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Why This Post Is Not About Ian Thorpe Even Though A Lamb Roast Might Still Cost $100!

“As some of you may have guessed, I’m a practising heterosexual. Yeah, I don’t know why that would be of interest to anyone either, but I just thought I’d save Sir Michael Parkinson the trouble of asking me!”

My Facebook status last night.

 

I guess the trouble I have with the discussion about Thorpey’s big announcement is the idea that it’s a big announcement.

And the trouble I have with saying “Who cares?” is that it makes it sound like we’re dismissing something that would have been a difficult personal decision.

But I think that I most have a problem with the person I heard describe Ian Thorpe’s decision to reveal that he’s gay as “brave”.

Yep, good on him for coming out. But if we still regard this as brave, then that’s an indictment on us as a society. This just shows that we still have a long way to go. It should be of no more newsworthy than my pronouncement.

“Wow, Rossleigh, you’ve admitted to being straight – how brave of you!”

(Well, maybe a little bit more, given that more people have heard of him.)

But I guess that’s the difficulty. What’s the most supportive response from the public for him as individual? So what? or You’re really brave! And what implications does either have to the young teenager coming to terms with his or her own sexuality?

In a display of hypocrisy worthy of Tony Abbott, I’d like to suggest that the main issue of today shouldn’t be Thorpey’s sexuality. (Yes, so why am I writing about? Yes, yes, I know with a contradiction like this I could join Abbott’s front bench or take over Andrew Bolt’s job.)

There are more important things we should be talking about. Like the fact that Abbott said today in Parliament that unless the Carbon Tax is repealed lamb roasts could still hit $100 just as Barnaby predicted. (Actually, I think that it’s inevitable – eventually – even without the Carbon Tax)

Or even the fact that gay marriage is described as a needless distraction every time it’s brought up. (Well, just legalise it and it’d be less of a “distraction”…)

Or let’s just think about the way in which we perceive what’s important.

Poster homeless jp

Stay awesome. Tell the truth. Be who you are.

Cheers.

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53 comments

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  1. Allan

    Rossleigh, usually I am very impressed with your writings. Today, sadly, I am not.

    As a gay man I would just like to thank you for trivialising the coming-out experience of not only Ian Thorpe, but myself and many other gay men and women that I know.

    People ask “why does it matter in this day and age?” Well, let me tell you, it matters because gay youth are still six times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual identifying youth. It matters because there’s folk outside of our inner city ghettos who are still struggling with the same issues that Thorpe is struggling with. It matters because the MSM took Thorpe’s own opportunity to come out on his own terms and destroyed that by publishing leaked information.

    I don’t expect that a white, heterosexual male will really understand what being discriminated against for something that you cannot change.

  2. Sir ScotchMistery

    OMG. Here I go. Coming out in my online persona.

    I first realised I was gay when I was 8. I realised because I fell in love with the 9 year old next door. We went to the same (state) school. Neither of us were abused, at that time, though one teacher most assuredly saw us hugging in the shelter shed just before we walked home. I don’t think he saw the kiss. I was never sure.

    He never raised it with either of us. His only comment to us was to say “be a little more circumspect”,

    He felt that if we were seen by a couple of other teachers, there would be problems. When I asked him what “circumspect” meant, he asked both of us to come to his room after school for detention. When we arrived, he gave us each a dictionary to find the word then explain what he meant, to ensure we were clear on his warning.

    For the next 9 years, we spent several years as friends including sleep overs etc., then my friend took 2 aspirin and turned 12. I went to his wedding when we were 22 and 23. He hugged me in front of all his family and friends and introduced me as his first love. I wept. I still do when I think back those almost 40 years.

    I cannot help but berate the work of the MSM in ripping a new arse for Thorpey. He doesn’t now and didn’t then deserve to be ripped into by the media. When the rumour started, he was 16. Hands up anyone who thought outside his immediate space as a 16 year old. “Oh but he could have saved lives if he had been honest”. Simple, unadulterated bullshit.

    As a 16 year old, he was nothing but a frightened boy, hoping no one found out about the secret, apart from the one kid he had been spending time with, if he was that lucky.

