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Three more Mocha’s to go folks. I know I say this about all of the guests, but what I love most about the first Monday Mocha series is the diversity of guests. We’ve had equality in the sense that we’ve had the same about of females as we’ve had males. They all have an inspiring and individual story. Monday’s for me have become a day I look forward to than one that I dread. I hope it’s been the same for you as well.

This guest is someone I would say is the equivalent of the modern day cupid. I guess dating site and app creators are like that, right? Meet Robyn Exton – founder and CEO of lesbian/queer dating app – HER. The creation of the app was originally inspired when one of her best friends asked her for some advice on how to meet women. After working with a tech company, Robyn finally decided to bite the bullet and create HER, which is now operating in over 20 countries in the world.

“We look at the struggles and the unique patterns that women have and try and make an app that works best for women”

Follow Monique: @RobynExton
Available on: iTunes | Spreaker | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play
Featured Voices: Ginni Saraswati, Robyn, Missy Dempsey & Sam Phelps
Produced by: Sam Phelps
NEXT EPISODE: May 1: Monday Mocha with Eljay Aguilo
Photos: Joey Middleton


This Monday Mocha is a little closer to home. Literally. When I was in my early to late teens and growing in self awareness and learning about myself, it wasn’t just Queer As Folk that shone some light on the parts of me that I darkened. I used to hide underneath the covers reading LGBT magazines and newspapers. LOTL was one of those publications – headed up by Silke Bader – ranked the eight most powerful lesbian in the world by CLEO. A powerhouse publisher, event planner and equality advocate here in Australia, it’s an honour to have a mocha with yet another person who’s indirectly had some influence in shaping who I was today.

“When friendships are no longer give and take, when it’s heading only in one direction, you realise who you can turn to for support, and who you can give support to.”

Follow Silke: @SilkeBader
Available on: iTunes | Spreaker | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play
Featured Voices: Ginni Saraswati, Silke Bader, Missy Dempsey & Sam Phelps
Produced by: Sam Phelps
NEXT EPISODE: Season Finale: The Wall Street Of Life – Wednesday, March 29
Photos: Joey Middleton


On the eight Monday Mocha show, we still continue in Hollywood and chat to someone who has left a heart print on my journey. I first caught a glimpse of him on Showtime’s Hit Series, “Queer As Folk,” where he played the character Emmett Honeycutt.  From there, Peter Paige has gone on to be one of the creators and writer’s for the ABC’s hit show, The Fosters. One of the many many things I love about Peter is the fact that he always makes time to connect with you. A lot of people reach out to him about the art he creates and how it has impacted their lives – I was one of those people and am better for it. A very special Monday Mocha.

“Connection is more important than ever at this moment in time. Despite the fact that we are tapped into the internet, in some ways we are less connected. It’s important for me to share a meaningful moment with someone.”

Follow Peter: @ThePeterPaige

Available on: iTunes | Spreaker | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play
Featured Voices: Ginni Saraswati, Peter Paige, Missy Dempsey & Sam Phelps
Produced by: Sam Phelps
NEXT EPISODE: Menu, Please? – Wednesday, March 15
Photos: Joey Middleton


On the seventh Monday Mocha show, we head to the Hollywood Hills and chat to long time actress, Liz Vassey. I first watched her as “Lou,” on Brotherly Love and since then she has graced our scenes playing many a character in Nikki & Nora, CSI and Two and A Half Men to name a Few.

“Sometimes the best relationships aren’t the longest. You come into this world, find your tribe and sometimes you learn what you’re supposed to learn. As long as you’re acting the way you think is best and are good to others.”

This week, we hit the Hollywood Hills to chat to actress and writer Liz Vassey. Currently, Liz is crowd funding for her latest project – The Human Race Documentary. She is nearly at her goal. Click here to support her.
Follow Liz: @lizvassey

Available on: iTunes | Spreaker | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play
Featured Voices: Ginni Saraswati, Liz Vassey & Sam Phelps
Produced by: Sam Phelps
NEXT EPISODE: Menu, Please? – Wednesday, March 15
Photos: Joey Middleton


It’s the sixth Monday Mocha podcast show. I have loved the diversity in guests that I’ve had the honour of spending time with.  One of the reasons why I wanted to start this particular series is to help change the attitude and resistance we have towards Monday which is essentially the mentality we go into the week with. By chatting to an inspiring individual, taking time out to have a coffee or a break – it’s a good way to ease into your week.

“I think friendships can be cyclical based off where you are in your life. True friends understand how I care about them. You may not see them for weeks at a time, but you pick up where you left off. “

This week, we take a trip into the finance world and take a trip down Wall Street to have a chat with banker, LGBT equality entrepreneur and founder of Out Leadership – Todd Sears. Find out how he thinks Australian coffee compares to American coffee and how many times he hits the snooze button before he wakes up.

Follow Todd: @toddsears

Available on: iTunes | Spreaker | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play
Featured Voices: Ginni Saraswati, Todd Sears & Sam Phelps
Produced by: Sam Phelps
NEXT EPISODE: Approved – Wednesday, March 8
Photos: Joey Middleton


If you’re someone who identifies as LGBTIQ and are from a very traditional and conservative family like mine – the holiday season can sometimes drum up a bit of anxiety and awkwardness. While we all are finishing up work, school or are trying to squeeze in parties, packing, shopping and cooking; the last thing we need is to add layers of contemplation, awkwardness and anxiety on top of everything else.

