Category Archives: Sexuality

Not just “those people”

When people speak negatively of gay couples, they almost exclusively paint a picture of nameless, faceless people who have nothing to describe them except their genitals. Sorry to be crude, but there it is. They don’t see a person, they see a set of genitals. They don’t realise that these are real people with real lives who have something to offer. They just see “male genitals + male genitals” or “female genitals + female genitals”. Therein lies the root of much of the bias and prejudice.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Mum in a shop. I’d just seen that Julia Gillard had been outed and Rudd was back in, and I was excited, and expressed my excitement. The shopkeeper saw fit to comment, and a discussion about politics ensued. That was all fine and well until I mentioned that I don’t like Rowan Ramsey (local politician) because he has ignored the wishes of the people he is supposed to represent, and stated that he will vote no on marriage equality, regardless of what the voters want.

The shopkeeper (who doesn’t know I’m gay; I don’t advertise the fact) saw fit to announce that he has no problem with “those people” as long as they didn’t hit on him (I hate the assumption that gay = predator!), and that they shouldn’t be allowed to have or raise children.

I asked why. He said,
“Because it’s wrong, that’s why.”

I asked how he felt about single mothers, and he said he has no problem with that, because they’re straight. I asked how he knew that they’d be a better mother than a gay woman, and he said ‘they just are’.

I can usually respect other people’s views, but this kind of view is the reason people like me can’t marry, and the reason there’s so much stigma about us raising children. I was raised by a straight couple; my biological father raped me multiple times when I was a child. But hey, he’s straight, so he’s a better parent than a gay guy *rolls eyes*

I ended up walking out of his shop.

See, the thing is that I am not “those people”; most gay people aren’t. I am a woman who is attracted to other women, but I have a name and a face and hopes and dreams and a past and a future. I am somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. I have been a mentor to several young folk who refer to me as “Aunty” or “Mum”, folk whose own parents (oddly enough, they were straight) let them down in varying degrees. I am not just a set of genitals.

Gay people are people, just like you. Who we are attracted to does not define who we are.

Rant over.

When love comes to town

I see that I haven’t posted for a while, so many of you are probably unaware that I have a girlfriend now. Yep, I can see the anti-gay mob scuttling off to their dark corners already, so I’ll post this under the assumption that anyone still reading at very least tolerates the idea of same-sex relationships.

I met Ned (screen name, not real name) a little while back, and it’s been long-distance because we live in different towns. I’ve driven up to see her a couple of times, and this weekend was her first visit to my place. Or my town, for that matter.

I wasn’t sure how I’d go. I’m a loner by nature, and my place is my place, my sanctuary. I can handle my brother living here, but I don’t tolerate visitors well. I figured it’d be a pretty good test of my commitment to Ned to have her stay. So I duly cleaned and tidied, and set up a spare mattress, and then waited for 3:41pm to arrive.

At 2:38pm Ned sent a message that she’d misread her ticket and her bus was due at TWO 41, not THREE 41, so I grabbed my keys and legged it. And thus the weekend began…

… and I discovered my missing half.

I dropped her back at the bus station yesterday because our time was up, and I felt a pain in my chest. “My chest hurts,” thinks I. “I wonder if it’s an arrythmia? Maybe it’s indigestion?”

And then I realised that there was nothing wrong, and everything right. The pain was my heart experiencing loss at the idea of being away from Ned.

I have NEVER felt that way over a guy. I have tried to feel that way, and I’ve faked it pretty well a few times on the outside, but I have never before felt that tearing of essence because someone was going home.

And people want to hate me for that, just because she happens to be female too?

Gay Pride?

All of what I’m about to write is purely from my own perspective; I can’t speak on anyone else’s behalf, and I wouldn’t try to. No matter what ‘group’ we’re in (and we’re all part of any number of groups, there is no one group that completely defines up), we’re all individuals within that group. The group in question for this entry is the ‘gay’ group, but that is by no means an exhaustive description.

There’s this belief in the existence of ‘gay pride’. Parades are held in the name of gay pride. People wave rainbow-coloured flags to show their pride. I always just accepted that that meant “proud to be gay”.

In light of recent events, though, I have to wonder about that. I was sitting here tonight, beading a dongle for my bag, and I picked up a rainbow-coloured bead to head the row of beads and show my ‘gay pride’. That got me to wondering … what exactly am I proud of?

Am I proud of the fact that I’m attracted to women? No, I really don’t think so. I really don’t see a need to advertise my same-gender attraction, and attraction to a particular gender is not brag-worthy, it just is. Some people are attracted to the same sex, some to the opposite sex, and some to neither sex (it’s true; there are some people that are just not interested in pursuing a relationship of any kind, they’re happy to be single and they have no sex drive to speak of. And that is fine, that’s who they are).

