Community — what is it? And where did it go?
We may still be without equality, but the same-sex rights rallies and World AIDS Day events invoked an awesome sense of pride I’ve missed during my stint in the burbs.
Sure, times have changed. Lockdown laws continue to castigate responsible venues while feral weekend warriors stagger out of rogue clubs to wreak havoc on residents and GLBT punters.
But that sense of community — that’s not about venues or location. It’s being among like-minded people, and all generations — including Gen Y — surely benefit from that.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is about us and them. Some years ago Fred Nile and his cronies marched up the strip to ‘cleanse’ Oxford St, and one of said cronies blessed me, mumbling something about Sodom and Gomorrah. I informed her I was fine, thanks all the same, and she told me she forgave me. I mean, WTF? But what struck me most was feeling totally impervious to their sanctimonious BS. I was among protesting friends, my community. I belonged.
I ache for the anonymity of the big smoke. Some love the quaint have-a-chat village vibe of suburbia. But it’s not for me. There’s an overfamiliarly that rubs me the wrong way.
What if I don’t want 250grams of shaved ham this week? And why do spritely old men keep calling me chief, winking and making a clicking sound? What’s that about?
I’m taking it as a gesture of inclusion. Don’t get me wrong; assimilation is a must. Beige people should know we’re their neighbours, their plumbers, doctors, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. And we could unfetter some insular notions of urbane subculture too. There’s more to life than the pink ghettos, after all.
I don’t have a burning desire to be immersed in ‘the scene’ 24/7, and I don’t define myself by my sexuality. Then what of those who’ve been shunned by suburbia? Young queer peeps often find refuge under the mirrorball. But our community is expanding. We’re more visible. And that’s a good thing.
If only they wouldn’t call me chief.

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