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Sharon McKay

I am a kindhearted womxn.

What do you find easy as a womxn? Though life is not a bed of roses for any human being, it seems to me that womxn have more independence than ever. I’m relishing the freedom myself as a single womxn, where I can be me, and do whatever I want, when I want to. I simply like being a womxn. What do you find difficult as a womxn? Motherhood for me was tough due to my hearing disability but still a rewarding experience. I felt that womxn weren’t allowed to express their feelings and emotions in my era. How do you maintain your mental health? Spending time outside in the garden. Visiting my children and grandchildren who I adore spoiling, a grandmother’s privilege. I find pleasure in shopping, browsing, and catching up with family, deaf and hearing friends. On top of that, travelling interstate and overseas, the thrill of flying and exploring places. I am happy embracing the flow of life. What brings you joy? I either drive or catch a train between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane about once or twice each week, to be with my daughter, son and grandchildren for the day at Southbank, at different playgrounds and other public places. I savour the various walkabouts, and love seeing the world through the eyes of a grandchild. Observing with delight the grandkids’ milestones. Fun ideas, activities and board games are played and shared. Coaching my grandson to learn Auslan (Australian sign language) is an entertaining challenge, and makes communication easier for my brother who is deaf too, as signing is his main expression. I also teach my grandson information and cues, eg. to face me and talk to me directly so I can lip-read him. Also spending time with other friends and relatives; I appreciate feeling included in their conversations.

How do you nurture your relationship with nature? I believe the pleasures of gardening are beneficial. I take pride and joy in my eclectic garden. Roses with heady perfumed scents are naturally my favourite. I love watering the plants and visiting the nurseries. And going for walks around the neighbourhood or being dragged by my daughter's dog! I try for a more peaceful contemplation while walking on the beach. Where do you feel a sense of belonging/community?
 Regular hook-ups by either FaceTime or texting my brother (my only sibling) who lives interstate. Frequently interacting with loyal deaf friends since early childhood. And with hearing friends too, including past workmates every now and again, with lively gatherings at dining places. Where do you live/work? I live and work at the sunny Sunshine Coast, Kabi Kabi (Gabi Gabi) and Jinibara land. What motivates you in your daily life? When I’m not working, my everyday life varies. I could be on my way down to Brisbane for the day to be with family members, or I could be at home relaxing, watching movies, renovation shows, or in the garden which I dote on. What’s important to you?
 My health, as I try to prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses, which affected both my parents who had poor health towards the end of their lives. My father suffered from Parkinson’s and dementia. Also my kids to remain in connection with each other, continue to be wonderful individuals, and to succeed in life. What’s the best piece of advice from a woman you have received? My mother said, “If your friends don’t accept you for who you are, then they are not your friends.”

 Who was / is an influential woman in your life and why? My Mum would spend hours and hours teaching me when I was little, to speak and to communicate among the generally hearing people. I’m very grateful for her time and patience with me to be able to cope in a hearing world.

About Sharon

I am the mother of two adults with two gorgeous, young grandkids, I am still working, while able, in the Printing Industry where I’ve been a part-time employee for the last twenty-two years. Not long after my first job in the typing pool at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, I was so proud of myself, not to mention jubilant, when I won the coveted position of Highway Planning Drafting Aide against a large number of colleagues in an aptitude test. I stayed in this role for thirteen years, before the birth of my daughter.



WomxnConnect acknowledges and respects the astonishing emotional, intellectual and physical effort that womxn expend in rearing children. The solid advice from Sharon's mother are words we often hear, especially when we talk about feeling excluded. Exclusion is very real for anyone with a disability because of the pervasive ableism of our society. Sharon's lifelong friendships with her childhood deaf friends have been important to her sense of self and connectedness.

Ableism: The discrimination against and prejudice towards disabled people

Audism: The stigmatising attitude which judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of how well they hear and speak

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