Interview with Festival Ambassador Sandra Pankhurst for The Big Anxiety by The Big Anxiety published on 2019-11-27T10:50:40Z Sandra is the ageing ambassador for the Big Anxiety Festival, an exemplar of transforming one’s earlier life experiences into a productive and purposeful life extending her lived experience as compassion and encouraging others to be their best selves in the face of tragedy and trauma. Sandra Pankhurst is truly label-defying. A transgender woman, Sandra has lived many lives, rising above adversity. Sandra (then “Peter”) was adopted into an abusive family, relegated to a backyard bungalow, malnourished, excluded from family-life and escaped home in his teens. Marrying young, he soon realised it was not possible to continue his life as a husband and father – so he left that life to become Sandra — drag queen, sex worker and a gender reassignment patient in the early 80s. Sandra got on with her life. With an enviable work ethic, she went on to become Australia’s first female funeral director and later the CEO of her own business trauma cleaning. An active advocate for aged care rights, disability, mental health and ethics, Sandra has recently been an Ambassador for ‘Becoming Colleen’, a documentary about a woman who transitioned at 82. Sandra wants to make a positive impact on the welfare of people of all lifestyles in the aged care and mental health sector.