    Come out at 16 when you don’t know how the ‘rents will react. Come out when your mates were all straight and pumped and glorious? You people have no idea. He would have saved lives if he had survived the media.

    Otherwise, he would have been just another of the several hundred under 17 year old boys who kill themselves each year. Simply because they are “gay”. And there’s a f*cked word. Nothing gay about being homosexual, though it is better now, it was fraught just 10 years ago. Imagine what it was like in 1964.

    Let’s all get off his back. He kept it completely quiet and anyone who says he shouldn’t has no idea and is in no position to comment. Those who are in that position who are straight, bugger off and be quiet. You have no voice in this discussion.

    Gay people who have never done anything that attracts attention in the media, you can bugger off as well. You have no voice in this. Be thankful he is still alive and never fell prey to the “rupertian” media, who most definitely would have f*cked him within seconds of finding out.

    Be thankful he survived his teen years and is here to encourage 16 year olds, from the lofty height of 31.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    Allan I might be wrong but that’s not how I read Rossleigh’s topic. I read it as Thorpie’s outing is a big deal but in this day and age it shouldn’t be. It should have been no more newsworthy than Rossleigh or myself announcing our sexuality, but sadly it’s an indictment on Australian society and politics that though gays have come a long way they still have such a long way to go to the point a person’s announcement of being gay still makes headlines.

    But good on Thorpe, I have the greatest respect and admiration for him.

  4. donwreford

    My problem with coming out, is should I say I am coming out as a hetero sexual? what I do find with my sexual preference is that I am not able to go through the ritual of what is the language used to get it? what bothers me is the unauthentic chat up, any how its easier to be celibate or less costly than the ritual.
    Surely what one is sexually is a private thing, why announce it? unless you are using it as a political platform or if you are a star you are putting out the feelers for self?

  5. silkworm

    Thorpe’s denial of being gay led to his depression, but the question that needs to be asked is why did he deny it for all these years.

    When I was a child, I knew Thorpie’s future mother, Margaret Hathaway, and she was very religious. She was a kind of elder in the Padstow Congregational Church. I left that church because it was trying to push creationism on me. Did this ultra-conservative background have any bearing on Thorpie’s need to suppress his homosexuality?

    Will Thorpie also come out and speak out against his religious upbringing?

  6. Lee

    It is shameful how the media hounds people about such personal matters, which are no one else’s business, as they have Ian about his sexuality. They don’t care who they hurt, so long as they sell papers.

    The Rev Fred Nile responded to the news with “You are a champion, that is all that matters.” Ok, whoever stole the real Fred Nile, please return him. I cannot make fun of this one.

  7. bobrafto

    I can appreciate Rossleigh’s assessment and Mobius’ reply. However I do not think Thorpie would have come out if not for a cool $400K, however I like to be proved wrong.

  8. Michael Taylor

    It astounded me that after years of attacking him, some in the Murdoch media commended him for speaking out. I think they should have just left him alone in the first place. Is it any wonder he suffered from depression after all the allegations and innuendo they used to splash across the front page?

  9. corvus boreus

    I am coming out online to announce my autosexuality.
    A combination of physical unattractiveness, social reticence/incompetance, and a lazy attitude to relationships means that my main sexual activity is self-pleasure.
    Meanwhile, the nation rots and the world fries.
    Which rates attention?
    Congratulations to Ian Thorpe on his sporting achievements, plaudits to his personal and public honesty about aspects his private life, and best wishes in the dismantling of legal prejudices against his sexual orientation, but as an issue of wide concern and focus, his sex life is bugger-all to me.

  10. DanDark

    I am coming out to announce I am half man half woman :)…… who gives a toss what Thorpy’s sexual preference is, he was and is still a damn good swimmer, and if all the speculation on his personal life for years by the media hadn’t of happened, one of our all time great swimmers wouldn’t be living the life he is now maybe, with his public displays of loss of control, the media are insidious when it comes to sporting identities in this country, the media have turned absolutely feral and the likes of Thorpy are paying,
    Good luck Thorpy in the future 🙂 now onto those $100 roasts, yeah that’s the real story, the lies and the beat ups by the Libs, that are coming home to roost now….Great article Ross…

  11. Kaye Lee

    For me, this is just part of the issue of the pressure we put on young people.