There was a moment not too long ago that family functions would make me feel so uncomfortable that I would simply find an excuse to avoid going to them around the holiday season or during the year. When I ran out of excuses, I had to think of ways to try and manage the holiday awkwardness. I came up with a temporary Three Step Plan.

  1. Your gay husband. You could always take him to many a family event. He does your hair, make up, he dresses you up and chooses the most banging outfit for you to wear. It’s a perfect plan. The Aunties and Uncles just think he’s just a very “cultured” person amidst his colourful persona. This can buy you at least 20 family functions. Cash them in as MUCH as you can. Just a forewarning…be prepared as after a few, he may do this.


2. Talk to the most subdued single and eligible bachelor that may be at the party. Usually, these bachelors are NOT there by coincidence. They may be introduced as someone who’s here from out of town and has no family here but you can bet any money that one of your aunties or uncles has done a full interrogation and background check on his eligibility and invited him in the hope that he clicks with one of the single daughters or nieces. Knock yourself out.

3. Be as traditional as you can be, in every single way, on that day. Nail it, sister. Better yet, be natural at it.

I hope that helps you with at least 5 years worth of events? Yes?

In my inner and extended family, no one has publicly “come out” or declared to ever have been in love with someone of the same sex. Well….no one that we know of anyway. This is the case in most families – the fact that we have no precedence to work with. As great an example Ellen is, we can’t keep using her! You can even ask her yourself – It can be quite the task to be the original!

If there are any closeted gays in my family, they’re perhaps going through a similar sense of anxiety that I did, and are waiting for it to be all unravelled when an Aunty or an Uncle to see them out at some Gay club or festival…or in my case, hosting a Gay TV program. If you didn’t know my coming out story to my family – check out episode two of my podcast here:

EP #2 We all have closets to come out of

As difficult as it was dealing with the immediate aftermath of my entire family finding out because one of my Aunty’s had decided to switch on Bent TV: Melbourne’s Gay TV Show on Monday nights at 10pm and watched the entire episode to draw her assumptions and narrative from it – I actually had the easy way out. I didn’t have to relive the anxiety 170 times, telling each and every individual in my family (can you imagine how long that would take with all them cousins?) – I, instead, had a way of telling them in the comfort of their own home on a HD screen with 2 million other people in Melbourne joining them. The only thing missing was the glitter.

Now that my family know, the next step is actually trying to integrate my life into the holidays.  That is, when you have a significant other, how do you take them to family events with you? How many times can you get away with saying, “Aunty, Uncle, this is my FRIEND,” before they figured out exactly what kind of a “friend,” she is. My mind would think of scenarios of their reactions. Being a Sri Lankan family, these reactions would 99.8% of the time be behind my back. So when they did the math, this would be their reaction on the inside:

Accompanied with a bit of:

The phone calls to the extended family and entire community would begin.

But to my face, during conversations and catch ups amidst the festivities, food, underlying friction and other politics between the many other relatives, we would all be like:

As I said before, it’s not an easy task being “the original gay,” of your family. In Sri Lanka, homosexuality is still criminalised. Most of my family, especially the older generation migrated to Australia so are still living and breathing the customs and the ways of what it was like back in the motherland. Whether it be a fear or the unknown or a religious reason, at times there may be resilience to it. But carrying the burden of hiding who I am, cutting myself off and shrinking myself so that others would feel comfortable was too greater baggage for me to carry. The relief of everyone knowing, even though they may not acknowledge it to me personally and I may be the subject of gossip for a few more family events, the sense of relief that I feel now that the fear, anxiety and crippling effect of anticipation is gone is amazing.

So, to all the original gays of the families out there, congratulations! You’ve done a huge service to the future generations of your family and paved the way to anyone else who may identify as LGBTIQ in your family. Parents will have other parents to talk to about their gay child and connect in a deeper way than before; your cousins can say that they too, “have a gay cousin.” Aunties or Uncles can related to others when they say, “My niece or nephew is gay.” The dialogue is now open. Even though you’ve taken the lion shares of criticism, gossip and judgement – the reward you get for that is: No one ever forgets the original. And your story will be told for generations with a few, or many alterations to it.

At the end of the day, no matter the venue or conflict in politics, religion, marriage or whatever, after a few scotches and a shot of the holiday spirit, we all end up dancing the same dance.

This one.


#2 We all have closets to come out of

Coming out of the closet has been a much celebrated step in the declaration of love in modern day. Going through life, we all have things about ourselves that we fear sharing with the world, or more to the point, fear coming out with. So we all can have a coming out story.

Ginni takes you on a journey of a few coming out stories with comedian Bobby Macumber and Artist Parvati Sundari – from coming out as being pregnant and being spiritual teacher . Some were very public. Some private and some via text message.

Featured guests:

bobby-macumber-500x500Bobby Macumber @bobbymacumber

Parvati Sundari @parvatisundari

NEXT EPISODE: Saying No to No Is the New Black.
Wednesday, October 12.

Produced by: Sam Phelps
Features Voices of: Ginni Saraswati, Bobby Macumber, Parvati Sundari
Photos: Joey Middleton

Available on: iTunes | Spreaker | Stitcher | Soundcloud