So what am I proud of?

Well, my ‘gay pride’ lies in the courage it took to stand up and be myself in the face of much opposition. Being gay is not a popular thing, there is a whole world full of people who will pursue, condemn, hurt, and even kill people just for being gay. It takes guts to be yourself in the face of that. I take pride in the fact that I was able to come out to my parents in the end. I take pride in the fact that they have accepted me as I am, and have placed no conditions on that acceptance.

For me, at least, gay pride means being proud of the courage to stand up and stop living a lie. Gay pride is about being honest with yourself, and honest with others. And demonstrations of gay pride, even a simple bead dongle, show other people that they can be true to themselves as well. It extends beyond being gay; showing pride for the courage to be openly gay means that others can find courage to come out about the secrets they’ve been hiding. Maybe it gives them courage to stand up to their peers who pressure them to take drugs they don’t want. Maybe it gives them courage to say no, I won’t drive like an idiot, I want to be safe. Maybe it gives them courage to say yes, I will wait until I’m married before I have sex.

Gay pride is about so much more than who we’re attracted to. Gay pride is about personal integrity. At least, that’s what it means to me.

So I’ll go back to making that dongle now, and I shall wear it with pride!

Defining Moments

There are some moments in our lives that define us. For better or worse, that moment is permanently etched on our life, and there is no going back.

I had one of these on Thursday.

First, a little background; when I was 17, I came to realise I was more interested in women than in men. It wasn’t really talked about back then, although the climate was beginning to change and the taboo was beginning to lift. My mate Chris had come out not long before, and when I told him, he said he could introduce me to some women I might be interested in.

But I got scared and backed away from my feelings.

This set the pattern for the next 14 years; every time I would begin to come to terms with who I was, something would happen to scare me off admitting it, often even to myself. When I joined the church at 19, it was made perfectly clear that ‘gay is not okay’. So when I caught myself admiring a woman, I’d force myself to “admire” a man instead. As such, I had a series of shallow and empty relationships with men, never achieving the fulfilment that should come from unity with another person.

I spent the past two years single and soul-searching, and when I was absolutely sure that it was women I was interested in, I began to send out feelers. I would ask questions of openly gay friends, asking how they came to terms with it, how they told their families, what kind of response they got, etc. A few of these friends apparently cottoned on, but I never really came out and said it.

About six months back, I decided to take a leap of faith, and told a very small circle of my closest friends that I was gay. They were cool, took it in their stride. After a week or two, when I saw that it hadn’t affected our friendship at all, I told a wider circle of friends, including some I knew were anti-gay. Those that responded were cool with it. Those that didn’t respond have remained friends anyway. That’s fine, it wasn’t rejection.

So I decided to tell my family. That was the hard part.

I had decided to tell Mum first, since I view her as the head of the family. The only trouble was, every time I got up the nerve to tell her, she would talk about TV or some person she’d met at random or something, anything else besides what I wanted to say. I doubt she was doing it on purpose, but it hurt all the same, and we’d end up fighting.

After one such fight, I got home and was sobbing and went up to my brother and blurted it out, saying “I’ve been trying to tell Mum but she keeps changing the subject and I know you won’t change the subject and I need to get it out and I’m gay!”

He simply said,
“since when?”

That was about three months back, and he’s been cool since then. My friends have been cool since then. It’s like nothing has changed. So I regained my courage to tell Mum (which had wavered, along with my resolve). I again tried to tell her, with about the same success as before.

So back to this defining moment.

Mum and I were out for a drive on Thursday. I was behind the wheel, Mum was my supervising driver (I’m on my learner license), and she got talking about Ellen DeGeneres. I used the opportunity to sniff out her feelings about gay folk, and then I said “do you remember the conversation we had in that cafe in Adelaide, about two or three years back?” This was the closest I’d come, and the conversation in question referred to the hypothetical situation of me bringing a woman home. She said she didn’t remember the conversation, and I lost my nerve. I changed the subject.

When we got to the part of the road where we swap drivers, I got out, took my L plates off, and walked around to her side of the car.

“That conversation was about the hypothetical situation of me bringing a woman home. Well,” and I blurted it out before I could lose my nerve again … “the next time I’m in a relationship, it’ll be with a woman.” I held my breath. Her face went blank for a moment, and then she spoke. I can’t remember the precise words, I was too nervous about what her reaction would be, but she accepted me.

I told Dad the next day, over coffee, with Mum’s support. I couldn’t quite get the words out, so Mum told him for me. I burst into tears, and he came over and hugged me and said it’s okay, it’s fine. And they’ve both been cool since.

But yeah, that was one of those defining moments. I’m no longer “Kitty, who is secretly gay but terrified to admit it”. I’m now “Kitty, who is openly gay, no big deal.”

So much can change in a moment.

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