    All teenagers are struggling with self image yet we allow billions to be spent on advertising that makes them feel inadequate. We spend billions every year on cosmetics because they will make us “feel better?” Exercise has gone beyond being healthy – we are into body moulding and happy to take drugs to achieve some sort of look.

    Our athletes are under huge pressure to perform. I asked the other day in my random thoughts story why footballers hug and cry so much nowadays. They MUST perform physically or feel inadequate.

    We take away normal childhoods, we impose impossible ideals, we want perfection from kids who are feeling the self-doubt that adolescence brings before they have the experience and idea of self-worth that allows you to take knocks in your stride.

    I agree with Ross that Ian’s sexuality should be irrelevant. The problem is the intolerance in our society and the lack of nurturing that we offer to so many of our young people as we set them high goals or our idea of ‘normal’ with no room for failure or a different path. It isn’t just gay kids who are struggling. We are the ones who are to blame in so many ways.

  12. Lee

    Totally agree Kaye. Adults are also promoting adult themes to children. We have teenage celebrities pole dancing (I’ll bet Miley Cyrus didn’t come up with the concept on her own), skimpy clothing like crop tops for kindergarten kids, high heeled shoes for babies, etc, and then we judge kids harshly for indulging in sexual relationships as minors and for the resulting unwanted pregnancies. Can’t we just let kids be kids without all the promotion of sex and competition?

  13. Roswell

    I’m with Mobius.

  14. Roswell

    Since the edit facility has been introduced I haven’t made any typos. 🙂

  15. Ruth Lawrence

    I am disgusted by the smug, dismissive and self-serving statements by heterosexual people. You have no idea, none, and are glorying in your privileged ignorance.

    Yes, I’m queer, and I came out at about the same age as Thorpe, but it was decades ago. I’m not sure it’s better now, given the remarks I see.

  16. Kaye Lee

    I am astonished by the anger that gay people are expressing. I did not intend to be smug, dismissive OR self-serving. Having dealt with teenagers all my life I am aware of the myriad of issues they face and concerned about the messages society sends them. Things that should not be a struggle, who you like for example, are still adding to the pressure that kids feel. The same can be said for the kids who cannot achieve the body that we hold up as the “goal” or the academic results that we insist are important for their future or the sporting prowess that we revere.

    I am in no way dismissing the torment that Ian has gone through. I am concerned about this idea of “normal” and the damage it does to so many of our kids who strive to be what WE want rather than us encouraging them to be what THEY want.

  17. Sir ScotchMistery

    I felt much better after letting that lot go.

    It shouldn’t be a big issue, but if you have a public face it can’t be anything else, because of the attitude of the likes of ‘woman’s day’, who if they aren’t told something they make it up, and due to a fault in women, they continue to buy it.

    It isn’t a biggie and it’s great that it’s out of there. Now leave him alone. Michael as usual, the voice of reason and thank you for that.

  18. Kaye Lee

    “due to a fault in women, they continue to buy it.”

    No stereotypes please.

  19. billly moir

    We are in the thrall of the media according to the media and our reactions to the thrall is carefully managed by the faceless men behind the autocue fronts bursting to please them.
    Ruth surely you have seen most people have become tolerant of your sexuality? Is there a vast majority who believe that loving relationships deserve the dignity of marriage?
    Silkworm, Lee and Fred Nile spot on!!

  20. Lee

    ” Is there a vast majority who believe that loving relationships deserve the dignity of marriage?”

    Dignity? My former mother-in-law remained in an abusive marriage to honour her marriage vows because she is a Christian. My father-in-law physically abused all four children until they were big enough to hit back. When the kids told their grandparents what was happening at home, they were not believed. What kind of mother stands by and does nothing while her children are being abused? My MIL and FIL were very bitter towards each other and regularly went out of their way to irritate the other person. All four children have grown up to be screwed up adults and bad at intimate relationships. I used to think my ex-husband was the only ‘normal’ one of the bunch but it turned out he also has major issues that he refuses to acknowledge and deal with, hence the reason we are no longer married. Looking back now I see a whole lot of red flags and I should never have married him, but I didn’t see them at the time. There is no dignity in marriages like these.

