Board Member, Queer Officer, and Faculty of Arts Nominee:

My name is MJ Bentley, I’ve openly identified as queer for 16 years, and I had a go at non-binary for 2 years, though I no longer identify as such. I’ve been an active member of the LGBTIQA+ community in NYC, West Palm Beach, and Melbourne. I was a mentor to despondent youth in West Palm Beach for 4 years. Over the past 7 years I’ve lead teams and completed complex projects in the LGBTIQA+ community, BIPOC community, and general community. I’ve advocated or mediated for myself and others in a various tense situations involving the LGBTIQA+ community.

I’m also an exhibiting artist and have an ongoing series on drag queens that highlights local queens and defends their existence. As a professional photographer I’ve collaborated with many LGBTIQA+ creatives. 

My goal is to be my strong, authentic self so that others can feel safe, thrive, and be their authentic selves too. I take a pragmatic, well-informed approach to social issues. I try to see issues from multiples angles, facilitate communication, and hopefully reconciliation. I unwaveringly believe communication and understanding is the key to progress.

My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor’s of Film & Television (minor VFX/Animation) from Deakin University. My current postgraduate degree is a Master’s of Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne. I come from a multicultural blended family of journalists, lawyers, psychologists, business professionals, and artists.

In my spare time, I’m a member of MUUC (UniMelb Scuba Club), Chess Club, UniMelb Dancesport, and a band. I find balance essential and when I’m not in a serious context, I like to have fun, relax, laugh with friends, cook, do yoga, meditate, and take care of myself.

Looking forward to meeting you and possibly being your Queer Officer.