S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated every Sunday - more often than not.

Category: Gay Stuff (page 1 of 2)

Some thoughts on Orlando

I have struggled with life today.

I wasn’t going to write anything about the tragedy in Orlando. I didn’t feel I had anything to add to the many thousands of voices already speaking out. I still don’t think I do.

What I do have though, is an honesty I have discovered about myself, awakened due to those terrible events that occurred on the other side of the world. Something I wanted to share with those who may be feeling the same.

As humans, not necessarily a part of the LGBTQ community, you know in your heart how terrible the events in Orlando are.

As a member of the LGBTQ community, I feel it in my very soul.

Those were my people; my tribe. Although we never met, we share a bond invisible to those outside of the LGBTQ community. It is borne of the scars and stories of those of us who came before; those who suffered terribly at the hands of governments and police forces and others, over decades. Those for whom until relatively recently, it was a crime to be who they were.

I have older lesbian friends. Good friends who have told us stories from their younger years, about persecution, and hiding themselves. Of secret meetings and being paranoid that they would get caught and end up in jail, or lose their children, or on the end of a beating, or worse.

And I thought I knew. I thought I understood that struggle, and I was grateful to them for forging the path for me and those of my generation and making it easier for us to be loud and proud.

But I didn’t know. I didn’t understand the fear, and the frustration, or the strength and the tenacity and the passion they had. Not until today.

Add to that discovery the revelation that I currently live in the most conservative electorate in Queensland – the second most conservative electorate in Australia. I certainly feel it on a day like today.

The activist in me wanted to wear my pride colours down the main street of this town, out and proud and unafraid, to show solidarity for those we lost today. But the truth of it is, most of the people here won’t even know about the events in Orlando until they see it on the news tonight. They may have heard it in passing on ABC radio, but they wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

And just thinking about that made me realise that the most painful thing about being a minority, and living where I do, is the isolation. So isolated, in fact, that even our attempts to join the local LGBT group (extremely hard to find and get hold of) came to nothing – even they are closed to outsiders.

That realisation hit me like a tonne of bricks.

I cried this morning when I read about the scale of the tragedy in Orlando. I cried for those lost and those who survived. I cried for the families of them all, and I cried for our community, once again the target of vicious, unfathomable hatred.

But when I realised how isolated I felt today, sorting through my feelings about this tragedy, I cried for myself. I cried because while I don’t feel unsafe, I don’t feel safe. I cried because being a minority out here means I can’t take ownership of what I write for a living and be proud of it when I so desperately want to. I cried because I hate the feeling of being watched when I hold my wife’s hand when we walk down the street, or when we sit in the only nice restaurant in town and celebrate our anniversary. I cried, because all of this makes me feel stifled and sometimes, alone.

There is nothing more that I want right now than to be somewhere, anywhere, there is a vigil or a gathering; a place to feel the strength of my community.

I want to stand in the main street of this small town and shout “Enough is enough!”

Enough with the rhetoric; enough with the shame; enough with the vilification that you call ‘holding an opinion’ or having ‘religious freedom’.

Enough with thinking you know better.

Enough with inciting fear of those who are different to you.

Enough with the condemnation of people you don’t even know and will never, ever meet.

Enough with allowing hatred and fear to win out over love and acceptance and tolerance.

Because no matter how long it takes,

#loveislove and #lovewillalwayswin


Introducing The Girls of Summer series

So, remember those sweet romances we read as teenagers in the 1980s an 1990s? The ones with lesbian main characters who fell for other girls and had fun adventures and happily-ever-after endings? No? Me neither.

I do, however, remember those sweet teen romances from Silhouette First Love, Dolly Fiction, Sweet Valley High… The list goes on. I remember hiding in the stacks in the library at high school reading those books, never checking them out lest they appear on my borrowing record. Though I loved sci-fi and fantasy (Day of the Triffids and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are still two of my all-time favourite books), when I hit 14 or 15, I started being very interested in the way relationships worked. Because I was a voracious reader, the way I discovered those things was mostly via fiction.

I’ll go into my personal story in a future post, but as I read those short romance books, I quickly learned that it wasn’t the female main characters I identified with the most. It was the male characters that the girls lusted after. I wanted to be those boys that the girls chased after, had fun adventures with and fell in love with by the end of the book.

I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I knew it meant I was different.

I’m not sure whether reading a book with a girl who fell in love with another girl and nothing bad happened and they got to be together in the end would have made me realise back then that I was lesbian, but who knows?