  21. Redundant Academic

    Kaye Lee: you say “I am astonished by the anger that gay people are expressing” Why are you astonished when in Rossleigh’s post there is this:

    “But I think that I most have a problem with the person I heard describe Ian Thorpe’s decision to reveal that he’s gay as “brave”.
    Yep, good on him for coming out. But if we still regard this as brave, then that’s an indictment on us as a society.”

    and responses such as this
    “but as an issue of wide concern and focus, his sex life is bugger-all to me.”
    and this
    “Ruth surely you have seen most people have become tolerant of your sexuality”

    It IS a brave act to come out and comments that diminish the courage it takes to come out, whether it be to friends and family or – as in Thorpe’s case – Australia and the world reveal just how little the wider (dare I say straight) society actually understands what it means to take this step. Because it isn’t about his sex-life – it’s about his whole life, how he lives it, who he chooses to be, the constraints put on his actions in public, the second guessing and double taking he may have to do even after his coming out. This isn’t just a story about pressure on kids, which is what your post focused on, it’s a story about adults and how we’d like to live in a society where we are more than “tolerated” for our sexuality. So comments like it’s irrelevant or its bugger all to me suggest straight society doesn’t care to really understand and for that you do deserve to be indicted.

  22. silkworm

    Still no one is addressing Thorpe’s religious background, and the role this has played in his denial and depression.

  23. Möbius Ecko

    Redundant Academic I think like others you have misread Rossleigh’s post and that passage. Rossleigh is not saying Thorpe isn’t brave for coming out but it’s an indictment on our society that he has to be brave to come out in this day and age. It should have been unremarkable and he should never have been afraid to reveal his sexuality, and indeed never had to highlight it one way or the other.

    That the homophobes in politics and church still hold so much sway when 60% of the population or more have no problem with gay unions is a terrible reflection on the leaders of this country, not the majority population in it.

  24. corvus boreus

    Redundant Academic,
    Since mine was an offending post, I will respond.
    I think a great deal of the pressure Ian Thorpe faced was lurid speculation on his intimate life by the tabloid press, to generate titillated, self-righteous outrage among their consumers. I will not feed this beast, so reserve the right not to give a f*ck about any f*cking that goes on between consenting adults.
    And yes, unreserved acceptance would be a much better standpoint than toleration of those of differing sexual orientation, but if indifference or apathy towards others’ sexuality is the worst indictment that can be directed at our society, then things must be a hell of a lot rosier than I thought.

  25. Lee

    “So comments like it’s irrelevant or its bugger all to me suggest straight society doesn’t care to really understand and for that you do deserve to be indicted.”

    I care to understand but I cannot fully understand what it is like to be a gay person because I am not one. Just as I cannot understand what it is like to lose a child because I’ve never lost one, nor can I understand countless other situations that I have not experienced. I don’t even understand why gay people are so desperate to be married, because marriage means nothing to me and would not improve my own relationship at all. I support gay marriage because I understand it is something that many gay people want and it is something that society considers to be normal (I’m probably in trouble now for using that word) and even desirable.

    I have Asperger’s Syndrome. The equivalent of your actions would be me castigating neurotypical people for not caring to understand my situation, without explaining to them how my condition impacts upon my life. How can they possibly understand my situation when it is so foreign to them? Why should I assume that either they know what it is like or else they just don’t care? When i point out the error in their thinking I provide some explanation to aid their understanding.

    So instead of sitting behind your computer screens blasting the crap out of everyone for not understanding, how about you post something more constructive to help us understand, as much as it is possible for a straight person to understand what life is like for a gay person?

  26. Lee

    “Still no one is addressing Thorpe’s religious background, and the role this has played in his denial and depression.”

    We don’t know what part religion plays in Thorpe’s life. But here goes…. religion is a crock of shit, causes a whole load of problems and should be banned. But every time I say that i get my head bitten off by some god botherer. However my care factor = zero for what anyone else thinks about religion. IMO the world would be a much better place without it. I’m over people killing each other to prove who has the most powerful imaginary friend.

