EI01 Trans Joy Collective

Mar 24, 2024
EI01 Trans Joy Collective

Elevated Intentions founder Dom, sits down with Beni, the creator of TJC to know more about what this event means to them, the future of TJC and the importance of community supporting each other in all ways possible.

Welcome to the first edition of Elevated Intention, where we will go behind the scenes and get to know those who are running your favourite events.

Our first edition brings us to the seemingly quiet streets of Brunswick, Naarm. Despite the main street filled with those heading home ready for a quiet one in, the night is just getting started at DSHUT for Trans Joy Collectives second show -Future Tense. After a roaring first event, Trans Joy Collective is back, defining its
identity with a line up to match.

During the day, DSHUT is most likely home to delivery vans trying to avoid spending money on parking on the main street, or potentially shared by friends seeking shelter from the Naarm wet weather (because who brings an umbrella everywhere.)

This alleyway seems no different to the others you encounter every day, but by night Trans Joy Collective has transformed this area into a fantasy scape for punters, fashionistas, and music lovers alike. Trans Joy Collective welcomes and invites all from crevices of Naarm, so whether you are a seasoned dancefloor assassin, kitted out in only the most niche local designer clothing or coming from your corporate 9-5pm looking for a break, Trans Joy Collective affords to appeal to all.

The dancefloor and space was idyllic, a pure representation of what the party was created for. Fun, inclusive and a great display of local talent. The djs cultivated a great mix between expressing their own tastes and playing to what the crowd responded to, each dj bringing their own flare.

Looking around you could see joy emoting from all who were getting involved, dancing with their own style, unbothered by what might seem conventional to the songs and genres being played. You can expect hypnotic bass, high energy and adrenaline fuelling music at any TJC event you go to, this one no different.

You can listen back to Beni/agendafludity set here:

  • Follow Beni here
  • Follow Trans Joy Collective here
  • Interview Transcript

    Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and Trans Joy Collective?

    Hi, my name's Beni otherwise known as @agendafluidity. I founded Trans Joy Collective because I saw a little bit of a gap in the market. I think that there was a lot of like cronyism that I saw. It's sort of like friends promoting friends, that kind of thing. I think what I wanted to do was create an event or a collective that is focused on providing opportunities and a space for people to come and dance, to feel safe and seen and feel like they're accepted and normal, but also provide a platform for new DJs to show people what they've got. It can be very hard to get into the DJ scene here, so I wanted to make it easier for those who don’t have a typical

    You had a vision in mind when creating your event, can you tell me a bit more about the importance/meaning of your show and what it means to you?

    I think that ultimately, it's the chance to provide a space where everyone belongs and to introduce new kinds of music to people. It’s so important that this is a safe space for the queer community and allies to understand/experience what it means to be in a queer space. My sisters (and partners) came tonight, despite being in very corporate lines of work, they had a great time enjoying a different kind of music, I don’t think they would be afforded that kind of opportunity or welcomed in the same way at a different event.

    Really, this is so much more about the community instead of me. Down to like where the decks go, the level of the music, the SFX, that kind of thing, all of that is decided in consultation with community. It's literally going to people on the dance floor, “Hey, are you having nice night? What do you think of the music volume?” Thatkind of thing. Then just tailoring it to what people like. I think that’s a level of involvement that you wouldn't necessarily find elsewhere.

    That’s sort of what I'd like to provide. People feel like they're part of it. Trans Joy Collective is called a collective despite running it on my own, but that never really worried me (A collective is usually run by many people for context.) I think that this collective is like how Wendy Williams calls her audience, her co-host. The collective comes in when you combine the DJs, the event organisers, the venue owners, the venue staff, the punters, the dancers, all of that, everyone together.

    You have a clear impact on the community and those around you. You are known to show up for protests, community events, fundraisers, and things you don’t publicly post either. Do you see yourself transforming TJC and combining these two sides of yourself in the future?

    The goal for Trans Joy Collective is to create events that run at like a profit so that people who come to enjoy these events know that they're putting their money towards a good cause. In my like corporate role that I do sort of in my day-to-Day, I had the opportunity in starting my transition and access gender affirming care leave through them. 

    That’s really what set it off for me. I was like, okay, this is a huge resource that's like barely seen in the Australian corporate industry. I wanted to get Trans Joy Collective to a point where events are running at a profit, there's merch being sold, there's like a pool of money coming in that can grow and be used to service the community and give out like grants and loans and things to assist those who are seeking access to gender affirming care.

    I'm lucky to be a salaried worker and so I'm able to access an amazing endocrinologist and you know, more expensive medication for my transition. That is a huge privilege that is not afforded to everyone, and why shouldn't it be? You know, until it's covered by Medicare, which it absolutely is not, as a community we must come together to support people who can't necessarily support themselves. Not everyone can all the time. That’s the importance of community and these kinds of events, to me it’s about providing a space and an avenue to fund these kinds of things for people who may be struggling financially.

    A guiding principle that was instilled in me by my parents, was to provide a platform, whatever platform I received through whatever privilege I might have- as a white person, as a salaried worker, as someone who's from a “good background”, is to use whatever platform I am provided access to, and service other people and to lift others up into the level that I've been provided access to.

    I think that accessing your ideal gender representation or look, money really should not be a barrier to that. But it is. So, all communities can and should work together to eliminate that. That’s the dream of TJC.

    Whilst you are best known for your work in Naarm, tell me a bit more about your time in Meanjin and how it shaped you/this into who you are today.

    I went to school for most of my life in Meanjin, moved to Naarm for study and for the corporate grind. Covid hits, I quit my terrible job and stopped studying. I thought, I'm going to maybe try studying again in Meanjin. That didn't work out.
    At the end of the day the plan was to go back to Brisbane and study there. Instead of that, what I found was this music scene and this like community there. I think this really helped me take these thoughts that I had for Trans Joy Collective, these first draft thoughts and really expand on them by just like seeing what people were
    doing there and sort of like modelling things off that time spent in Meanjin spaces.
    Mind you, this was post Covid, it was very different to how it is now. I saw a level of like community care and love that really, really left an impact on me.

    Places like Echo and Bounce know how to balance commercial and community success. Balancing that with having the right crowd and not having really ‘bro’ spaces. All bros are welcome to collective events and E&B, but only if they understand the rules that are required to keep everyone safe and the space they are occupying. Which Echo and Bounce is happy to remind those of.

    Echo and Bounce have created this system that was self-referential, keeping itself accountable, to the services of the community and keep people safe. Without giving too much of a shout-out, this is exactly what I want to take and learn from for the future. I don't think that without the six months that I was there for, I would have been able to take those principles and build Trans Joy Collective into what it is now and what it is yet to become.

    When playing, particularly for your own show, do you have a vision/genre/feeling you try to portray to the audience?

    I have a very dynamic music taste, so when it comes to the sets that I curate, it's more just like what I'm listening to in those couple of months around the event and putting that together. Having diversity in my set, but also my line up is what I strive for. One thing that remains is that the line-up needs to be diverse, and it needs to represent a wider group of people than just one type.

    What advice or message would you like to give 2025 Beni and others after running your second show?

    I don’t really have advice, but one question I would pose to future me and others- are you checking in with community. That should always be the primary question.

    Thanks to Beni for jumping on & providing more insight into TJC, community and themselves. Be sure to check out their mix from the night.

    Until next time.

    WORDS: Dominique Pukallus & Caelum Leonard

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