What I do know is that we’re in an exciting time in the publishing industry, when there are more and more books with diverse main characters making their way into the world. A good number of them, however, deal with the ‘bad’ side of being different – the bullying, homophopbia, unhappy endings, coming out etc. While those stories are needed and valid, we also need stories where sexuality isn’t the main plot point.

I think we need more happy endings, more sweet romances, more girls-who-love-girls and that’s okay stories.

And that’s why I’ve been working on a series of sweet teen romances that will feature lesbian main characters, whose problems are just like any other teen, and whose sexuality is not a major plot point.

I touched on the series in this post back in August last year, but since then, I’ve refined the series idea and decided on a direction for it.

The books in The Girls of Summer series, beginning with Crush, are intended to be short and fun reads. Lighthearted sweet teen romances where the girl might struggle to get the girl sometimes, but she’ll never be dealing with bullying or homophobia as the major plot point.

Though they will be linked by taking place in summer (my favourite season of the year), they will be stand-alones that can be read in any order.

And most importantly, the girl will get the girl in the end.


Wattpad Edition

Wattpad Edition

Crush is due for release on the 1st May 2015. You can get it for free before it’s released to the general public by signing up to the mailing list here. You can read the first five chapters and synopsis here.




Diversity in YA and what I’m doing to change it

In sport, particularly when playing finals, we have a saying:

“Leave nothing in the tank”

In other words, play your absolute best today. Leave nothing for tomorrow. Today, it counts. In writing terms, it would be “Do your best work now.” Don’t wait for tomorrow or next week or next year to work on projects that are close to your heart.

I think it’s entirely appropriate for the way I’m feeling about my writing at this point in time. Why? Because I’ve just completed my half-yearly review of my business plan and writing goals and, among other things, I’ve decided to ditch some projects I’ve been working on (for now), and bring forward some other projects I was going to get to “at some point in the future.”

I’ll write more about my business and writing plan update in another post, but today I wanted to explain why I’ve changed direction so dramatically.

A few months ago, I had a short story accepted for inclusion in an LGBT+ YA anthology from Harmony Ink Press that’s slated for release in September. (Again, more on this next month).

Since then, I’ve read posts and tweets and articles on various blogs around the place about the lack of diversity in YA fiction. Not just with regards to sexuality, but with regards to other cultures, disabilities and other “differences” people have to deal with that are under-represented in the YA fiction currently being published.

This one in particular really made me question my priorities.

It made me revisit the reasons I started writing in the first place, back when I was at uni and was writing as a way to clear my mind from marketing and accounting and law. The reason I started writing was because there was a serious lack of stories with characters I could relate to. And being before the internet, there was no real way of finding any books that may have existed.

Hell, I didn’t even realise I was gay at that point. I just knew I was different – I knew that what my friends said they felt about their boyfriends, I didn’t feel about mine. I also didn’t know anyone who was gay or lesbian, and those words (gay and lesbian) were words that were whispered by adults, out of earshot of children and teenagers.

Back to my short story for a moment – before I submitted it, I did a bit of googling to see what I could find out about the publisher. That was more a business decision at the time, because I wanted to make sure it lined up with my long-term goals as a writer.

What I discovered is that Harmony Ink’s philosophy lined up with my own initial reasons for writing – to write the stories I wish were around when I was a teenager.

It’s a pretty simple concept really, and in my haste to get stories out, I’d actually forgotten why I write in the first place.

So what do I wish I’d read way back then, when I was struggling to put a name to how I was feeling?

I wish I’d read stories where the girl got the girl in the end. I wanted stories that when I’d turned the last page and read the last word, made me feel good about myself. Stories that gave me a sense of hope that I could fall for someone who would fall for me too.

Here’s the thing though – I used to write those stories. I used to write about girls like me, whose friends didn’t think she was strange for liking other girls.

When I started to take my writing seriously though, I stopped writing those stories. Why? Because I knew, deep down, that if I wanted to get published, I wouldn’t get there by writing about girls who like other girls.

Books like that are getting published now, yes, but not  often enough. And they’re certainly not being publicised enough or given a chance to reach their audience. An audience which is obviously hungry for those books.

Publishing is changing though, and publishers like Harmony Ink Press, who specialise in LGBT+ YA fiction are leading the charge. But a big influence on my decision to go back to writing those YA stories is the advent of self-publishing, and the ability to reach readers more directly.

