Hannah Gadsby: The iconic story about being an autistic lesbian
We’re officially in March, which means we’re celebrating Women’s History Month, where we celebrate & honor all of the trailblazing women in our own lives and the impact they’ve had not only on us as individuals, but as a society. So, in that spirit, we wanted to celebrate the iconic story of Hannah Gadsby, an Australian comedian & writer whose story is as inspiring as any story you’ve likely read.
Hannah Gadsby first broke out in the public eye after her win on the national final of the Raw Comedy competition in 2006, a competition in which stand-up comedians compete against one another. Since then, Hannah Gadsby has toured internationally, has appeared on multiple television & radio programs, and has been the recipient of a long list of comedic awards.
As if Hannah Gadsby’s isn’t already inspirational enough, what’s perhaps most unique about this comedian is that not only does she identify as a lesbian, but she’s also autistic, having been diagnosed with ADHD & autism in 2017. Gadsby’s living proof of the finish lines people can cross when they believe in themselves – sharing their story in the process – which also enables belief in others. Here’s the full story of Hannah Gadsby.
Hannah kicks rocks
Hannah Gadsby, the youngest of five children, was born on January 12th, 1978, in Smithton, a small town on the north-west coast of Tasmania. Hannah Gadsby would eventually attend Smithton High School from 1990-1995, moving on to Launceston College by year twelve, where she sadly suffered a major nervous breakdown.
Hannah then started tertiary studies at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, eventually moving to the mainland so that she could attend the Australian National University. Finally, in 2003, Hannah Gadsby earned a degree in both Art History & Curatorship.
After her academics, Hannah went on to find many odd jobs for the next few years, including working in bookshops, and becoming a projectionist at an outdoor Darwin cinema. She even became a vegetable picker until she, regrettably, wound up homeless, becoming so ill in the process that she required hospitalization.
Joy behind the mic
During a visit to see her sister in Adelaide in 2006, Hannah Gadsby entered the Raw Comedy competition in 2006, going on to win the national prize and being placed in the So You Think You’re Funny? competition at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and winning second place. Soon after, Hannah Gadsby became a stand-up regular in the Australian comedy scene, making appearances at a slew of comedy festivals.
However, after her 2017 diagnosis which revealed that she suffered from both ADHD & autism, Hannah Gadsby created the stand-up show she named Nanette, which she notes was a response to the common Australian debate of same-sex marriage. In 2018, Netflix acquired the rights to the film version, which currently holds a 100% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s so worth the watch.
Today, Gadsby has become a household name in comedy, making appearances on popular worldwide media that includes both Jimmy Fallon & Conan O’Brien. She has stacked up a wide variety of acting & writing credits after the success of Nanette, including programs such as Adam Hills Tonight, Please Like Me, Underbelly, & The Librarians.
Gadsby, who includes her own personal issues in her stand-up routine as many comics do, is an active supporter of numerous charities. She has left her thumbprint on organizations such as Melbourne’s Big Brothers Big Sisters, Victoria’s Edmund Rice Camps, and the Sacred Heart Mission.
What do you make of Hannah Gadsby and her amazing story? Have you checked out Nanette on Netflix? Are there some amazing women in your own life that you want to give a shout-out to? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.