S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated 2-3 times a month.

Category: Gay Stuff (page 2 of 2)

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).

One small step for Gays….

On Tuesday night, Wifey and I watched a live telecast of Qld Treasurer Andrew Fraser introducing a private members’ bill called the “Civil Partnership Bill.”

While this in no way provides what marriage would provide at the federal level, it is a small step forward to having our relationships recognised in some form, and also shows that our state government is serious about ending discrimination.

What I admire most about Andrew Fraser, and the other MPs who have come out in support of this bill, is that finally, someone is standing up and saying  they are just doing “what’s right.”

As a result of the introduction of this bill, and watching a youtube video released by Gus Johnston (you can see that here: Gus Johnston: The reality of homophobia in sport), Wifey and I had a discussion about what the Civil Partnership Bill means to us.

We’ve already had our Big C (commitment ceremony) in front of family and friends, fully aware that it in no way conferred anything legal onto our relationship. The fact that we could soon be able to have our relationship legally recognised by our own state means a lot more to us than we first thought.
I think Wifey said it best. She said “it’s personal”. When people say they don’t understand the obsession “us” gays have with marriage, it’s because they don’t understand what it’s like to grow up being gay.

They don’t understand how lonely it can get trying to hide a part of you that shouldn’t really matter.

They don’t know how it feels to be closeted, and to not be brave enough to stand up to people when they use derogatory terms to make other people feel bad, all the while not realising they’re actually talking about you.

They don’t get how much courage it takes to tell the people you love and care about that you’re just that little bit different to them, and risk losing them in the process.

Or how every day of your life, you have to make assessments on the fly of people you meet to decide whether you tell them that your partner is of the same sex because you’re thinking of their feelings and not your own. Or to not mention anything at all that might let on that you’re gay for fear of ridicule or condescension.

To hear people you don’t know make judgements about your character, based only on stereotypes and ignorance, and about such a small part of your being, and then expect you to not take their opinion personally.

All of these things combine to make you feel like you’re less of a person than your straight sisters, brothers, parents and friends. It makes you feel that no matter how good you are as a person, how much you contribute to your family, community and society, that you are not as worthy as a heterosexual simply because of the person you fall in love with.

Wifey and I discovered something very important today. We discovered it’s apathy from people like us, who stand by waiting for those people who have the power to change things to do what’s right, that is the reason for nothing getting done.

We are not activists. We are two people in a community who are discriminated against. And I am saddened to think that it is partly my fault for not calling people on the things they say and do that hurt me deeply. I have never had the courage to stand up and fight, because I really didn’t understand that I should, or could.

So what are we doing about it? We are going to see our local member to let him know that we are proud of him for standing with Andrew Fraser, and for doing what is right. We are going to ask him what it is we need to do to make people realise how this one piece of legislation will have such a positive effect on so many peoples’ lives. We are going to stand up and say that it’s not ok to treat us any differently, and that we are the same as any other couple in this state and in this country. We are a loving, committed couple and we want the same things as every other loving, committed couple, which includes the legal protections that relationship recognition affords.

I have never asked anything of my family and friends except for love and acceptance. However, if you do want to help this change come about, and if you do want Wifey and I to be treated no differently to you and your wife/husband, you can do one simple thing, and that is to go to your local MP, write, email, whatever, and let them know that this legislation is important to you and let them know why.

The simple act of Wifey and I being able to register our relationship as a legally married couple can, will mean the world to us.

And for those of you who are wondering, yes, there will most likely be another Big C to celebrate.

Vote Now! Should we be allowed to get married?

Before the last sitting of federal parliament finished, it was resolved that all members should go back to their electorates and gauge their constituents views on gay marriage. Whether they actually do this or not, well, who knows. I personally haven’t had anything in my mailbox asking for me to submit my thoughts on it – though I have saved my local member the trouble and emailed him instead. I received a nice reply stating that “should this issue arise, I will take your views into consideration.” And yes, I did laugh (scoff) out loud. At least I got a reply.

So anyway, the debate is still raging wildly, and the Greens are waiting for the next sitting to see what sort of support there is to put through a private members bill. I don’t hold out too much hope that this will get up, but at least it will keep the debate going.

