Being invited to write a blog post for the International Day Against Homophobia aroused a large number of conflicting emotions within me–there’s just so much to talk about. There’s the attempt to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in Uganda, our straight brothers and sisters being jailed in Russia for supporting the cause of equality, the still entrenched racism in the Gay community itself or the evils of religions still peddling their so called ‘gay-cure’ remedies.
All of these are serious issues, but there’s one story that we often forget to talk about–those people who are outside the GLBT (or LGBT or GLBITQA or whatever alphabet soup you choose to use) community who are championing the cause of equality. Some of them do it loudly, some not so loudly, but a lot of them do it without a lot of recognition or thanks. And some of them do it in the face of being told by their religious or cultural leaders that they shouldn’t, and quite often their faith or beliefs can be demonised by the GLBT community. So I thought, for today, in addition to giving away an ebook copy of The Secret of Talmor Manor, or my short story, Mr. Perfect, and directing you to other amazing blogs around the internet, I wanted to bring you stories and experiences from our heterosexual allies, because it’s often too easy to forget that we are not alone.
So I put a call out for people to share their stories with me, and I got a few amazing responses, some of which I hope to share with you today, as well as some video footage from the Equal Love Rally from Saturday the 12th of May. So enjoy, be inspired, please share your stories and take inspiration from the people who are all around you–all you might need to do is reach out and maybe have a cup of tea with someone you wouldn’t ordinarily talk to.
Oh and before I forget, simply leave me a comment (and don’t forget to fill in your email address) to go into the draw to win one of my ebooks–and if you can correctly tell me which Teletubby was at the May 12th Rally, you can get an additional draw in the competition!
Kerrie Bietzel of PFLAG Victoria speaks at Equal Love, May, 2012
Kendrie Coonan’s Story:
Kendrie Coonan is a married mother of two with strong links to the Amateur Theatre scene in Melbourne, Australia. Although we share a number of friends in common, we’ve never met.
I want nothing more than for my children to grow up to be accepted and respected regardless of their nationality, religion, or in this instance sexual orientation. As parents we try our hardest to bring up well balanced, caring individuals and we want them to be judged always and only for the people they are, not their circumstance.
Our kids know that when they grow up and fall in love, that person may be male or female. They understand at 5 and 2 years of age that, that is their choice and either way is more than fine with us. When my son is snuggling me on the couch and I jest that in years to come some little girl or boy will be snuggling him instead of me he giggles. Having homosexuality and heterosexuality both viewed as normal and natural in our house is paramount. I will not have my children ever question my support of them or be concerned for my acceptance. They will know from small daily interactions that our love and support is a given.
A proud moment occurred when out for dinner with some extended family recently. A member of Gen Y in conversation exclaimed “That’s so gay!” and before I even needed to say a word my 5 year old scolded him immediately with “You can’t say that. We don’t use that word like that!” We were all taken back and the desired result prevailed when the Gen Y male replied with “I’m sorry Will, I shouldn’t have said that.” A little dent in a big battle yes, but little moments like this can make a difference. Having your homophobia and ignorance challenged makes an impact, especially when you are being pulled up by a child.
The real victory will be having a new generation of openly accepting, loving individuals. People who know love is love regardless of the packaging it arrives in. I look forward to the time when our children can’t believe how primitive and conservative the ideas of the past have been towards homosexuality. That to me will be a great day.
-Kendrie’s full story will be posted soon.
Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens at Equal Love Melbourne
I have a long term close friendship with my daughter’s ex-boyfriend. (He is 24 and I am 53). He came out some months after they separated, and we have remained very close for about 7 years. He has in turn introduced me to many of his friends, and they graciously allow me to socialise with them. I assume this is because I relate to them in a recreational way, rather than in a motherly or judgmental capacity, whilst maintaining my own values and principles.
When I mentioned to some of my friends that I was writing this, the only comment they all agreed upon was that they now feel less and less need for approval from the greater community. On a personal level, I have managed a dental surgery for 19 years, and one of the dentists, who is now 42, has always displayed typical homophobic tendencies. I also have a 23 year old receptionist, who has been raised a devout Christian (issues abound). In the past 3 years, I have slowly “infiltrated” the patient database with my friends in the GLBTIQ community. This gradual exposure to my colleagues has resulted in an encouraging acceptance, and a complete turnaround in their approach, demeanour, and attitude. Indeed, my receptionist is now on very good social terms with many of them! My other small but meaningful achievement, has been the banning of the term “that’s gay” both at work and at home. While I am not directly involved in political and social sides of solidarity, which optimistically are more frequent and acknowledged by the media than ever before, I find it heartening that many of our politicians are now voicing their views in respect to the rights of the GLBTIQ community.
Comedian Charlie Pickering speaking at Equal Love Melbourne
Oh and if you’ve made it this far, yes I should remind you this is a blog hop. What that means is there’s over 200 other blogs out there with posts going up over the next few days. And all of them are offering a prize–a book perhaps, or some swag, or a donation in your name to a great local charity. And just to remind you, I’ll be giving away two ebooks: a copy of The Secret of Talmor Manor, and one of my comic short, Mr. Perfect.
To enter the competition–simply leave a comment below (don’t forget your email address), and remember, for an extra draw, watch the videos and tell me which teletubby was present at the Melbourne Equal Love rally. The two winners will be announced on this blog once the blog hop is over (come back on the 22nd), and will also be contacted by me.
Comedian Tommy Little speaking at Equal Love Melbourne
Found the teletubby yet?
For other resources, I suggest checking out my friend Dan Witthaus’ site, Beyond That’s So Gay, which has some useful fact sheets distilled from his one man trip around Australia with Bruce, his gay truck, and also check out his book, which contains resources for combating homophobia in your local high school.