Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm pissed off. Why, you ask? Today I've been trying to single out some event or thought that tipped me over. That's what my doctor asks me to do. Maybe it's being told by a co-worker that it was my responsibility to fix a photocopier. Maybe it's a culmination of a general malaise, a dissatisfaction with my job, my chronic singularity. Or maybe it's because I woke this morning after a sleep full of nightmares concluding in being eaten by a dinosaur, specifically a t-rex.

I went to the gym in the hope I could burn my frustration away. This year the gym moved the cardio room to a space half the size, workout machines packed side by side. I found no relief there and my anger grew. I felt like a battery hen. "So, this is temporary right?" Oh no.... "We've closed that room to reduce the rent. We were intending to grow membership but that didn't happen, so rather than raise your fees we decided to do this," the box jawed jock said smuggly as he leant back in his office chair. It all flashed back to high school, picked on, called fat and a faggot by guys like this and I asled to terminate my membership. "You say you're saving me money but the way I see it I'm paying the same and I'm getting less." It was the closest thing I could get to punching him in the face. I guess I was bound to do something irrational and impulsive. At least I didn't quit my job.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's not unusual to be haranged by jesus freaks on the corner of bourke and swanston streets, be offered hugs by desperate brits wearing oxfam t-shirts trying to sell charity, or be asked for a few bucks to support a smack habit. Nor is it strange to find a gathering of socialist youths blaring slogans into megaphones and asking passers-by to sign various petitions to get troops out of Iraq or Afghanistan, end the occupation of Palestine or some diffuse idea of ending racism. Over the past few months socialist alternative who've run a stall on friday nights and saturdays have turned their campaigning to equal marriage rights for same sex couples.

I've been suspicious about their motivations in this. Marxist doctrine is generally pretty unkind to the institution of marriage. Decrying it as a bourgeois institution that oppresses woman by defining restricive gender roles/morality and sustains the capitalist/industrial machine through the production of children. Marriage they believe is heteronormic and should be seen as the enemy of gay men and women alike. For them to argue that this institution should extend to same sex couples seems to me at best hypocritical and worst, an opportunistic ploy to latch themselves like a parasite to a mainstream issue that might garner them some new members and sell a few mags.

However upon reflection I think I've been way too harsh. Socialists have historically played a integral part in the gay liberation movement in Australia and feel my comments above are unfair and ungrateful. Like many socialists the issue of whether to involve ourselves in what is essentially a heterosexual exclusive domain has divided the gay community for decades. However at least according to the socialist alternative website they appear to have put this debate aside for a moment. Liam Byrne, National Queer Officer in the National Union of Students puts it like this:

"The ultimate goal for socialists is the total liberation of all oppressed groups, and this requires getting rid of the rotten system of capitalism that perpetrates these oppressions ... But in the here and now, we want to throw ourselves into every campaign and movement where the oppressed are struggling for their rights. Today, that means marriage rights. This issue goes well beyond simply whether or not we are allowed to marry. It is about demanding equal recognition of our lives and our loves, and our right to celebrate our sexuality publicly without fear of persecution."

The fact that they're on that corner raising awareness or at protests with their megaphones and chants should be welcomed. I guess I should do less of the pow-powing and more of the getting involved and active. At least they're doing something, which more than can be said for far too many of an increasingly complacent and apathetic LBGTQI community that is too busy partying and coming down to wave a banner in the air or shout anything but another round.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

gay creation story

I went to the Rally for Same-Sex Marriage Rights the other week in Melbourne (28 November 09). As we marched up Collins Street, this guy standing at a tram stop yelled " came from a man and a woman, it's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve." Not particularly original but today I thought of the best comeback: yes but I'm not the one who believes in the virgin birth." A child born of two men now that would be a miracle.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh.
And Adam said, this is now my bone and my flesh and he shall be named Steve; he is of me and I of him.
And they were both naked and they were not ashamed.
And Adam knew Steve and they conceived a child and bare Cain; for great is the power of LORD God that maketh the infertile fertile.

AMEN to that!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

long time between posts

Two thousand and nine has been a shit year. Never mind the fires and the floods, earth quakes, the insurgents and their improvised explosives, I turned thirty. Abandoned by the rest of my siblings (who've gone off to enjoy their exciting lives) I've had stick around Melbourne to look after my mother. Having to put off returning to Chile and Julio and South American adventure. I've had to move out of my home because of a dickhead house mate who was petty and aggressive and had issues with my sexuality. I'm now living alone. I've had one of my best friends misread an sms I wrote and decide that I was killing myself. To make matters worse the Optus network died and he couldn't call. He thought I'd switched my phone off. He was soooo angry when I tried to explain the misunderstanding. He told me he was tired of my games and I told him to fuck off.