I was wondering, after my last post on gay marriage, if there was anything more I could add to the debate. And it turns out there is, thanks to a few comments on other blogs and sites on the interwebs. Rather than rehash everything from that previous post, I thought I’d just tackle an issue that keeps coming up that I didn’t really address in my last post.

Let’s take this to a referendum, and decide once and for all

Why does this irk me so much? One, because this issue isn’t based on changing the constitution, which is what it needs to be for a referendum to take place. And we don’t have a system like they do in the US where we can add a question to the ballot paper at the next election: “Thanks for casting your vote. By the way, do you think gays and lesbians should be allowed to legally marry? Please place an X in one box only for your vote to count.”

And two? Well, because would you like someone to be given a vote on whether you should get married or not? Let me give you a little scenario to illustrate my point better.

Lets say that in order to obtain a marriage licence, you and your intended have to take your request in front of a judge and a jury of your peers, in several different court rooms. In order for the judge to sign off on your marriage licence, you must explain why you want to get married, and convince the majority of the jurers in a majority of the court rooms.

You need to explain why, when the de facto laws cover the majority of rights and responsibilities as a couple, marrying your intended would be better for you both.

I love him/her. Love is not enough. Just look at the divorce rates. You need to provide something concrete.

It will make us both happier to be married. So, you’re not happy now in the relationship you already have?

It’s better for us both financially to be married? De facto laws cover that already.

We have children together and we want to make sure they grow up in a stable environment? Possibly a good reason, however you’re very close to admitting that your relationship now isn’t stable enough for children to be brought up in. Be aware, sir, that you are sailing very close to the wind on this one. I have child safety on speed dial.

What about in the event of a break-up? We want to make sure that we have access to mechanisms to ensure the best possible outcome for our children regarding maintenance and custody. De facto laws already allow you access to the Family Court system on these matters. By the way, ma’am, thinking in terms of a break-up before you’re even married? Are you sure you’re both even ready for this sort of commitment?

If I die, I want my partner to be looked after. To make sure she doesn’t lose the house or anything else because someone in her family doesn’t think she deserves it because she’s not really a partner. (Sorry, darling, you know who I’m talking about.) You know, you can save yourself a great deal of trouble with this one. Lawyers can draw up wills for this very purpose, and much cheaper than a wedding I might add.

Ok then, what about if I end up in hospital in a coma? And that same relative doesn’t allow her access? Or she doesn’t get a say in my treatment?  Easy, sir. Just have your lawyers draw up a living will and power of attorney. Granted, it could be contested in a long, draw-out court process, but again, its much cheaper than some garish wedding. And if you get your wills drawn up at the same time as your powers of attorney, you’ll find it’s even cheaper! Win-win I’d say!

Look, this man is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. This man only. He makes me happy. I make him happy. Why can’t we just get married? Did you know, ma’am, that this man you say who makes you so happy, is part of a group (the ‘male’) who on the whole, lives a quite promiscuous lifestyle? He may not have slept with many women himself, however, just being part of this group predisposes him to, well, infidelity. Adultery. Sexually transmitted diseases! (shakes head in disgust) Need I go on?

You know what? Forget the marriage licence. Honey, lets just move to Canada.

Now I know how silly this all sounds, but this is what “we” gays and lesbians are being asked to do. Provide “evidence” that being married is going to make a difference in our lives, more so than being granted de facto status. What proof do you want? Honestly. We’re arguing over feelings here – things that can’t just be quantified into tangible proof. Does that mean that love and commitment (two of the cornerstones of marriage) should take a back seat because you want proof that marriage will be better than what we already are allowed to have because “you” feel the de facto laws are enough? If that’s the case, why should anyone be allowed to get married? And why should wedding vows be allowed to contain anything about intangible feelings at all, if they can’t be used as proof that I should be allowed to legally marry my wife?

As I’ve said before, I love my wife. She loves me. Our relationship has been made stronger by the formal commitment we made in front of family and friends. Why is that such a hard thing to understand?

Show your support
There are many different ways to show yoru support to this issue, and below are just two of the many sites available.

