EYE OPENER

I read with interest the review of A Four Letter Word (SSO 933).

I think the writers have latched on to an excellent theme -” that as gay men we all try to fit some kind of stereotype that most often is foisted upon us by the media or by culture.

I hope this movie helps to shed some light on the negativity attached to the phrase straight-acting.

I am not an actor, I am a proud gay man with my own unique way of expressing myself. Sometimes I go fishing and watch the AFL, sometimes I mow the lawn and dig the garden, other times I have dressed up as a drag queen, cried like a woman and squealed like a girl.

My personality will never be compartmentalised by such a term as straight-acting and you will never hear me insult other gay men by asking them to behave as such.

We are gay, and we should be proud of that. Leave the straight acting to the heterosexuals and homophobes who do a better job of acting straight.

It was an excellent review that should open up some eyes in our community about a very offensive term that is bandied about so often and so unnecessarily.

And I can’t wait to watch the movie.

-” Eric, Nowra

TIME TO MATURE

I was interested and intrigued to read your paper’s review on the film A Four Letter Word (SSO 933). The reference to gay men who try to be straight-acting is a curious one.

The filmmaker Mr Archer stated When I was writing it, I was really sick of seeing on Gaydar profiles -˜straight acting only, no fems no faggots’ -” it’s so self-defeating and self-loathing.

I myself have spent my life in a non-usual gay occupation and suffered years of physical violence in this profession, and I stood my ground as an out gay man. Stonewall UK called it the worst case of harassment at work we have ever seen. I took my ex-employers to an employment tribunal.

Throughout these episodes at work, reference was continually made to the type of behaviour people feel we should embrace, which I did not portray.

I do not display the particular traits often looked upon by the greater majority of the human race as being gay behaviour.

I am often referred to as straight-acting, a phrase that I find offensive, due to the fact that I am myself and don’t pretend to be anything else other than that. It is no surprise that those outside the typical gay persona portrayed by magazines worldwide feel unrepresented and fed up with how the rest of the usual human race expects them to behave and how the gay community expects them to conform. An unfortunate byproduct of this is that we as a group are not taken seriously and our issues are overlooked.

If you think gay men stating no fems is self-loathing, believe me it is not loathing of one’s self -” rather a loathing of what is continually forced upon us. In this I mean the opinions of the greater population, but most importantly the very community which claims to represent all of us.

I like camp fem men. Some of my best friends can’t stop waving their forearms about when they speak. However, I find intolerance toward gay men like me as big an insult as the wrongful intolerance shown by the character portrayed in this film.

I feel only once the gay community comes out of the pubescent-like state it is in at the moment and matures will our issues be taken seriously. I fear this is a very long way off yet.

-” Mark, Strathfield

BACK IN THE CLOSET?

Could someone enlighten me as to the reason this year’s Sleaze Ball advertising material does not contain the words gay or lesbian? If Sleaze is our fundraiser for our Mardi Gras, then where has our identity gone after 30 years? Must we now hide this identity (for whatever reason) after those decades of struggle (and fun)? Happy Sleaze.

-” Tony, Chippendale

DOORS OPENING

Re Different view (SSO 934), it’s obvious John of Surry Hills is pining for the 70s. And while the teenager in my head would also like me to spend my whole life madly rooting, the thing is, I’m a grown-up gay man now.

My personal ambitions have moved from my pants on to other things. And as much as I hate to disappoint John, I’m actually in a long-term relationship and so are most of my gay friends.

The things is, as John is bemoaning the fact the gay community is becoming more mature, no-one is telling him he can’t still dog it around town.

It’s worth noting that the parenting instinct is quite a different thing from sexual orientation. Being gay does not mean you don’t want to be a parent.

As more doors are opening for the gay community, we are slowly changing into what we always should have been -” emotionally confident, relationship-aspirational and not afraid of being parents.

-” George, Glebe

THE OTHER SIDE

John of Surry Hills writes, Getting married, having children and family values is about the heterosexualisation of the gay community. He is of course therefore guilty of the horrendous abominable crime/sin of heresy, in that he dissents from doctrine thundered from the gay pulpit.

