2 March 2017

Coming out straight

I'm not really sure how old I was when I realised that I was into boys but judging by my obsession with Mel Gibson and the fact that Patrick Swayze wrinkling his nose in 'Dirty Dancing' gave me butterflies in my tummy,  I think we can safely assume that by 1987 I was firmly in the "I like bad boys" phase of my development.
He was hot in Dirty Dancing but
absolutely divine in Point Break!

Despite my parents being hauled into school during Year 6 to explain why I talked about Jack ejaculating* in my English assignment, I was a pretty naive kid.  I don't think I even knew that I had options about my sexuality until I was about 15.

So coming out straight was pretty easy for me. And my family was very accepting of my sexuality. Not always so enthusiastic about my choice of boyfriends but they didn't have a problem with me dating males.

If I'm honest, when I was much much younger, I didn't even know that I had gay friends. The male friends of mine who were decidedly camp just assumed I knew, and I just assumed they were taking the piss when they said they were 'drama queens' just like me.  Since I had no female friends who shaved their heads, wore black leather and rode motorcycles - I clearly knew no lesbians. It made being straight so much easier being surrounded by people who were just like me.

By the time I had a shaved head, wore leathers and rode a motorcycle, I knew that what a 'sexual stereotype' was so was didn't give a flying f#*k when people thought I was gay nor offended by being hit on by lesbians who snuck around just wearing jeans and tops like everybody else and obviously had been brought up surrounded by the same sexual stereotypes as me.  I knew by then that I had quite a number of male gay friends and it just never seemed a problem for them that I wasn't. In fact, I have to say they were very accepting of my sexuality. So much we never talked about it.

It took me a while for me to realise that I had a number of gay female friends as well, as they were never interested in shagging me even though I was a girl. Which is how you know people of the same gender are gay - they just want to shag you all the time.  These girlfriends never called me on being overtly straight around them either, or accused me of it being a stage or tell me I'd be just fine once I met the right girl. It was very nice to be accepted for who I was.

My gay friends even like hanging out with me because I'm SO FUN. Though they don't like being called a 'straight mate' as they are friends with me because I'm awesome not because I'm straight. Plus labels are so last century.

For those new to me, I'm being a sarky cow. I've never had to come out as straight. My sexuality is of no interest to anybody. Nor should it be.

I have never chosen a friend based on their sexuality nor rejected them on that basis.

None of my friends have chosen me because I'm straight.

If I need to declare myself politically - I'm an ally.

I personally find the word 'ally' odd because of it's military associations. But I acknowledge it is absolutely the right word as the LGBTIQA community are still battling to have access to the same human rights as most of us.

However, we shouldn't need a word to describe treating our fellow humans as fellow humans. I shouldn't need a word with military associations to describe my friendships. I shouldn't need to be agitating for equality for some of my friends. I shouldn't have some friends who won't hold hands in public or snog inappropriately in public places because they are afraid for their safety. I shouldn't be having to stop people using homosexual slurs as punctuation. I shouldn't need to add my voice to the cacophony of voices around the world that are getting so tired of articulating why they are worthy humans just because they love somebody of the same gender.

But I do. I absolutely need to say vocal and active. And not because I'm a good person.

You see inequality doesn't just affect those against whom we discriminate. Bigotry is insidious. Inequality is insidious. Hate corrodes. That's not the kind of world I want to live in.

So being pro-equality is not altruistic. It's not bleeding heart leftie activism. It makes the world better for me too. Being pro-equality is actually pretty self serving if you think about it.

I get that Australia (and the world) has come a long way since the heartbreaking march of the 78ers. I love that the march has transformed into Mardi Gras, a joyful celebration of all things queer. But I am very aware that the public acceptance of Mardi Gras as a fixture on the social calendar in Sydney every year is a very different thing to having your human rights recognised by the country you were born in.

So while I will enjoy celebrating all things queer, via a parade that combines pageantry, people and politics and the associated parties, I remain firmly committed to adding my voice and actions to an Australia that proactively recognises the human rights of all my friends irrespective of their sexual preferences.

I remain committed to a world where my daughters' and all their friends just love whoever they love without needing to label it.

I remain committed to speaking up and speaking out out until all Australians' have the same human rights as me.

Near enough is not good enough.

Human rights are for all humans.

Love is love.

This isn't a sponsored post but if you're a selfish arse like me and are looking at ways of sorting the world out so we can get on with important things like watching Reality TV and bagging Trump - this link gives you all sorts of options - including sending faxes like they did in the olden days. I know right - so retro!  

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* To ejaculate means to utter something quickly and suddenly. ["Watch out!" Jack ejaculated] - is a perfectly acceptable use of the verb in a story. It wasn't me with the dirty mind.  

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