Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So much for tolerance

Jay Claydon of the Sydney Convicts [Pic The Age/SMH]

Ppl keep on saying that being gay is tolerated now, and things are improving, yadda yadda.  And so they are.   Somewhat.  But even in tolerant civilised New Zealand  ...

It started with whispers in the change rooms and ended with a call from his coach.

At 18, Jay Claydon had told close friends and family he was gay. They accepted him. But inside his rugby club, he didn't feel safe coming out. He was right to be fearful.

"At training one night, people were looking at me funny. Somehow they'd found out.

"On the Friday night, I got a call from my coach saying the players had taken a vote at a meeting behind my back and they weren't comfortable having me in the team any more. He said, 'they don't want you to come back.' "

[Read more here]

 How cruel.  How vile.  How horrible.  How it reminds me of my youth.  


Monday, July 14, 2014

Ian Thorpe is gay

Australia's greatest swimmer, Ian Thorpe has come out as gay.  He's long denied it, and now says he's ashamed he did.  It's a  very hard decision to tell the world you  belong to a despised minority.  I'm sorry he took so long, and I'm glad he has finally been brave enough to tell the world.  Every person who does helps to  break down some more prejudice; helps some kid somewhere feel better about himself; helps show up the ChrisTaliban as loons.

The cartoon is from Peter Broelman, one of Australia's most underrated cartoonists.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Night and day

People often say, well, it's obvious--gay and straight are as different as night and day!  You're either one or the other!  Choose!

Yep, night is different from day.  But note--where it is something we know well, like 'night' and 'day'--how we are well aware of the subtle differences within 'night' and 'day'.  A summer's day, when it is 40 degrees outside and the sunlight is white hot.  A late afternoon, when the air is still warm and the sunlight slants through the trees and the air is golden.  A sunny winter's day, where the light is crisp and silver and so is the air.  An early morning, dewy grass, a pink tinge to the eastern sky.  Those are all 'days'.  A night sky of indigo silk, the stars  brilliant sparkles scattered across it.   A harvest moon, yellow and prehistoric, rising over the eastern horizon.  A sky of black velvet, rich and lush, with a silver scimitar of a moon at the west.  The wee hours, when all is silent and the moon's shadows lie sharp and clear in the garden.  These are all 'nights'.

The words 'night' and 'day' are convenient portmanteau terms for real things.  But we also all know that it's more complicated than that.  We try and create words to convey these realities because we know that the words we have aren't enough.  Just as Eskimos are supposed to have 17 (or is it 12?) different words for snow.

'Gay' and 'straight' are nice convenient clichés/labels for the unthinking, the-not-very-perceptive.  But the truth is that  it's more complicated than that.  Even if you add 'bisexual' to the mix, what does that mean.  Some men like serial sex with male strangers even if they're married, happily married.  Others have just one male partner with or without their wives' knowledge and acquiescence.  Some (like me) remain faithful to their wives yet feel the emotional attraction of men.  Some call themselves straight but love a single man. A very queeny man I know is with a guy but says that his next partner, if there is one, will be a woman.  I feel closer to women, he says.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the vast diversity of human sexuality.  Once I too thought it was nice and simple and just a matter of correctly labelling and all would be clear.  Now I am more humble, more aware of just how complex and rich all our sexualities are, of how many different ways there are of seeing and experiencing 'night and day'.