“There was a guy pissing and I got down on my knees and he got the signal and and and he started pissing on me.”

The legendary Troughman, AKA Barry Charles, discusses his watersports origin story on the most recent season of ABC’s, You Can’t Ask That.

In the series seven episode, called Gay Men, which airs on ABC tonight, June 8 at 9pm, Charles talks about the experience that planted the seed.

’20 Minutes Later I Was in the Bathtub’

“I came back from United States in 1978, having been to the Mineshaft and discovered watersports as a sexual activity; being pissed on.”

Charles explained, “I went down into the basement of that club (Mineshaft) and there was a bathtub. There was a guy in the bathtub and about five or six guys standing around, pissing on him.

“About 20 minutes later I was in the bathtub.” (The Mineshaft was a members-only BDSM club in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District from 1976 to 1985.)

As there was no watersport scene in Australia, once he got back, he visited a leather bar that was in Kings Cross.

Charles explained, “I was there one night and I went to the toilets to the urinal. And I thought ‘hmmm I wonder’ and there was a guy pissing and I got down on my knees and he got the signal and and and he started pissing on me and the bar owner thought it was fabulous.

“[Bar owner] said you can do that any time and that became a bit of a thing. And so I got down in the urinal again and became quite well known for doing it at various parties and got the nickname of Troughman.” 

Do Gay Guys Automatically Like Leather Chaps And Kylie Minogue?


Charles said he would wear a uniform consisting of a pair of shorts and green army fatigues.

“I tended to wear those right through the night and get pissed on by a lot of guys.” he said.

According to Charles, the shorts were framed and will eventually be put on display in the Victorian Pride Center by the Australian Queer Archives.  

Other topics of discussion with the panel included: 

“How often were you called a faggot in high school?”

“Are you constantly on the dance floor just to find someone to root?”

And, “Once you turn gay do you automatically like leather chaps and Kylie Minogue?”

To this, one panellist replied, “No. You only like Kylie Minogue if you have taste.”

Troughman agreed, saying, “I love Kylie. I actually think she’s fabulous.”

You Can’t Ask That is also available to stream on ABC iview.

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