Despite all of this and yes I am really thirty, I am feeling positive, I am feeling good. I am looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends, to living alone with my own crazy thoughts and writing again. Here's to thirty and cheers to that.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

i'm having one of those lower case days where i can't be bothered hitting the shift key on the keyboard. you see i'm trying to quit smoking. i only made up my mind a half hour ago to drop the habit while cycling down to the shops in brunswick i thought i was going to have a heart attack. heart beating like a mad fucker and all i could think was - is this the last thing i am going to see? fuck needed to use the shift to type that question mark. but that's not the only thing i guess. it's been a stressful week, nightmarish temper tandrums from a housemate that almost led to violence almost led me to the point of leaving, a social life that has crawled to well a crawl, and not to mention a job that is uncertain because of budget cuts. yeah feeling pretty lowercase.

Monday, June 08, 2009


When I told my mum I was gay her first response was of love and reassurance, her second was that she didn't understand and was concerned about my future, and lastly that if I didn't mind terribly much she wouldn't tell the rest of the family. It is this third comment that has resurfaced in conversation time and time again. The fear and shame that the moral disapprobation from her conservative Christian family would be "all be a bit too much of a bother."

Her recently widowed sister and her female friend have been staying with my mum this week and out of some obligation I headed out to her place today to say "howdy." They laughed at this as I entered the room and after introductions my aunt and her friend returned to their card game and my mum to her British crime drama. I sat down and pulled from my bag, a book that my friend had lent me yesterday called Coming Out from Within and from what I can gather it is a spiritual approach to understanding and dealing with grief and loss faced by gay men and lesbians (from coming out, homophobia and death). As my mum drove me to the train station I realised it wasn't in my bag, I'd left it on the couch in her living room.

It hurts that my mum is so worried what her family will think about her. That she is deep down (not so deep) really ashamed that her son is gay and it is a fact she feels she needs to hide from them. For a moment there I actually considered not telling her and let the fates decide whether her sister found the book or not. However this thought was a brief one. Embarrassing my mum like that would do neither of us any good and so I offered her a choice: if you don't want my aunt to know that I'm gay then you'll need to hide the book. I'll pick it up next weekend.

I hope she reads it instead.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Forever War

I stumbled across some notes I'd scribbled down a few months ago after finishing Joe Haldeman's The Forever War. The novel is something of a sci-fi classic, less for its science or its story but its anti-war basis, which is largely attributed to the author's experiences in the Vietnam War. The book is diametrically opposite to the psuedo-fascist musings of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (which it is often compared to) written at the end of the 1950s. What I noticed, quite unexpectantly however, running beside this anti-war theme was a somthing of homo subtone, which was largely ignored in my edition's introduction.

When William Mandella, the book's main character returns to Earth after a disastrous campaign agaist the Tauran enemy outside our solar system he finds a changed world. Relativistic physics means that weeks maybe months have past for Mandella but back on Earth it has been decades since he left. Earth is now a violent and impoverished planet where the global currency is based on calories. To combat an unsustainable population, the global government has introduced what are termed homosex policies. Homosexual relationships aren't now so much as tolerated but encouraged.

Mandella tracks down his mother, now elderly living with a female friend, her lover and partner after the death of his father. It is something he struggles hard to come to terms with. Back in the 1970s, he says, before leaving for the war there was a growing acceptability of the homosexual lifestyle. It was something he generally agreed with but to find his mother living with a woman: this is something different. Uncomfortable with his mother's life choices, Mandella flees to the country to find his fellow soldier and lover, Marygay Potter.

As relativistic time throws Mandella further into a distant future, he finds himself commanding an entire strike force of homosexuals. Centuries in the future homosexuality is now considered the norm, throwing his hetero-normative world upside down. Children are born in vats and heterosexuality is seen as something medically disfunctional; children who are found exhibiting these tendencies are "reeducated" early. This leads Mandella worry that his sexual orientation, his pathological attraction to women will undermine his command.

I am in two minds about this, either this is an early attempt to demontrate difficulties experienced by gay people in everyday life or it is simply an exploitative vision of the future where tolerance has led to a nightmarish disfunctional world. I prefer to believe the former although Haldeman does cop out at the end when Charlie, a sypathetically portrayed gay man chooses to be medically transformed straight. Oh well.