There are a lot of new ways for authors to write and publish more diverse books, and for readers to find them.

It’s an exciting time.

And from now on, I’m leaving nothing in the tank. I’m not letting these stories languish in the back of my mind to get to “some time in the future.”

Because the stories I want to write aren’t needed tomorrow, or next week or next year – they’re needed now, yesterday, today.

The girls I’ve been waiting so long to write about are shy, strong, tough, sensitive, flawed, and lesbian. And finally, after waiting all these years, they’re coming out to play.


Lesbian does not always equal sex

(Admit it. All you saw in the heading was “lesbian sex”).

Now that I’ve got your attention, I wanted to chat about a couple of things that have been annoying me no end the last few weeks. I’ve been doing some research on an idea I have for some steampunky type characters and plots, and having some real fun checking out some of the steampunk websites around the place. (Check these cool gadgets out)

The first one I seem to be encountering whenever I search for lesbian steampunk. There doesn’t appear to be too much around, which is great for me in a way, because I can tap into a fresh market. But I’ve stumbled across a few forums where other people have been asking for recommendations for some lesian steampunk, and the answers have almost always been to the tune of “I don’t have anything to recommend for lesbian steampunk, but here’s some cool erotica that you might like instead.”

Now, I’m not big on the erotica genre anyway, but why is it always assumed that if you’re looking for any type of fiction with lesbian characters (or gay for that matter), that you’re automatically after erotica?

Here’s a tip: I’m JUST after lesbian characters. I’m squeamish about badly written sex scenes, be they same-same or otherwise. Hell, I’m squeamish about sex scenes, badly written or not. I like to use my own imagination for those types of scenes, and much prefer the “fade out” effect. I’d rather not have a blow-by-blow of who puts what, where.

What I’m really looking for is this: steampunk stories, that don’t have sex as the end goal, with lesbian characters. Simple? Apparently not.

The second thing I’m frustrated with is the amount of gratuitous sex in a lot of the lesbian books I’m reading. (I have a whole other post whinging about other stuff I don’t like about lesbian fiction, but I’m sticking with the sex for this one).

I was reading a sample of one a couple of weeks ago (a sample, which is only the first 10%), and the lead character stops what she’s doing to jump in the sack with some hussy she just met, within the first five pages. THE FIRST FIVE PAGES!! Give me a break. That is not characterisation. That is gratuitous sex. Not even James Bond jumps into bed with the women plotting his downfall in the first five pages (or the first five minutes in the case of the movies).

I get it. We have this image to protect where BBLs (Big Butch Lesbians) can bed anyone they want without consequence, and that makes them super cool. Women, straight and gay, fall at their feet and worship the ground they walk on.

I don’t want to read about those characters.

Here’s what I want.

I want characters who go through shit that doesn’t happen just because they’re lesbian. I want characters whose major trait is something OTHER than the fact that they’re lesbian.

So the question is, how do I find those characters?

The answer: in my own head. My answer to my frustrations is to write what I want to read, since no-one else seems to be doing it.

What I have in common with Beccy Cole

(Apart from stunning good looks and singing ability).

2012 seems to be the “year of coming out” for some reason. I’m not exactly sure why that’s so, but I’m happy to run with it.

So far, we’ve seen the likes of Magda Szubanski, Queen Latifah,  and Anderson Cooper come out, and last night I watched as Beccy Cole came out on the ABCs Australian Story.

It was a wonderful program to watch – raw and honest and funny. I suspect much like Beccy herself.

One of the most common questions I see asked in comments threads about any news story that has anything to do with being gay or lesbian is why is there a need to come out at all. It’s often followed by a loaded statement, such as “I don’t feel the need to declare myself a male heterosexual”.

Well, of course you don’t. Everybody already just assumes you’re straight.

Coming out is not what I really wanted to talk about in this post though.

Most of us have a kind of “aha” moment – the moment of realisation that we can put a name to our feelings. Some of us, like me, have a series of “aha” moments, which build into the Big Moment of Acceptance.

One of those moments came as a result of the BBC show “Playing the Field”. It was while watching that show that Beccy says her “aha” moment came.

It was because of that show that I had one of my moments that lead to me accepting myself for who I am.

When that show was airing here in Australia, I was playing for a soccer team called The Blues – same as the show – and so my team mates and I would dissect each episode at training and before and after games. It was funny to watch a show about a team with the same name as us, and pretty cool too. We tried to match up characters with our team mates, with often hilarious results.

