I’m starting to lose it with Australia
They say that I have only two choices here in my homeland: I must either love this place or leave it.
I did try, like many of my brothers and sisters before me, when I took myself to the other side of the world, believing that distance would disguise my self disgust.
But there, in the fold of loneliness, the gay man still showed himself in the mirror when I stopped to look, and so I brought him home.
Oh, the endless fuss that still rumbles from my coming-out homecoming. The silences and the judgements that are held against me behind the smiles.
They wanted me to lie, now they want to punish me for being a liar, but I will not wear it.
No-one asks if you’re gay when you take out a home loan with your same-sex partner.
No-one asks if you feel equal when they tax you at the same rate as those who are free to express their love through marriage.
No-one asks if you’re gay when the bushfires lick every stick in the valley below the rows of precious lives, they only demand, quite rightly, that you help.
And we help. Yet that is never quite enough.
I see the dykes like patient, weathered stones, waiting for this people to realise their help is solid, unflinching and safe.
I see the poofs in caring generations that do not waver, they only want to play when it’s time to play.
I’ve watched us earn our equality. Our stripes are bright and they have nothing left to prove.
But the people elected a man who told them to be very, very afraid of difference.
He has a dyke sister who, we hope, is starting to get very, very angry, the way dykes sometimes can, and while their edge begins to scare you, you know you’re in very good hands, if you’re on their side.
I hope she rips ten colours of rainbow out of him this Christmas, as another year closes on the country he leads, the same country, and the same man, that prevent her marrying her fiancée.
I hope he hides, for even just a moment, in retreat, and has a long hard look at himself in the ensuite bathroom mirror, before he wipes that leering smile back onto his face, and puts on another show for the only people he truly represents: his family.
No more platitudes. No more promises. No more big Aussie smiles to cover our shame.
I am not going to leave this place, until none of its children must leave it in fear.
Michael Burge is an Australian journalist and writer. He is Arts Editor and feature writer for No Fibs, and has written for Fairfax, News Limited, Intermedia and United News and Media in the UK. In 2006 he gave a live submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Same Sex : Same Entitlements hearing about his experiences after the sudden death of his partner Jonathan, the findings of which were instrumental in the Rudd Government’s removal of almost 100 pieces of legislation discriminating against same sex de-facto couples in Australia. Follow Michael at his blog burgewords or on twitter @burgewords
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