I have a wonderful, insane, loud, colourful, supportive family. Mum, Dad, two younger brothers and one HUGELY OBESE black and white cat called Guinness.
Currently we are flung far and wide.
I love them, and respect them so much, even though they are so far away. I would adore it if we could all live in the same place, but knowing us as I do, I think that is probably unlikely… maybe one day in the future when we’ve tamed the itch in our wandering feet. We are all adventurers, and we all struggle to stay still for long periods of time. Sometimes it is hard, and I have written about that before. It is confusing to live in my own timezone, but also two others (luckily Perth and Hong Kong are on the same lateral) and weird that when I speak to my parents in the morning, they have already had their day, and my brothers are waking up for work and Uni when I am out having dinner.
It has made for some pretty funny drink-dialling incidents.
So what flag do we fly under, this far-flung family of mine? Four of us have Australian passports, Mum being a New Zealander. The littlest one was born in Malaysia, and the Middle one was born in Hong Kong. The Rainbow flag?
Five years ago, my youngest brother came out, and two years later, my Middle Brother came out.
I have always considered myself to be a liberal-minded person, but I struggled at first with the fact that my baby brothers were gay. With the littlest one, it was less of a shock, he has always proudly worn his heart on his sleeve, but when my middle brother came out, I suddenly felt very left out. Is that weird? Growing up, it had always been the boys VS the girls. They shared a room, I got my own. I was older (and moodier), they were gross boys in torn, muddy shirts. I had socks with frills.
Even though I always considered myself unflappable, level-headed, accepting of one and all, I cried when I realized that my brothers had had these secrets. I felt that I had been a bad big sister for not knowing. In hindsight, I should have rejoiced that we live in a time and are citizens of a country where being Gay is not a crime, and people are (more) accepting. Instead, I beat myself up for all the gay jokes I had ever made in their presence, or the use of the word “gay” as a derogatory term throughout High School. I’m still not perfect, I have indulged people who have laughed when they have learned about my family, and those who have exclaimed,
“WOW! That’s pretty unusual! Does that make you a lesbian?! HAHA derp HA”
I am so happy that my brothers are who they are, strong, outspoken, proud members of the LGBT community. I look to them to better myself in area’s of tolerance and understanding. They have faced inner struggles and hardships that I have not. I have never had to justify my heterosexuality, or who I love and why. I have never felt uncomfortably stared at for kissing my significant other in public, nor walking hand in hand with him down the street. I am proud of them for all that they have achieved at their young ages, raising awareness, and just being who they with courage and integrity.
It still boggles my mind that people could have so much hate inside them directed towards guys as cool as my Brothers simply because they love people with the same junk in their underpants as them. We’re all young now, 18-23, but it stops me short to think that if my brothers wanted to marry their partners, they wouldn’t be allowed to. That adopting kids would be insanely hard for them. My middle brother loves kids and is going to be the nicest uncle of all time (if I can hog tie a guy long enough to walk him down the aisle and then convince him to reproduce with me) and my youngest brother is so tattooed and pierced and generally awesome, that my kids will never want to listen to me and will only want to hang out with him (nah who am I kidding… I’m going to be the coolest mum on the block.)
I look to actress Anne Hathaway for inspiration. Okay yes, she played a wannabe Genovian princess in the Princess Diaries and sure, her boyfriend of three years is in prison for fraud now, but she is extremely vocal about rights for the LGBT community – her brother is gay and she has always spoken publicly about her support of him.
I hope that the world can grow more tolerant. It starts with the individual and the dissipation of ignorance. I hope that Australia throws out it’s backward policies and legalizes Gay marriage in my life time.
Until then, I know people will keep writing about their experiences, lending their voices to the cause of equal rights. Mine is just a small voice, but it is one that will be raised in support of my brothers and their rights to have the same things that I do. We are blood, they share my DNA. They have been raised with equality in every other way, why should they not share the same rights that I have?
Maybe they’ll both just have to move to Canada with me where it is legal.
Maybe we’ll all live in the same place sooner than I think.