It was during one such discussion while watching a match with some parents of my younger team mates that I came close to outing myself. Close, but not quite.

One parent mentioned their frustration that the show was perpetuating a stereotype that dykes played soccer. I listened for awhile, and then said “I can guarantee you that every women’s team in our competition has at least one lesbian on the team.”

Stopped the conversation dead did that comment.

One of the mums then asked “Every team?” I just looked at her and smiled, and said “Every team.”

It’s funny looking back now, because I wonder if they actually worked out that I was talking about myself. When I think about my team at the time, process of elimination should have probably brought them back to me.

Nothing changed though with the way I was treated if they did put two-and-two together, and when I did eventually “come out” when I found myself a wonderful partner (who for some reason is still sticking by me), my team mates and their parents and partners were wonderfully accepting.

But helping me on my gay self-discovery wasn’t the only thing that show did for me. It actually gave me the inspiration I needed to start writing again. I have two half-finished YA manuscripts to prove it. Both sound ideas, but terribly flawed in their current condition. Both ideas that I will hopefully pursue in the future.

So to those who want to know why we feel the need to come out, I guess it comes down to power. 

The problem lies with those “others” who would choose to define us by our sexuality. We “come out” to claim it for ourselves, before someone else does it for us. We do it to show we’re proud of who we are, despite this “thing” that we’re told is a flaw in our make up.

Being anything other than straight can still be confronting for some people – and for those of us in that minority, we take a huge risk in coming out, so it’s not for the faint hearted. It takes courage and confidence.

We risk losing family, friends and jobs. And for someone like Beccy Cole, she risks losing fans, and she also risks a public (and sometimes private) backlash.

But to Beccy Cole, and anyone else coming out, wanting to come out, or wondering if they should, I have this advice:

We are who we are. Those who judge you on one aspect of your self are not worth having in your life.

And from my perspective as a writer, the people who stop reading this blog because they find out I’m gay are not the people I want as fans.

Being gay is not a huge thing in my life, unless others choose to judge me on it. But then, that’s their problem, not mine.

Oh, and just one last thing Beccy – I think you’ll discover a whole new group of fans after your “coming out”. We’re a pretty accepting bunch, and we love to celebrate and support our own.

What’s my value?

(Apologies for the length of this post. I really wanted to be brief but once I get started, I just can’t seem to stop.)

In Queensland, we currently have Civil Partnership Laws enabling couples (hetero and same-sex) to register their relationships. It’s a step down from marriage, and isn’t recognised in all states or federally, but it’s a start.

The new LNP government has decided to leave the registration part of the law as it stands, which is a sigh of relief for those of us (609 couples at last count) who registered.

The LNP have decided, however, that the bit that upsets the Christians (the Premier’s words) is the state-sanctioned ceremony, currently only able to be performed at specific courthouses around the state. They’ve decided to scrap those ceremonies, but still allow the filling out of forms and the paying of money for the priviledge of having our relationships recognised.

On the surface, nothing changes. We still could have ceremonies, and then fill out the paperwork later, or do the reverse – fill out the paperwork and have a celebratory ceremony after the fact.

We still get the extra legal protections, regardless of whether we have the ceremony or not.

All good, on the surface. Seems like a nice compromise.

I have two problems with the reasoning put forward for the change.

The first is the offence caused by this legislation to various churches and religions. I understand the thought of gay marriage, or indeed gay partnerships, are offensive to some people of faith. But not all religions or churches feel that way.

Using this reasoning sets a precedent for other faiths to lobby the government to demand changes to things that cause them offence. That’s their right of course, but should offence be a reason to change laws that in reality only affect those who would choose to use them?

The second is that the government has given a clear indication on where it stands on recognising same-sex couples, and indeed LGBTI people individually, whether it meant to or not.

They can say nice words about how much “we’re” respected, but it’s their actions that really count. And like it or not, the way they treat people, or seem to treat people, sets an example for the rest of us.

By not allowing a simple ceremony (when the whole point of Civil Partnerships is for state-based rather than church-based recognition) sends the message that our relationships aren’t valued by the people we have charged with governing over all of us.

In light of the changes, I sent emails to each of the LNP members (which, incidentally, bounced back, but I don’t want to scream “conspiracy” just yet), telling them my thoughts.

It took me a long time to put into words why I thought changing the laws would be a step backwards, but when I’d finished and read it over, one sentence stood out above all others. 