To share your story and explain why gay marriage equality matters to you, go to My Marriage Story
To send an email to your local member sharing your views on gay marriage, go to Australian Marriage Equality

Things I could have said: Insults and sledges

Sport can be very highly competitive, especially at the amateur levels. Pushing the boundaries and bending the rules is not uncommon, and players will often go to any lengths to get one up on the opposition. One of the ways to put your opposition off is to get inside their heads, usually by sledging.

Cricket is probably the most famous for on-field sledging and banter, but it’s a common occurrence in most sports. Take soccer, for example, which is my sport of choice. I’m a goalkeeper, so I’m no stranger to a bit of “friendly” banter with opposition strikers. I’ve had some great rivalries over the years and I’d like to think I’ve given as good as I’ve gotten with regards to insults and sledges coming my way. Most of the time, it’s just a friendly comment after a save. Something to the effect of “you’ve gotta do better than that to get it past me.” I have also been known, after saving a penalty in a grand final shoot out, to take the ball back, give it to the striker who just missed and tell them to try again. Nothing too outlandish, but it does the job.

I bring this up because I’ve just finished playing a soccer game, in which I was supposedly sledged. I didn’t hear the actual comment but one of my team-mates did. I’m actually pretty insulted that it wasn’t something better. I’m also a little upset that I didn’t hear it, as I wasn’t given a right of reply. Rule Number One in sledging – make sure your intended target actually hears what you say. Otherwise, it really is pointless.

What was the alleged sledge? “How old is your wife?” Now, for those of you who are new here, I’m an out and proud lesbian, and I do have a wife (though not legally of course). This comment, I am guessing, was an attempt to use the gay = bad thing. Though I’d be more offended if she’d meant that my wife was old enough to be my grandmother, but since I know this player doesn’t even know my wife, that’s probably not the case. And so this brings me to the second rule of sledging – make sure it’s actually insulting enough to get a reaction. Otherwise, again, pretty pointless.

The Third Rule of sledging is really a no-brainer – make sure you can back up your words with actions. If you go around telling opposition players how bad they are, and your team isn’t on top? You look like a bit of an idiot. The team we played is actually pretty good, and we’re pretty close when it comes to results, so it’s always a tough match when we meet them. They were on the back foot for most of the match tonight though, so it was probably a better time for them to be concentrating on getting their own game right rather than having a go at ours.

Last, but not least, Rule Number Four – keep it relevant. Like I said, I’m a goalkeeper. I had seven goals put past me last week against a different opposition. Surely bringing that up would have had more affect than asking how old my wife is? As a side note, comments about spouses/children/parents are usually a no-go zone. Just ask Marco Materazzi, the Italian defender who was headbutted by Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup Final after allegedly making a comment about Zidane’s wife.

So after careful consideration, and having had plenty of time to think on this, I’ve come up with a list of five Things I Could Have Said in reply, if I’d actually heard the comment.

“How old is your wife?”

  1. Why? You thinking of trading up?
  2. How old’s your sister again?
  3. Why? You wanna swap?
  4. Ask her yourself – she’s the one on the Harley
  5. Which one?

Admittedly, there’s not too much sting in my replies, but when all you have to work with is “how old is your wife?” there’s not really too much material you can use.

What do you think? What would you reply to that sledge? What’s been your favourite or funniest sledge – either to have given or received?

After all of that – how did the match end up? We won 2-0 and jumped into third spot on the ladder. Good job team!

All Animals Are Equal (Some are more equal than others)

There’s been a huge hoohah on the net over the last few days about gay marriage being back on the agenda here in Australia thanks to New York passing their marriage laws. State Labor parties are also pushing Federal Labor to amend the Marriage Act to include gay marriage, or at least to change their policy regarding it at the next Federal Labor conference. A lot of articles have been written for and against gay marriage, and I’ve read a lot of them over the past few days, as well as the huge number of comments that these articles tend to attract.
I  have been equally saddened, angered, frustrated and dumb-founded at some of the blatant bigotry, naive indifference, and sheer ignorance at some of those comments. I have been heartened, though, at some of the comments made by people (not just gays) arguing for gay marriage. Basically, as I see it, these are the main arguments or concerns people against gay marriage have and make, along with my (hopefully brief) thoughts on each:

