This was written twelve months ago but it seems appropriate to post it again. For the record, this was a real interview with “Trevor” and everything he said was written verbatim.
Sitting in the cafe, I get a text message. My interview subject is running five minutes late. I’m tempted to suggest that this is because he was raised by two women, but then I remember that in these politically correct times such a thing may be considered sexist, so I’ll take a leaf out of Andrew Bolt’s book and be intimidated into saying nothing. He arrives. We sit down and order.
“I’m going to refer to you as ‘Trevor’ in the article to protect your identity,” I tell him.
“You can use my real name,” he tells me. “There’s no reason to hide who I am.”
Mm, he doesn’t see anything to be ashamed of. Clear evidence his mother has indoctrinated him into a particular world view.
“So,” I begin. “Tell me about your childhood.”
“The bit about being raised by a same sex couple. You know, what was it like at primary school? Were you aware that your home situation was different? That sort of thing.”
“Well, of course. Most of the kids and parents were cool about it. One boy wasn’t allowed set foot in our house, but that was about it.”
“But what about the stigma, the strangeness of it all? Surely you must have been victimised and picked on. After all, this is a Christian country. Weren’t there people trying to run you out of town?”
“Nah, it all seemed pretty normal to me. I mean, I knew our family was different. But it was more different like the Brady Bunch, as in, there were kids from each family belonging to each of the two parents.”
I realise that young children can be pretty unaware, so I move on to high school. I ask “Trevor” how it was. Surely there was less tolerance there.
“Sometimes kids would say things. I remember one saying, ‘You’re gay ‘coz your mum’s gay’, to which I replied, ‘I like women ‘coz my mum likes women; what does your mum like?’ That shut him up. And when kids said things like, ‘I was with your mum last night’, I’d just say, ‘That’s impossible because she was with your mum’. But doesn’t everybody get a hard time in high school? Anyway, I moved to a senior secondary school where being different was the norm…”
“So what about now? What’s your life like? Are you homeless? How has your upbringing caused you to be on the fringes of society? Do you have a job?”
“Well, I don’t have a ‘job’ as such.”
“I see, and do you think that your upbringing…”
“I have a film and event production business.”
“Yes, what’s the matter with that?”
“Well, according to Corey Bernardi, your life should be a mess. Surely your business doesn’t make enough to support you…”
“Actually, I employ several people and just the other day…”
“Let’s not get bogged down talking about your business. Have you ever been involved in dangerous or risk-taking behaviour?”
“Um, I guess so… Let’s think. I suppose being on The Sea Shepherd chasing down Japanese whalers could be considered risky.”
“You were on The Sea Shepherd! Did your mother put you up to such a left-wing, radical thing as trying to save whales?”
“Actually it was a paid gig. I was involved in making a documentary about it.”
Well, I can see that I’m going to have to go for some really hard-hitting questions if I’m going to show how poor “Trevor’s” life has been ruined by not growing up in the same sort of family as I did: mother, father, church on Sunday, and breakfast is the only meal where meat is optional.
“I’m going to take a photo of your lower torso just to show that you exist and that I’m not making you up. Don’t worry, I won’t show your face!”
“I don’t mind. Like I said, I’m not telling you anything that’s a secret.”
I take the photo. Mm, I think, clearly he’s grown up in a different sort of household. Tea with no milk, strange vegetables that weren’t even invented when I was a lad…
“Ok,” I say, “are you in favour of same sex marriage?”
“Well, saying I’m in favour of same sex marriage makes it sound like I want it to be compulsory.”
“Whatever! Are you in favour?”
“Yes, I’m in favour of marriage equality.”
Armed with this clear evidence of the way in which “Trevor” has been brainwashed, I continue: “Doesn’t it concern you that this could lead to all sorts of things? For example, have you ever considered marrying your dog?”
He pauses, then smiles: “I love my dogs. But they’re crap at massage.”
“What about polygamy?”
“Well, I do have one woman that I’m intending to marry. But I’m certainly not going to bring up polygamy in the first three years..”
“You’re going to marry a woman? Is your mother disappointed that you didn’t turn out gay?”
“No. She’s made it clear that she wants grandkids.”
“So your mother approves of your decision to marry a woman. You don’t think that she may have influenced you in choosing a woman.”
“You know, you been indoctrinated to be interested in women because your mother was attracted to women.”
“But didn’t you just suggest that my mother would have wanted me to be gay?”
“Look, I’m just asking questions. I’m just trying to give readers the chance to see what it’ll be like for the children if we allow…” I decide to be politically correct. “Marriage equality. I don’t have an agenda here.”
“Mm,” he says, “except that my upbringing has nothing to do with marriage equality. I mean, my mother and her partner weren’t married, were they? All the current situation does is prevent certain people from having the same rights to marry as others. I got to attend their commitment ceremony, sure, but why did anyone have the right to tell them that they weren’t legally entitled to marry?”
“Well,” I say. “That’s all the questions I have, so unless you’d like to add anything…”
“Gay people can already have children. And what’s more when they go to the trouble of having a child, at least it’s wanted and not the result of some accident. Marriage equality has nothing to do with it!”
I nod. Not because I’m saying yes, but because I don’t have any more questions.
We settle up the bill and say good-bye. As he walks away, I say a quiet prayer, thanking God for the presence of people like Cory Bernardi. Without the Bernardis of this world, people like “Trevor” may not even notice how terrible it is not to grow up in a family exactly like mine.