“The new law sent a clear message to those of us who struggle with our sexuality, as most of us do at some stage in our lives, that we are valued.”

I have railed against the arguments against gay marriage, from religious reasons to blatant disriminatory reasons, but it wasn’t until now that I was able to actually put how I feel into one word – VALUE.

It comes down to how much we value our fellow human beings.

For those of you who are against gay marriage, for whatever reason, or are non-committal, and don’t think it affects you in any way, and for those of you who have gay friends or family members and are still against gay marriage, I ask you to consider this:

Think about your sons and daughters, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends.

Are you happy to see them hurt? Would you be happy to hear them called “pedophile”, “not fit for parenting”, “mentally unstable”, and “diseased”?

Would you stand by while someone says they should all be shot?

How would you feel reading comments to articles on gay marriage and civil unions that say things like “the worst thing the government in Queensland did was make being gay legal. they should be put in jail for their perversions.” (A real comment believe it or not).

How would you feel to get a phone call or visit from a police officer, informing you that your loved one is in hospital, or worse, simply because someone else took offence to their sexuality? Or because your loved one committed suicide because they couldn’t deal with the stress of being gay or lesbian? Because they were bullied for being different. Because they were told they were inferior.

You may think I am being extreme. “These things don’t happen all the time,” you say. I’m sorry to tell you that they do.

Why? Because those who say and do those terrible things don’t value others. They feel they have a right to punish those of us who are a little different.

How will allowing gay marriage change that?

It shows that at the very highest level, we are valued. It takes away an excuse for marginalising and discriminating.

It shows us that we are valued as human beings, and as citizens of our great country. It makes a statement that we are no different from our heterosexual friends and family, and it acknowledges that we too, can fall in love and make the decision to make a formal commitment to the person we love.

A civil partnership is not marriage. It’s the furthest a State may go with regards to legal recognition of relationships, but it’s a start.

So I ask you:

How much do you value your friends and family?

How much do you value me?

Gagged by a Chupa Chup – Why I’m Re-branding my Blog

Want to keep me quiet? Get me some of these.

When I was coaching a women’s soccer team (eons ago), one of the players (who is still a good friend of mine) gave me a Chupa Chup before the game. I was touched, until she said “It’s to give you something to suck on so you shut up while we’re playing.”

It worked. Anyone who knows me well knows I can get very long-winded, especially when I get onto a topic I love.

I’m passionate about a lot of things, and I probably have an opinion on most things, which makes me a very interesting party guest. Especially if I’ve had a few beers. But I digress.

Personal Me is currently in discussions with Writer Me about this blogging deal. Truth is, I’m over it, and it’s not hard to figure out why. I’m trying to get down to the bottom of who I am in order to distil the “Essence of Me”, which is supposed to then allow me to decide what I want to blog about.

In order to build a platform for my writing (as opposed to me), I need to work out my niche (which I’ve found), and work out who my potential readers are (which I’m working on). I need to post things that would be of interest to them, and not get overly personal, because they want to connect with what I say, rather than me personally.

And they want to know I can write.

Makes perfect sense.

The problem? The stuff that I’m passionate about at this point in time doesn’t really over lap with my writing. Which means I feel like I’m splitting myself in two here. Since that’s pretty bloody uncomfortable, my two halves are trying to come to a compromise.

Personal Me wants to talk (ok, rant and rave) about gay marriage, politics, sport, beer, you know, all that fun and controversial stuff. A lot of the stuff might not be of interest to my potential readers, but it’s interesting to me. And I love writing about that stuff too.

Writer Me wants to talk about books and writing and other fun lesbian stuff. All the stuff that might appeal to my potential readers.

Both Me’s love the blogging platform. A big part of why I love writing is that I seem to be able to express myself better in the written word, which then makes me able to express it better to people when I talk about things.

I don’t want to come across as some sort of activist or raving looney to potential readers though, because my writing is different to that.

I’ve tried just posting comments on websites, news sites and other blogs, but the long-winded part of me wants to go on and on and on, until someone shoves a Chupa Chup into my mouth to shut me up.

I feel hamstrung by the restrictions I need to place on myself in order to build my writer platform, and it hurts. I’ve banned myself from the internet a couple of times until I can come up with a post related to my platform, rather than a rant about something totally unrelated to what I write.