That’s the way it’s always been
(Also known as “That’s what the Marriage Act says, so ner” and “It’s our word, get your own”)

I really don’t care if it’s called “marriage” or “civil union”, as long as it confers the same rights to my wife (yes, wife) and I as my sister and her husband. But let’s be totally honest here. When a couple decides to take that extra step in their relationship and make that commitment in front of their family and friends, it’s called a “marriage” – a coming together of two people. No different to what my wife and I want to do, legally. Our friends and family call my wife exactly that, and when asked of our relationship status, they all refer to us as being married. It’s the socially accepted term for that relationship, so why change the term? Definitions change, especially when they’re legal or social, which is what we’re arguing about here. Besides, would you like to tell people you’re “civilly unioned”?

Homosexuals are a minority – why change the law for a minority?
(Also known as “There are more important issues to deal with” and “Let’s have a referendum and let the majority decide once and for all.” Sometimes disguises itself as “I know gay people and they don’t even want to get married”)

There is no doubt that the GLBTI community is a small one compared, say, to Christians, Muslims, and AFL supporters. In fact, there’s probably more people who watch synchronised swimming than are (openly) in the GLBTI community. Depending on which study you read, we range from .000001% of the population to around 10-15%. Let’s just split the difference and say we number around the 7% mark. It really is irrelevant. Laws are made for everyone, not just the majority. There are plenty of minority groups in society who have been discriminated against in the past, and who are no longer because laws were changed to stop this. When you restrict a group of people from accessing certain rights and responsibilities because of sex, age, race, religion or sexuality – or simply because they’re a minority – that’s discrimination. And it’s certainly no reason to NOT change the law.
As for the “I know gay people” line, I’d like to thank all those people for speaking on my behalf. I could also say I know lots of unemployed people and they all rort the system, but is that really true of all unemployed people? (On second thoughts, maybe a bad example…)
Just because I “know people” doesn’t make it true across the board, and it also doesn’t give me permission to speak on their behalf. I know heterosexual people who don’t want to get married – but guess what? They have that choice. I don’t. Don’t assume something just because you “know people”.

Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice
(Also known as “Homos are promiscuous and can’t maintain long-term relationships”)

I’m not really sure where this myth comes from – maybe people equate Mardi Gras with lots of sex and drugs, and therefore all gays must be like this all the time. I actually laugh when I see this one in a comment thread. My response? Glass houses and stones anyone? Promiscuity is not restricted to gays, and we’re not having any more one-night stands and non-relationship sex than your average heterosexual. Don’t believe me? Go out to a night club on a Friday or Saturday night and check out the number of straight people going home with someone different each night. This really is a mute point as far as I’m concerned, because someone (regardless of sexuality) who has a different sexual partner each night is hardly the type of person who would think marriage would be a great idea anyway.
There are plenty of people who, for whatever reason, can’t seem to find the “right one” and have trouble maintaining a long-term, healthy relationship, but this is not dependant on your sexuality.
A lifestyle choice is deciding to live on the coast, or to work from home, or to stop work completely and live a self-sustainable life on a hobby farm in a country town. Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. The only “choice”, if there is one, is whether to stay in the closet and live a lie, or be happy and confident in who you are, and live your truth. I could have married a man (I was engaged when I was much younger) but this would have been a huge mistake. I was never really happy until I met my current partner seven years ago. We are a normal couple, doing normal couple-y things. I really am no different to anyone else when it comes to my relationship, except my partner is a woman.

