The gay Thorpedo

Over the weekend my Facebook feed has been saturated with one topic: former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe coming out as gay.

I have to admit that by the time this was… aaah… trending on Facebook on Saturday night, I thought I’d missed the interview that Ian Thorpe had done with Michael Parkinson because there was so much comment taking place, and increasingly polarised views being aired. All of which became just that bit more surreal when I realised that the interview wasn’t even going to be screened until the following night.

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Safe spaces

Last Friday night I looked around the dance floor at the Colonial Hotel here in Melbourne and saw god knows how many gay men partying and having a great time. The team from Where The Bears Are were about to film the final scene for the upcoming season 3 (no spoilers, not going to tell you who dies… mainly because I haven’t got the faintest idea who dies) and we were one day away from the highlight of Southern Hibearnation… the Mr Australasia Bear competition.

And it got me thinking about how great it is to have safe spaces, where like-minded men can get together and socialise, not having to worry about homophobes and homobigots, where we can be as flirty as we like, comfortable in the knowledge that you’re in safe company.

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Farewell Mr Parker

What a week it has been.

Last weekend I was in Hamilton (that is, Hamilton, New Zealand, not Hamilton, Victoria) attending a memorial service for one of the most remarkable people I’ve had the privilege to know, and someone who has had a profound impact on my professional life.

That person is Mr Raymond Parker, hypnotherapist, teacher, activist, and a valued colleague and mentor.

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Life with the Homophobic and Homobigoted

Apparently all the staff at H&M are gay.

At least that’s the opinion of a homobigot I encountered a few weeks ago.

But back to the beginning of the story.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that I’m an enthusiastic diver, so joining a dive club when I moved to Melbourne (good god, it’s over a year ago!) was an obvious way to meet new people equally enthusiastic about the creatures that inhabit the, er, wetter parts of the planet.

You know, the intersex slugs, the trans-fish, and the mutant hybrid stingray-sharks that inhabit Port Phillip Bay.

Nobody seems to believe me about the hybrid stingray-sharks.

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Pride: The Sequel

“Two, four, six, eight! Ditch the razors! Give us cake!”

If you were standing in the right parts of Fitzroy St last Sunday, you would have heard this chant coming from a group of big hairy homosexuals waving Bear pride flags while walking down the middle of the street.

Last year I wrote about the Pride Parade in Auckland, and I can still vividly recall that I have never felt so embarrassed to be a gay man while I was watching that parade, or at least not since my mother told me (and she was being supportive) that “there’s nothing wrong with being gay, it’s like a disease.”

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Stigma

Here in Melbourne we’re in the middle of the Midsumma Festival, the yearly celebration of sexual and gender minorities that starts with Carnival in mid-January, and ends with Pride March at the beginning of February.  In the ensuing weeks, there are well over a hundred different events going on, and no matter where you fit in the alphabet soup of the non-straight, you would be hard pressed not to find at least something that you were interested in.

A couple of weeks ago I toddled over to Richmond (on the other side the Westgate Bridge, which apparently gays don’t like crossing. Maybe I just live on the wrong side of the river) to see a new play called STATUS. STATUS is a series of vignettes from and about people living with HIV, highlighting the stigma associated with this condition, and how it impacts on people’s lives.

So apart from the series of very human and often harrowing stories that were told, it got me thinking about what exactly we mean by stigma?

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Life As a Political Football

A couple of weeks ago, the government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) passed the first legislation in Australia to legalise marriage between two people, irrespective of their gender.

Or at least that’s almost what happened. The legislation only extended marriage to two men or two women (in addition to heterosexual couples.) Unfortunately the intersex population were, well, left out in the cold.

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