I don’t want to hate this platform, because I need it to make Writer Me’s work viable. But I don’t want to restrict what I talk about because Personal Me takes great pride in being interested in all sorts of stuff.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to re-brand this blog. It’s where I’ll blog whenever I have something to say and there’ll be no restrictions on content. This is where you get the raw, unadulterated me. There may be times when there’ll be a crossover because I’ll want to talk about a book or movie that will also be of interest to Writer Me.

But mostly, this will be me, straight-up. Well, not straight, but you know what I mean.

Sometimes what I write will interest you, sometimes it won’t.

But here’s the key. What links everything together is my voice – the way I write stuff. I write like I talk – for the most part – so what you see here is basically what you’d hear if I were talking directly to you. My voice is the rope that keeps Personal Me and Writer Me tethered at the hips.

So, I get to write about whatever the hell I want, with the proviso that I write it in my voice and stop trying to cram myself into a writer box that doesn’t go with the colour of my eyes.

I get to kill two birds with one stone – I get to keep Personal Me and Writer Me happy, and hopefully they start to play nice again and let me get the hell on with my writing.

So, without further ado, welcome to the new, improved blog – “The Shit I Know”.

Why the change in title? I’ll tell you all about that in my next post……..

Photo courtesy of Vivian Bedoya

You can’t beat stupid…..

Here we go again. In an article in the News-Mail, Rob Messenger is spruiking the legislation he wants to introduce after the next election to repeal the Civil Partnerships Bill that was passed in November.

He states in the article that it will “give all elected representatives an opportunity to right a wrong”.

Whose wrong are we talking about, Rob? I don’t want to get personal, but clearly that’s the way it has to be, because you know, we’re talking about personal lives here. Lives of people you’ve never met, and haven’t had the balls to actually talk to about this issue.

You want to preserve the sanctity of marriage, you say? How about out-lawing no-fault divorce? Wouldn’t that serve to preserve the sanctity of marriage more than not allowing a small number of the population to access the same rights you have?

He also says “this reform is not about politics, it’s about equality”. Damn straight it is Rob. So explain, if you will, how repealing the Civil Partnership Bill will promote equality? The Bill allows for same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples to access it, so there’s no discrimination there. In fact, you could access it if you didnt, oh, I don’t know, want to do something silly like get married again, after getting divorced?

But enough about you, Rob, because what I really want to take to task is the comments that inevitably pop up on these types of articles. I truly thought I’d seen it all (and commented on it all as well), but no. Stupid has stooped to a new low.

This from kitwalker05:

“Homosexuals die at around the age of 40, with or without aids”,

and this

“homosexuals have more health issues and therefore put a higher burden on the health system”.

So very glad I was informed of this fact. I can now make sure I do everything on my bucket list over the next four years, since that’s about all I have left on this earth. I mean, come on. You’re shitting me, right? Where does this stuff even come from?

Also, by kitwalker05’s logic, I’ve clearly been a bigger burden on the health system over my 36 years than any of my similar-aged heterosexual friends and family. Lucky, then, that I don’t get the same tax concessions as those in heterosexual marriages to pay for my excess usage of the health system.

This from noelbowman:

“I do not give a stuff how anyone else chooses to live their PRIVATE LIFE but let it be PRIVATE” (his emphasis not mine), and then “this attempt to politically hijack the ceremony and its meaning is a bloody disgrace” however “I do not want to interfere with anyone else’s life so get out of mine!” (again, his emphasis not mine)

Ummm…. ? So it’s not ok that I be allowed to access rights and responsibilities that you have, because that would be impinging on your rights somehow, but you can stop me from accessing them, because, well YOU don’t think I should. You’re not interfering in my life at all, noelbowman, not one little bit.

I don’t give a toss about your marriage. I give a toss about mine. Your relationship with your wife has nothing to do with my relationship with mine. 

You can’t ask that I don’t impinge on your rights without impinging on mine in the process. So how about this – I get the right to marry my partner, and you get to keep your right to stay married to your wife? Because that’s how it would work, noelbowman. If I get to walk down the aisle with my partner and say I do and live happily ever after, it doesn’t mean that you can’t. You don’t lose any of your rights by giving the same ones to me.

If the thought of two women, or two men, marrying each other makes you feel sick or icky then I have two things to say to you:

1. You’re definitely not gay, and
2. You think way too much about those of us on the other side of the fence.

Rubyred is concerned about the children:

“Can you even imagine what it must be like as a child to not have a mother and a father but to live with two men or two women? What will happen to him or her at school?”

