’s Witness family. He left the religion after coming out as gay 22 years ago when he was twenty. We discuss his experiences of growing up queer, the aftermath of being excommunicated, and living as an ex-Jehovah’s Witness in the context of religious fundamentalism.


Michele speaks with Abby, a trans woman living in Fitzroy, Melbourne. She has worked as a computer programmer all her adult life and currently lives with her teenage son. We discuss her experiences, and the difficulty, of dating as a trans woman using dating apps, and the effects on her mental health. We play her audio narration that discusses her experiences of 'dating as a trans woman'.


Michele speaks with Darrell Sugar, a gay ex-Jehovah’s Witness living in Melbourne. He was baptized in 1990 and excommunicated and shunned by his family and the religious organisation at age 27, over 20 years ago. We discuss his experiences of growing up queer, the aftermath of being excommunicated, and living with mental illness and trauma in the context of religious fundamentalism.

For unbiased information on Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Visit JWfacts to determine if Jehovah's Witnesses have 'the truth' via an examination of its history, doctrinal accuracy, and its belief systems. Created by ex-Jehovah's Witness Paul Grundy.

Read Crisis of Conscience (1983), a biographical book by Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The book was written three years after his expulsion from the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.

Sunday 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Critically engaged queer commentary.


Queering the Air collective