  27. jimhaz

    It seemed like a good news story to me.

    Lol, perhaps because of residual homophobia*. By this, I mean it was satisfying to see that my gaydar at the time was not making the wrong assumption. Mind you I like Thorpie a little bit, and there was also the thought it would help him get over his depression troubles.

    No one knows anyone else. I did not see the interview, only the teasers. Thorpie is a driven person, for all we know, he may have chosen not to be open, for fear of loss of income. His depression might not be so much about the not-being-openly-gay issue but about the fall from the positive limelight and the what to do after such intensive activity dilemma. After all, depression does hit a high percentage of former leading sportsfolk and he is still seeking to be in the TV world.

    *I was raised as both homophobic and racist. We country folk all were way back then.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Redundant Academic,

    Nothing in your post makes me want to know more about anyone’s sexuality. I stand by my statement that it is completely irrelevant to me. In fact it makes me uncomfortable to have people insist that I must think it’s a big deal. You must move in different circles to me because no-one I know thinks it’s a big deal including my gay friends and relatives. I am not interested in reading about who is rooting who regardless of who they are and I hope for all people that they find people to share their lives with, whether in a sexual relation or as friends.

    What IS a big deal to me is the obvious suffering that Ian (and others) has endured and I think there are probably many factors contributing to that. You say “it isn’t about his sex-life – it’s about his whole life, how he lives it, who he chooses to be, the constraints put on his actions in public, the second guessing and double taking he may have to do even after his coming out.” Are you saying that our whole lives are defined by the person to whom we are attracted? Sorry, I disagree.

    I agree whole heartedly with Ross that if our society considers this newsworthy then it’s a sad indictment. I wonder to myself about the support that was given to Ian as a teen. Was he pushed and moulded and made into something he didn’t want to be? Was there just too much pressure from others?

    You say “society doesn’t care to really understand”. I don’t know what I am supposed to understand. Do you really want me to spend my time speculating on other people’s sexuality? Why must we make people “come out”? It’s like some sort of gang mentality where you must declare your allegiance. I have heard several people say Ian should have announced it earlier. What a ridiculous thing to say. Why should he have to? Perhaps he was unsure himself? I think all the drama surrounding this stuff makes it harder for kids rather than easier, though I may be wrong about that as some people feel it empowers them. Fancy if they could just bring home a friend and not have to explain themselves.

    I think the only issue for me was that, in the past, being gay may have precluded you from the choice of having children which is a decision that should not be made for anyone. Thankfully those days are passing.

    I don’t “tolerate” gays. I also don’t categorise them.

  29. Rossleighbrisbame

    Just for the record, I think it must be enormously hard to “come out” and declare that you are gay and I do applaud Ian Thorpe for doing that. And yes, it does require some courage. And yes, it is important that he did it.
    But I stand by my view that the fact that the language being used about it, is an indictment of society’s attitude. Words like “tolerate” and “admitting” are surely suggestive of a society that has a long way to go.
    If anyone who is gay feels that I’m trivialising their personal journey, that was not my intent.

  30. Michael Taylor

    I for one don’t think you ever intended to offend anyone, Rossleigh.

  31. Sir ScotchMistery

    Kaye Lee, thank you for a lot of your words.

    Allow me to reiterate the point made regarding bravery and coming out, by redundant academic, so perhaps there is more understanding of what gay people are saying/feeling.

    First, it isn’t for one second about Thorpey. It’s actually about the straight part of the community, and I dislike using “straight” because the connotation of gay as an opposite, is then “bent” or “twisted”, both of which gay people have to accept, to get on in life. It’s the simple fact that an “event” like Thorpey coming out, shouldn’t be an event.

    Why are “gay” folk, to be tolerated, or accepted or anything else that diminishes them or separates them from the wider community?

    Why isn’t telling someone you are gay, the same as telling them you are a vegetarian, and in advising you of my being gay, when you invite me to dinner, prevents the faux pas of also inviting your brother Kevin, who doesn’t like gay people, or Asian people, or Muslims or vegans or Americans, or in fact much else outside of his mates Curly and Moe, with whom he shares a fondness for beer and hookers and has no mouth control?