In order to avoid rational open discourse on facts, the pulpit needs to silence, punish and demonise such contesting points of view with the usual surge of pejoratives -“ all intended as argument stoppers -“ fascist, self-loathing, religious fundamentalist, right-wing, homophobic and (since the pulpit knows the secrets of all hearts) internalised homophobia, that flavour-of-the-month, pseudo-clinical condition diagnosed quite indiscriminately, for any gay who fails to spurt out doctrine.

I thoroughly agree with John.

Pursuit of equality on these issues is a masquerade for denial of our own biological reality, the inconveniences of which certain progressive gays do not proudly own.

-” Allan, Bondi Junction

THANKS FOR LUNCH

Thank you so much, Carole Ann King, for the yummy meals and atmosphere of the Luncheon Club. You will be sadly missed by all the clients.

You did what you did well, doing all the organising for an organisation that has become famous throughout the gay community. You made meals for people who were sick and even made sure people with problems were okay.

I am a client from way back and remember being on a Luncheon Club float for Mardi Gras. What a buzz it was!

Thanks, my darling, you will never be replaced.

-” Brian, Millers Point

CLIFF’S CONFESSION

The recent revelations about Cliff Richard’s male “companion” are very interesting.

I have a long memory, and can remember Cliff as special guest on Fred Nile’s Sunday night Light Show on 2GB radio, way back in the early ’80s. It was clear, by his tone of voice and manner, that Fred Nile adored Cliff.

Even when, on another occasion, Fred had the more famous Mother Teresa on as guest (who, incidentally, spoke out against the human right known as contraception), his admiration for her did not match his adoration of Cliff.

Judging by Fred’s most obvious and sparkling enthusiasm, the sun clearly shone out of Cliff’s derriere. You could hear the smiles and great joy in his voice.

I wouldn’t know, or care, whether Cliff is gay or not. Having a -˜’close friendship” with a person of the same sex could mean anything. However, Cliff now says, In the end, I believe, people are going to be judged for what they are. It seems to me that commitment is the issue, and if anyone comes to me and says, -˜This is my partner -“ we are committed to each other,’ then I don’t care what their sexuality is. I’m not going to judge -“ I’ll leave that to God.

Good for you, Cliff. But Fred Nile must be having apoplexy.

-” George, Eugowra

WHAT ABOUT US?

Can someone tell me why the Sydney gay mafia insists on trying to represent the interests of all of NSW without even directly involving all of NSW?

The ACON-led 2020 summit is a great idea. However, regional NSW has members who are gay and lesbian who actually represent regional gays and lesbians and they aren’t some of your bureaucrats. Are they represented in your summit?

Sydney is a big city in NSW but it isn’t the only place in NSW where we live. Please stop seeing us in regional and rural centres as an afterthought.

After all, the great Sydney dream appears to be about getting out of Sydney.

-” Andrew, Cardiff Heights

MAKEOVER NOW

Little Oxford St needs to be changed by the city council’s Live Laneways artworks project.

Now it’s the dumping ground for Oxford St’s gay bars, nightclubs and cafes, foul-smelling of rubbish matter, with green garbage bags overflowing from the many stinking multicolored wheelie bins. Rotting waste litters the lane, which ibis birds and rats consume with pleasure.

The council over many years has ignored Taylor Square residents’ complaints. It’s a back lane waiting to be transformed.

-” Brian, Nichols Street Community Group, Surry Hills

TOO GREEN

Andrew M Potts demonstrates -” once again -” that his informed opinion comes from only one source -” The Greens.

Fact: Funding for basic services has decreased under the last 4 years of a Greens dominated Council

Fact: the community is divided over the Greens plan to build a large aquatic centre that will take precious open green space from Enmore Park

Fact: the Greens have not delivered one major project that they promised at the beginning of their term.

As an outgoing councillor I put a leaflet out to residents alerting them to these facts. The leaflet had my name and home address on it -“ hardly anonymous.

Contrary to Greens spin, I have never tried to hide from the leaflet and I stand by the content wholeheartedly.

-” Penny Sharpe, Labor Councillor, Marrickville Council

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