Religious reasons
(Also disguised as “The gay agenda is to convert innocent children and vulnerable adults to their cause”)

I understand where people of and with faith are coming from here. Honestly, I do. But the point is, I don’t go around expecting you to change your life to fit in with my ideals, so why should you expect me to do the same? And before anyone howls me down and says this is exactly what allowing gay marriage would do, think about it this way. Have you ever seen a gay group going from door-to-door, handing out rainbow-coloured pamphlets asking you to come to their gay club, Mardi Gras or Pride event? No? What about gay groups “teaching” in schools? No? Look, I have nothing against religious groups knocking on doors or teaching RE/RI in schools. In fact, more power to them – it takes a lot of guts. But please don’t confuse the “gay agenda” with “conversion”. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one particular group of people doing the converting and it certainly ain’t me and my rainbow friends.
The other myth being circulated is that churches will have to perform gay marriage ceremonies. This is a total nonsense. Churches and religions already have leeway set within the law to actively discriminate against things that go against their teachings. And that’s ok. I don’t expect them to change. What I would like, though, is instead of those of faith thinking that this is going to affect them, realise that most of us have nothing against you – we just don’t have the same beliefs as you, that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.
I don’t want recognition of my relationship from God, just the government who is happy to take my taxes, but not give me the same rights as my hetero friends and family.

What happens in the event of a relationship breakdown?
(Also known as “Won’t somebody think of the children” and “Children have no choice to be born/brought up in these relationships”)

Firstly, thanks to the change in de facto laws, we now have access to the family court. So there’s nothing different between the breakdown of a hetero relationship and a gay relationship – except there may be more arguments over who gets the soft furnishings.
As for children and their choices – tell me what child gets the choice (ever!) to be born into ANY relationship or family – whether that be heterosexual or homosexual? Do children get the choice to be born to wealthy parents as opposed to those on skid row? What about those kids who much prefer parents who are more interested in sport rather than academia? See how silly this one is?
I understand concerns about children growing up with two mums or two dads, and perhaps there not being enough influence of the other sex, but this one depends entirely on your view of family. My wife and I are not having children, but if we did, those kids would have plenty of male role models. They’d have two grandfathers, 4 uncles and plenty of extended family and friends to boot. As for teasing and bullying, well that’s going to happen anyway, and often is borne of kids not understanding that different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. It’s up to us, as the adults, to teach our kids this point. Bullying is always going to be around, and that’s a sad fact. The only thing we can do is equip our kids with enough confidence in who they are to overcome it.

It will invalidate or de-value heterosexual marriage

Does the guy up the street who beats his wife invalidate your marriage? What about the woman at work who’s getting married for the third time? The only ones who can add value to your marriage are you and your wife/husband. And the only ones who can de-value it are you and your wife/husband. Someone completely unknown to you cheating on their wife/husband in no way affects your marriage – unless of course you’re the one doing the cheating or being cheated on. That’s a whole different story. My point is, when you walk down the street and see a couple holding hands, you have no idea whether they’re married or not, whether they have children or not, or whether they’re friends with benefits. And it has nothing to do with you either. None of those scenarios have any impact on how you see your marriage.
The real truth of the matter is, “we” gays want marriage because of the stability it represents, both to us as couples and to our friends and families. My wife and I had our “Big C” (commitment ceremony or non-legal marriage) two years ago. My wife didn’t think she’d feel any different, as she knew it wouldn’t overly change the strong relationship we already have. However, even though it wasn’t legal, we did feel different – stronger, two parts of something bigger than ourselves individually. Now if only the government would recognise that too.

Overall, I can understand some of the points against gay marriage – though truthfully, really only the religious arguments. And while I do think it will be inevitable that the laws will get changed to allow us the priviledge of legally walking down the aisle, I think there is still a long way to go.
We are all human, and we all have the same wants and needs. Some of us are just that little bit different. That doesn’t make us bad – it just makes us different, that’s all. I love my wife, and she loves me. As far as we’re concerned, we’re married, whether it’s legal or not. And we will do it all again when it does become legal, even if that means we’re both old and decrepit and can only manage to rustle up our witnesses from off the street because all our friends and family are gone. Until then, I will continue to love my wife, and honour her as I promised in my “Big C” vows in front of our friends and family (even if that is out of threat of harm from her friends – just kidding guys – really!)
My big hope is that one day, people will no longer look at my wife and I holding hands when we walk down the street and see us as a curiosity, but as the sweet, loving, committed couple we are.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts. This is a big issue for so many people. “Yes” or “no”? “Marriage” or “civil union”? Share your thoughts below.

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