    Why is it so hard for kids to tell their parents they are gay, and have that fit neatly into a conversation about a new skateboard? “Hey mum, Steve and I are going to the skate shop to get one of those new long boards and he has invited me out on a date afterwards to celebrate a month being together. Also, s it okay with you and Dad if he stays here every second weekend and I stay at his place the other weekend”? Or worse still “Mum I’m 14 now. Can I have a double bed for when Steve stays over”?

    That conversation never occurs. It happens amidst fear of rejection. It happens amid fear of being thrown out because Master 14 has heard Dad say “I always thought Thorpe was a pooftah”. That is where the fear lives. And the only folk who ever hear that are gay kids. Daughter aged 17 asking about a double bed certainly has possibilities like “Steve and I have been together for 2 years. Can he stay over some weekends please”? But if same daughter says “Marilyn wants to stay over this weekend. Can I have a double bed please”? It puts a whole different slant on the response, don’t you see.

    Rossleigh, for all the acrimony is completely correct. It should be about as important as Thorpey or any other young gay person’s fondness for Speedos, which I happen to share as well, so long as they aren’t on that tosser masquerading as prime minister.

    As for the note about “no stereotypes please”. Perhaps something as simple as that will help you down the path of understanding of those of us who have since our teens, had to hide a single fact about ourselves, for no other reason, than that we shouldn’t be “tolerated”.

    We should be part of the wider community, separated only by our fondness for artistic endeavour, instead of football every weekend. A preference for leather, instead of jeans. A fondness for “product” and a knowledge of what it is. Now there is some stereotyping.

    I enjoy recounting the tales of the Navy, back in the 70’s when my designated part of ship was the maintenance of the 5″ – 54 calibre guns on HMAS Brisbane, Perth and Hobart. The DDG’s not the current destroyers. A 17 to 24 year old poof, with a talent for making a big gun go bang, without any problems, who then went in and ran the library on board a destroyer maintainer.

    Why can’t my sexuality be about as important as my preference for blue steak, rather than well-done? As every day as my car and my enjoyment of going camping? That’s a question only you (as a person who is not same-sex attracted) can answer.

    @Rossleigh – the whole point was that you made the point not about Ian and the demons of gay kids, it was about a society, where being gay has any demons at all. Thank you for the post. My response last night was in a rage of tears and pain as I listened to those turkeys on Q&A going on as if one of them knew anything. I’m just pleased my other half wasn’t here. That would have ended up with a call to the doctor.

  32. Sir ScotchMistery

    There are times I realise that I don’t say thank you enough.

    Thank you Michael for providing this place for us to get things out and talked about, and for not slapping us when we say “f*ck”. And you were right. Ross didn’t offend anyone who read his post carefully, and understood the point he was making.

    I should not be tolerated. I should be celebrated. I’m glad I have friends who share my life-space.

  33. corvus boreus

    I celebrate, Sir ScotchMistery, the miracle (or astronomically unlikely happenstance) of your being, and the being that you are, and celebrate your being a person who shows such wry, dry humour and speaks with honesty and wise morality. I sincerely hope you have found another human being to share love and life with.
    Don’t want any details, though 😉
    Oh and Michael,
    Celebrate you too, and all the rest, and thank you for the being of this forum and your constant efforts to improve it.
    Incuding edit.

  34. Michael Taylor

    All those swearing please wash your mouths out with soapy water and go stand in the naughty corner.

  35. Michael Taylor

    Corvus, it’s easy to please while we are gifted with such great writers and a fine gaggle of commenters.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Sir ScotchMistery,

    I agree with so much of what you said. If I am working with someone or am friends with someone I only need to know they are vegan if I am inviting them for dinner, if you get my drift 😉

    Let people be friends…if they choose to become more as their feelings grow well great. If they become your significant other then you need to tell people.

    And if you asked for a double bed at age 14 so you could sleep with your partner, they better be a teddy bear sunshine! That would be a NO regardless of what bits they possess!

    Here’s to happiness wherever we may be lucky enough to find it

  37. corvus boreus

    Phuq soap tastes bad.

