PENNY PLEASE

An open letter to Senator Wong,

I am a gay man who was, like the majority of the gay community, infuriated by your reluctance to take a public stand on gay marriage.

I’m sure you entered politics to make a real difference and to make Australia a better place. If it is your personal view that gay people should have the right to marry in this country, then you must find the courage to make a stand now.

The momentum and support for marriage equality is so growing every day. Your support with add further weight to the debate. You are seen by many as an enemy of the gay community right now. We expected someone like you to stand up for us, not speak out against us.

Anna Bligh, Mark Arbib and Doug Cameron have paved a safe way for you to speak out about your personal view.

I hope you find it in your heart to do the right thing.

– Nathan

UNREALISTIC

Nathaniel (SSO 1047), What you are seeking does not exist long term in any sexual group. How cute and Bollywood are your dreams. I feel the beginning of any relationship is much more loving; staying at home, cooking, watch DVD’s etc.

Erotic sex happens at a touch. Monogamy, we assure each other, that’s the way to go then.

‘Did you see the hot number on Bondi Beach on Sunday? Very me,’ and away we go chasing after lust all too soon.

Do we fall out of love or stay out to avoid the boyfriend fight all the time? In my experience almost all of my varied groups of friends enjoy a bit on the side.

Staying with a partner can be a loving, long term, very happy relationship – there is no need to leave home just because you strayed a little. Hang around for the long term, grow up and old together.  I’ve always found love above the navel lasts a lot longer than below. In my case, forever.

– Fred

GAY MARRIAGE

At this moment when our parliament seems ready to debate same sex marriage, may I offer an argument that the French have used effectively; simply the separation of church and state.

Followers of religions are encouraged to practise their beliefs as they see fit within their walls but at the town hall where traditionally the mayor celebrates civil unions, all couples who wish to be united in good faith are welcomed.

No religious terms are allowed to creep into the contract; all citizens are entitled to expect equal consideration.

Thus gays and lesbians, as well as people of non-Western faiths and atheists are considered equal.

I urge all members of our new parliament to adopt this last tenet of non-discrimination.

– Anton

NASTY REALITY

I just read your article Divided We Cruise (SSO 1043). Thank you for putting it out there and calling a spade a spade, and a bitch a bitch. I’m with you.

I discovered my label – bisexual – in 1995 but quite frankly avoid the gay “community” most of the time for all the sorts of reasons like those you mentioned. Supposedly I’m “sitting on the fence” or “haven’t made up my mind” or similar bullshit, and I was dumbfounded when certain community “leaders” spoke in the negative at that Mardi Gras AGM back in the late 1990’s when bisexuals were officially no longer recognised members of MG. The shame of them.

Unfortunately, in my experience, we don’t need homophobes to use our infighting against us. Heterophobia, bi-phobia, racism, ageism, and just downright bitchy nastiness is rife, and seems to have become entrenched in the “community” as if it’s ok to be discriminatory about anyone for any reason as long as “they” don’t discriminate against “us”. Drag queens are no longer the cabaret style performers as of yesteryear (so I’m told); these days all too often they seem to get their kicks out of putting down some member of the audience, often a visitor from overseas, straight-looking people, or someone dressed not fashionably enough – any form of negative put-down.

When I have been to a gay pub I have seen the bartenders ignore certain waiting customers. Those of my age are sometimes labelled dinosaurs. That was when I was over 35, I’m over 50 now – I don’t bother with the scene anymore. Too pretentious, too shallow, unless you’re 20-something, buffed, wearing the right cK t-shirt, Bonds underwear sticking out, latest expensive mobile, whatever the right brands and looks are these days etc. Even worse than the straight fashion amd beauty scene.

All too common, but thankfully still a minority of all the GLBTI people I have met. And as you say there are bigger and more important things in life to fight for.

– Pieter

GOLDEN YEARS

I no longer live in Sydney. Do I miss it? Yes, sometimes. Reading your letters column from a distance  (re: men only spaces at parties), I had men only spaces. I only have to delve through my memory and photo album to remember how exciting it was to be gay way back when in the ‘golden years’. which, for me, were from 1974 to 1986. Yep, not so politically correct, but what a town.

I was 18 in ‘74; tall, dark, dumb and horny – so you can imagine my delight to get to Oxford Street and meet like-minded people. I mean men, honey. Every variety you can imagine, and that includes fabulous drag queens too, like Lady Rose Jackson and company. Fabulous shows upstairs at Cappricios – world class – and the dancing all-night long.

Things were way harder to navigate then, more codes, semi-secret hangouts, nicknames; everything was a first and very intriguing. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard too. Learning who to trust and how to survive, not so many services then and limited referral. Even getting a sympathetic doctor meant asking around.

I don’t look back with rose-tinted lenses, it could be gritty too, but the night life for men – and I can only speak as a man – was clubs, clubs, clubs! Patches, Cappricios, Palms, 251 sauna, The Barrel Inn, The Rex, not to mention Ken’s Karate Club – and what about Enzos? The Roman Baths and all the fun to be had up at Bondi Juction. I‘ve left a few out, too many to name. Underground parties by word of mouth held in private homes, very chic if you were in the know and made the right connections. I feel sad for the young today. I really did have the true glamour years. Good luck to the current generation. Yes it’s your time. but thank God I had my time. Vale all the lost friends and loved ones. Hope they’re having the biggest party ever. I dont expect this missive to get published but its been fun remembering a very, very glamourous time.

– Stephen

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