I applaud your concern, Rubyred, but I ask you, do you know what that situation’s like? How about I give you an example of a young man who was brought up by two women?  Bullying, unfortunately, is a fact of life, particularly in childhood, and particularly at school. Kids don’t understand that “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad”. It’s up to us, as adults, to tell them and show them the difference.

Look, I could go on about a lot of other things here, but I’ve already dealt with them in other posts.

How about lets deal in some facts now?

Civil partnerships are open to any (eligible) couple who either can’t or don’t want to get married, so it’s not a “gay” thing.

Civil partnerships give us a way to register our relationship from the start, rather than have to prove it existed after the fact.

Existing rights are not going to change. If you are currently married, you will not be required to register a civil partnership because the legislation clearly states that the Federal Marriage Act trumps the Qld Civil Partnerships Act. There are no further rights being conferred onto gay couples that heterosexual couples don’t already have.

Gays and lesbians are already parents – have been for a long time. That’s not going to change. There’s not going to be an explosion of gays and lesbians becoming parents because we’d be able to get married, or enter into a civil partnership.

Gay parents do not have gay babies. Heterosexual parents have gay babies. How do I know? My parents are heterosexual and have been happily married for 36 years, and they had me. They also had two heterosexual daughters and a heterosexual son.

Finally, being gay is a trait we are born with. It’s not a trait that dictates my life, and it’s not something that should be a big deal. It’s made into a big deal by people who choose to differentiate me from them because of it.

I’m proud of who I am – not as a lesbian, but as a person. It’s disheartening to think that no matter how much I contribute to my family, community and society in general, all that good can be overlooked by people who can’t see past the only thing that makes me different.

It’s disappointing that no matter how good my relationship is with my partner, or how much I love her, it’s not good enough to be recognised by my state or my country.

Would you like to hear any of your own comments said about your son or your daughter, your brother, sister or granchildren? Would you be happy for them to be excluded from accessing the same rights you have, simply because they’re different from you?  

Next time you make comments such as the ones above, think about who you could be talking about and how it may affect them.

My life but still your choice

On Wednesday night, Wifey and I watched as our state politicians debated the Civil Partnerships Bill, and eventually, passed it. There was a lot of swearing, tantrums and face-palming – and that was just in our lounge-room.

The new laws won’t come into affect until at least the new year, and maybe not for another six months at least.

The biggest affect it will have on Wifey and I is that when we register our civil partnership, we will be automatically granted next of kin status in our home state. But I don’t want to talk about the benefits of the Bill’s passing in this post. I want to address the lies, myths and prejudices still doing the rounds, and I want to take them to task.

I’m angry. I’m angry and upset, and feel sick. Why? Because of the bile and rhetoric spewed forth in the name of debate.

Firstly, because of my sexual orientation, you:

– question my parenting abilities
– question my ability to do my job
– question the stability of my relationship
– tell me the love I have for my wife can never be the same as a heterosexual couple
– tell me I’m mentally ill, sick, depraved, a pedophile
– compare my relationship with that of a human and an animal
– tell me there are bigger issues to worry about
– want a referendum to decide what level of legal protections I should have with my wife on my behalf
– want to decide on my behalf what choices I should have for my relationship

and you expect me to not take that personally?

Yet when I call you a bigot, homophobe, ignorant, naive, and afraid of change, that’s not OK?

If someone completely unknown to you were to walk up to you and tell you that your relationship with your partner or wife or husband was irrelevant, or not important enough for you to have any say over their well-being if anything were to happen to them, what would you say?

If you’d been with your wife, husband or partner for thirty years, and they ended up in hospital, only for you to be told their legal next of kin (ie their blood-related siblings, parents or children) would not allow you to see them or make any decisions on their behalf, how would you feel?

That is essentially what you are telling me. That no matter how much I love my wife, or how we live our lives together, that in one terrible moment, our life together could become irrelevant, simply because my relationship is not recognised by law.

The only thing I want for my relationship is the same legal standing as my married family and friends. No more, no less.

Why is that too much to ask for? Why is that so hard to understand?

And don’t come at me with all that crap about being discriminated against because of your faith and beliefs if I get to be married. You don’t know the half about being discriminated against.

Ever been out to dinner with your significant other and been stared at because you’re holding hands across the table?

Ever had to pretend your wife or husband was just your friend so as not to offend someone else?

Ever lose family or friends over your choice of partner or even because you told them of your sexual preference?

Ever had to listen to people talk about others in hateful, hurtful ways and not say anything for fear of recrimination?