  38. Sir ScotchMistery

    I love this house. I am so lucky to be part of this family which does in its own way celebrate the who of me rather than the what.

    Thank you my friends.

  39. Rossleighbrisbame

    “i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any–lifted from the no
    of all nothing–human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)”

    e.e. cummings
    1894-1962

  40. opal

    I’m all for the sentiment that society would benefit massively from us collectively moving to a place where sexual preference is perhaps a non-issue and we could all enjoy equality, but the fact of the matter is, this is not the case, and every gay person intimately knows the painful reality of living in and growing up in hetro-normative society. It is not easy! hence coming out is bold, brave and courageous. If your straight you by default have no personal experience of the marginalisation and ostracisation that gay people experience, you therefore have no right to belittle someones coming out in my opinion. Coming out is a huge thing because your before and after are like 2 different lives. When you hide being gay you fight to hide yourself everyday and the shame of living your truth can make living a very dark experience. Coming out isn’t just about living a life where your free you love who you do, its about your self expression, and about holding your head so high and being fearless everyday. It might sound like an irrelevant non issue to those that haven’t lived this, but the fact is coming out is one of the most powerful life altering things in the lives of gay people. So yes, an ideal would be if society could make it a non-issue, but these common experiences of struggle within the queer community are all the evidence you need to know we as a collective are not there yet, and that straight people derailing the issue and saying its a non issue are not going to help. Please respect that your education about the experience of living life as a gay person can only come from the gay community, and many of the previous posts from gay people hold a powerful truth that only a lived experience can express. I guess if you haven’t lived it, you cant understand, but that doesn’t give you the right to disrespect the significance of coming out.

  41. corvus boreus

    Opal,
    It’s a fundamental shyness about biology.
    We are mammals.
    Most/many social mammals exhibit bisexuality, to varying degrees, in both sexes. We deny this as part of our denial of being mammalian animals I guess.
    Most/many professed heterosexuals and homosexuals are, in fact, probably potentially bisexual beings lacking definitive experience.
    Stick to your own species, and make sure they are mature and willing, this mammal will not judge.
    I, myself, have dendrophiliac tendencies.

  42. Kaye Lee

    opal,

    I am aware of the bullying of gay people and I deplore it. I am also aware of the bullying of wives in domestic violence and I deplore it. I have seen adolescent boys and girls bullied for no reason other than they like different things. I have always stood up to bullying every time I have seen it.

    I am saddened that so many people have felt it necessary to hide their partner from other people. If this isn’t about a partner, then no-one needs to know your private fiddling around. As I have said, it only becomes my business if you have a significant other who will also become part of my life and the ONLY thing I would care about then was if they made you happy.

    To say that I have “belittled” anything is hurtful. To say that I cannot understand because I am not gay is ridiculous. Can I not understand and empathise with the plight of an asylum seeker until I am one? I hate bullying, I hate discrimination, I hate intolerance, in all their ugly forms.

    Do not shut me out because I am heterosexual. My experience has been different to yours in that no-one I know has had to hide. Not all families and not all friends are as judgmental as those you have apparently had to endure. The pain people feel when they cannot communicate with their own family is felt by many people. The pain caused by bullying can come from many directions for a myriad of reasons.

    Being gay does not make you different. It perhaps points out issues wrong with our society….so does having big tits. Let’s all aim to improve.

  43. Lee

    From mamamia: “Ian Thorpe being gay doesn’t change his incredible sporting achievements or the magnificent philanthropic work he does in indigenous communities. It doesn’t change who his friends are or the role he will play in Australian public life. It doesn’t change the incredibly high esteem in which he is held by an entire nation. So in that way – in a positive sense – it doesn’t matter.”

    Which is exactly what we hopelessly inadequate, ignoramus straight people mean when we say it doesn’t matter. I don’t think it matters (no pun intended) what we say, someone will twist our words and have a go at us. If we say nothing at all we will be lambasted for that too.

    Opal, I don’t think anyone is belittling Ian Thorpe for coming out. I see people belittling the media for making such an issue out of his sexuality.

