Australian lesbians get candid on ABC’s ‘You Can’t Ask That’

abc you can't ask that lesbians sam kingy king sam king tv series
Photo: ABC

A group of Australian lesbians have opened up in an episode of the ABC series You Can’t Ask That.

The eye-opening show allows people from a marginalised or misunderstood group or community to answer anonymous questions – some ignorant, some well-meaning, some both – from the public.

You Can’t Ask That’s new season starts this week and in one episode nine lesbians answer curly questions like, “To be a lesbian, is it a prerequisite to be an angry feminist?” and “Did you try dick?”

The women also discuss stereotypes, discrimination, religion, the fetishisation of their sex lives, and the evolution of labels like “lesbian” and “queer”.

LGBTIQ activist Sally Rugg appears in the episode and reflected on growing up as a young gay person.

“We live in a world where every single story you are told, every image of a couple, every myth, every tradition, every milestone in your life is centered around heterosexuality,” she says.

“And so, for me, I didn’t know what it was to be gay.”

Sally also recalls the moment her sexuality dawned on her.

“It felt like discovering that I had cancer because all of a sudden, I had this thing inside of me that I did not want, and I didn’t choose to be there,” she said.

“I suddenly felt like the rest of my life was going to be different.”

Meanwhile, Sam “Kingy” King identifies herself as an “old school butch dyke”. Asked about stereotypes, she explains why she thinks the “angry lesbian” stereotype exists.

“For a long time, people were only presented with images of rallies and political events where they saw lesbians being angry,” she says.

“We were fighting for our rights; we were fighting for our existence. People forget that being gay in this country was illegal.”

Nine lesbian women share stories on You Can’t Ask That

Others in the episode include transgender lesbian Rosie and lesbian woman Margherita who was raised by nuns in an orphanage in the 1950s.

Margherita recalls going to a gay bar at age 18 and “just knowing I was home.”

Meanwhile, Dina, a 24-year-old Lebanese Muslim woman, tears up when reading the question, “Do you ever wish you weren’t gay?”

“If I wasn’t gay, I would probably still have a relationship with my family,” she says.

Uniting Church minister Dorothy McRae-Mahon, 86, realised she was a lesbian in her 50s while married with kids.

Dorothy came out to her church after getting together with the “love of her life”.

“I wanted to respect her and own my relationship with her. I wanted to own who I was,” she explains.

After she did so, Dorothy explained being honest and open about her sexuality “has just given me true life.”

“The contrast between what I felt about myself when I was trying to be heterosexual [and now], it’s huge,” she said.

“When I decided who I really was for the first time in my whole life, I was really alive.

“I’ve come out in all sorts of contexts now. And I’m determined to keep doing it because it is who I am.”

The new series of You Can’t Ask That starts on ABC TV this Wednesday (April 28). The entire series, including the lesbians episode, is also streaming on ABC iView from Wednesday.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Don Balfour
    29 April 2021

    At last, one of Australia’s best-undiscovered talent is finally getting her recognition.
    I have known Sam King for many years. She is one of the loveliest persons I have ever met, but her talent is legendary. She is a stand-up comedian, an accomplished artist and a painter.
    The show will definitely be one not to miss. Sam has never pulled any punches when it comes to her honesty. He always tells it like it is. That’s why I have always admired this wonderful lady.
    Yes, I’m a fanboy of Sam King.

  2. Loz
    4 June 2021

    I saw this show and was really enjoying it until the derogatory and disrespectful comments about men started. I noted at least 14 comments that tainted men as bad people. They are not bad people. There are just as many bad women, trans, gay (and every other non-binary variety you can think of). Please stop this stereotyping of men. The people on the show complained about being sterotyped but then went on to stereotype men!! Please, think about this and don’t be hypocritic. I’m sorry if some of you have had bad experiences with men, but as per my comments above, ALL people can be bad. I am a woman, and find all these comments about men to be disrespectful as it’s simply not true. Masculinity is NOT toxic. Men are not disgusting pigs. Men do not decide on child care and abortion rights – governments do that via a democratic process that involves the whole country regardless of gender. Men do not sit in a separate room plotting these things!! Yes some men have traditional vales, but so do some women. What is wrong with that? One comment was “I have faith in men. Crap that’s gonna get me killed” – that told me that there’s an anti-man sentiment amongst the non-binary community and anyone who disagrees is wrong!! Please…. there has to be two way respect here. If you don’t want men to behave badly towards you, stop putting them down like this. You are not doing anything to help your cause.

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