Cold, wet, windy, I’m huddling indoors by a blazing log fire and brooding on the fact that while coming out is liberating and exhilarating, being out is an exasperating chore.
Every moment of every day, in small things and large, you must choose. Be out, or pass for straight? Be honest, or lie?
Move house and there are all the neighbours to educate. Change jobs and there are colleagues to enlighten.
More tiresome still is the little stuff: opening an account, joining a casual conversation on a bus, or train, or tram, in a queue, buying petrol.
Constantly beating down the assumption that you’re heterosexual.
But the most exhausting chore of all is having to constantly prod all those people who should know better. Remind them it’s part of their job to proactively factor ‘gay’ into their behaviour, policies and procedures from now till doomsday. The job’s not done yet, people!
The principal offender is, of course, the Government itself, smugly patting itself on the back for those 85 amendments, when they should be selling the gay equality project to Jo Public.
Instead they continue to sideline, overlook, omit or ignore us. Check out a few ministries.
Social Inclusion: type the word ‘gay’ (or lesbian, bisexual, etc) into the search field on their website and you get the answer, “No results matching your search were found”.
DFAT and Immigration: largely silent on the anti-gay pogrom now spreading across Africa and the plight of refugees they send back to face it.
Health: not a total loss. A quick trawl through the new Male Health Policy produces half-a-dozen passing mentions of gay issues, including two ‘priority areas’ — make sure information is in appropriate language, and remember to include us in research.
The Australian Human Rights Commission: having done tremendous work in laying the groundwork for reform, the AHRC has abandoned us.
Our one-time champion produced a paper on sex and gender diversity in March 2009, with a brief addendum on intersex infant surgery the following July.
Since when — silence. Almost a whole year in which not a single press release touched on our issues. C’mon guys, the job’s not done — it’s only just started!
And so we continue to write letters, sign petitions, turn up at rallies and forums, marches and festivals. To lobby organisations who have forgotten — or are surprised to learn — that we expect to use their services just like anyone else. Constantly reminding people that heterosexuality isn’t normal, just depressingly common.
If only we could just relax in front of the fire with a nice red wine, like everyone else. Instead we must slog through another winter of discontent.