    “So yes, an ideal would be if society could make it a non-issue, but these common experiences of struggle within the queer community are all the evidence you need to know we as a collective are not there yet, and that straight people derailing the issue and saying its a non issue are not going to help. ”

    So you want it to be a non-issue and when we say it’s a non-issue for us we are condemned for it. We’ll never be able to do anything right, will we?

  44. Matters Not

    Watched this debate with some interest while being somewhat fearful in responding. But here goes, mainly from a ‘sociological’ perspective. Rossleigh ‘wrote’ what I thought was a pretty insightful piece on where we are at re social ‘norms’. Did he intend to convey ‘meaning(s)’. I suspect that most, if not all, would agree.

    Yet while he, as the writer, had control over his intended ‘meanings’ (and I have no doubt as to his good intentions) he had no control over the ‘meanings’ given by readers (and again I have no doubt as to their good intentions as well). Some asserted he was being ‘insightful’ and ‘sympathetic’ to how (outing) ‘gays’ were pejoratively treated in current ‘society’ while others asserted that he lacked ‘insight’ and the like and the piece was ‘disrespectful’ for a whole variety of advanced reasons.

    What to make of all this? Fundamentally, I think we all can agree that we are referring to exactly the same set of words, arranged in exactly the same order. Yet the resulting espoused/claimed ‘meanings’ are so very, very different. Why is it so? Clearly, and here’s the point, people aren’t ‘receiving’ meanings from the ‘text’, they are ‘giving’ meanings to the text.

    In summary, people don’t ‘get’ or ‘receive’ meanings from words, events or whatever. On the contrary, people ‘give’ meanings to words, texts, events or whatever because humans are ‘meaning makers’. ‘Making meanings’ in all aspects of our lives is an inescapable element of the human condition.

    Why we make the ‘meanings’ we do can be traced to our own individual histories, socialisation, culture, religion, beliefs, values, …. and so on.

    But let’s abandon the notion that we are dependent on the ‘external’ for supposed meaning ‘inheritance’, and recognise it’s us who make the meanings and therefore we must take responsibility for same.

  45. Lee

    Has anyone noticed that there has been very little comment on Ian’s experience of mental illness? It affects more people but it has been largely ignored.

  46. jimhaz

    [,I myself, have dendrophiliac tendencies.]

    With just cause, Birdman 🙂

  47. Dan Rowden

    Being homosexual in a heterosexual world will always have its difficulties whilst individual psyches are linked to herdliness. Basically, being “different”, normatively speaking, will always suck to some degree. There’s no immediate or, in my view, complete solution to such a state of affairs. You think it’s easy to be an atheist in Alabama, for example?

    I must make the observation, en passant, that any “gay” person who thinks he/she speaks for “gay” persons generally is blowing smoke out of their arses.

    Yes, it’s true, we shouldn’t ultimately care about the sexual orientation of consenting adults, but we still significantly do and we have to recognise the harm our lingering prejudices or attitudes do to people.

    Still, non-heterosexual people should chill a little when heterosexuals are trying to be supportive – especially when they know that’s precisely what they’re trying to be, even if their language is as little clumsy.

  48. Matters Not

    corvus boreus, is it the case that you’re ‘going green’ or should that be past tense? And if so, then do you have any ‘saplings’ of which you want to boast? Just jokin ..

  49. corvus boreus

    Matters Not
    It is not a kink I actively consumate, although I do confess to caressing the odd, exceptionally sexy, buttressed root.

  50. Sir ScotchMistery

    I thought it had been decided that we would limit the amount of detail around here?

    Corvus there was a time I hoped the Greens would be a force for change, so I took up the hugging of trees in a purely supportive way until I met a particularly beautiful strangler fig in the botanic gardens. He/She/It was beautiful and I thought all my prayers had been answered until I got to the root.

    I have now gone back to mammals, but it was an interesting twist.

  51. Kaye Lee

    To all you emerging arborsexuals,
    I will fight for your right to have saplings but I would prefer not to listen to private conversations about roots and shoots.

  52. billly moir

    ps my little brother could not look at our big sister without seeing the sex of pornography and was oblivious to the loving relationship of the last 20 years. He and his wife have moved from vicious homophobia to an amazing acceptance of his sister and her partner. Unfortunately such understanding is not applied to the rabbott!!!

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