Ever been scared for your life simply because of who you are?

I understand that if you believe in God, you are offended by my life. Offence is not discrimination.

My being able to legally marry my wife in no way impinges on your marriage. It doesn’t devalue it. You won’t have any less rights than you already have if I get to access them too.

I am a good person. My wife is a good person. Together, we make a better whole than we would individuals. We want to protect that, just like you do.

I don’t ask that you agree with me. All I ask is that you judge me on my character. All I ask is that you allow me the same choice as you have to marry the one person of your choosing.

Is that too much to ask?

Sunday Sesh #20 – My Lesbian Story brought to you by Cascade Blonde

This Sunday Sesh is brought to you by Cascade Blonde. I’ve had it in the cupboard for awhile from when I bought a Cascade sample pack before Christmas, and since I didn’t want to review all of the Cascades at once, I left this one til now. Plus, a friend of mine said I should give it a go, so this review’s for you, Alicia.

Cascade Blonde

Firstly, apologies for no Sunday Sesh last weekend. My real job, house stuff, business stuff and a prior engagement all conspired to whittle away most of my time over the last couple of weeks so that I ran out of it, and didn’t get a chance to post a blog.
However, I’m back to the beer-reviewing this week.

So, Cascade Blonde.
This one’s very fruity and crisp, slightly cloudy in the glass with a frothy head that slides down the glass as you sip. It’s another one that could almost be mistaken for a shandy because of it’s slight bitterness and very little after taste. It’s something you could drink easily in a session and not realise how many you’ve had. Good one for a hot day.

This post was inspired by a young’un I know who came out to all and sundry a little while ago, via facebook, no less. I’ve known her since she was a shy thirteen year-old, and to see her (and the rest of my former soccer team-mates from long times past) grow into the confident and crazy woman she is now is wonderful.

I was in my early twenties when I discovered I was a lesbian (still am, but that’s another story…)

It was at that moment I decided I would be a cat-lady – living by myself with a house full of feral cats in a derelict but eccentric house, terrorising children with my wild hair and icy stare.

Why? Because I would rather be single than run the gauntlet of lesbian dating. When you’re a lesbian, the field of potential partners is vastly smaller than if you’re straight. Plus, there’s always the danger of falling for a straight girl or getting mixed signals from the object of your desire who isn’t entirely sure if she plays for your team, or if she even wants to. (Again, another story for another time).

Granted, being a lesbian on the dating scene is probably easier than being a gay man on the dating scene. You’re far more likely, as a lesbian, to get a positive response from the object of your desire should they be straight, than if you’re a gay guy. Though the response of the object of your affection is in direct proportion with the size of the boyfriend, if she has one.

The other thing I realised early on was that it’s pretty hard to come out when you’re single. Quite simply, people tend not to believe you. They think it’s a phase (though this can happen even if you are with partner), or that you just haven’t met the right bloke yet. I realised pretty early on then, that it’s far easier to just not say anything, unless asked.

Funny thing about these types of decisions when you’re that age – something always happens to turn them upside down.

For me, that was meeting my wife. As she tells it, it was definitely not love at first sight. Me though? Well, she hid my beer (flirty little thing) and then after I cracked open a fresh one, the old one mysteriously reappeared. Kind of like when you’re in primary school and the boy who likes you pulls your hair, not because he hates you, but because he wants you to be his girlfriend.

I figured she wanted me to be her girlfriend, so I pursued her relentlessly. Meaning: I rang her for a ride home at various times in the wee hours when I was blind drunk, and skirted around the issue of my feelings for her. Apparently, as often happens, all our friends knew we liked each other, but we were both too, well, immature I suppose, to admit it. One night, at the pub, we just kind of started holding hands, and it spiralled from there.

Since then it’s been a whirlwind of big moves and overseas trips, a couple of false-start marriage proposals, a wedding, acquiring two gorgeous puppies and making a home together.

Turns out, my lesbian life is a lot different from the one I imagined when I was just coming to terms with my sexuality. Turns out, my relationship isn’t really anything different from my sisters’ relationships with their other halves, or my brother’s with his girlfriend. All that angst early on about not being “normal” was wasted energy.

Now I have bills to pay, a bank to keep happy with regular house payments, and a wife to keep happy with my baking. Not to mention two dogs who act out like spoiled children when we don’t spend time with them. How much more normal can you get?

I guess the lesson here is that if life throws you lemons, you can still have the white picket fence (if that’s what you want).

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