As the pomp and backslapping pageantry of Australia Day passes and we gear up for Mardi Gras, it’s hard not to be left with conflicting feelings.

“Proud to be an Aussie,” the masses declare. Ashamed of ‘Invasion Day’, others contend.

We live in a lucky country: we enjoy civil liberties, we have Medicare. Homosexuality is no longer illegal. And while I’m thankful, pride isn’t exactly how I feel about the good fortune bestowed upon me for being born here and not in Uganda, for example. Pride is a by-product of achievement. I didn’t fight in any wars for my country, nor was I among the ’78ers protesting for our rights.

Freedom of speech is encouraged. But democracy is open to abuse — as was clearly expounded by the public voice of odious hatemonger Peter Madden of the Christian Democratic Party.

As reported by SSO last week, these Bible-thumping loonies are back on the warpath, regurgitating more venomous claptrap, impugning Mardi Gras for all manner of nationwide sins in a controversial YouTube clip.

Much like closet-case poofter bashers, Fred Nile’s crony bangs on about Mardi Gras being live pornography, and of his position as one of the ‘guardians of the next generation’.

Blah-de-bloody-blah.

I’m surprised he didn’t announce some of his best friends were gay. Tired cliché that it is.

Their vitriol only makes us stronger.

Fundamentalist ratbags preaching hypocrisy and hate can stick their patronising delusions of salvation and ‘love’ up their proverbial pulpits, as far as I’m concerned.

In spite of the awesomeness of our country, we’re still behind the eight-ball. We can’t adopt. We can’t give blood. We can’t even marry the person we love. Unspoken bigotry lingers like a bad smell.

We’re trying to teach our kids to advance Australia fair. Serial nut-jobs like this make me embarrassed to be Australian. I don’t want to be ‘hyper-tolerated’. I want to be accepted.

Just as ardent patriots like to celebrate an unfounded pride on Australia Day, I’d like to commemorate our achievements during Mardi Gras — one of the biggest cash cows for our economy, incidentally.

Put simply, I’m infinitely prouder of overcoming the challenges I face as a big poof, than I am of my birthplace. And I’d appreciate the right to celebrate that.

Then again, I’ve always been a sucker for some ‘live porn’.

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