America made Gay Marriage legal and Australia didn’t

love-is-love

I’m not American, but I grew up on American TV, Cereal and Pop Culture. At age 11 my dream was to marry Aaron Carter, join Destiny’s child and have a cool american flag strappy top with a choker necklace.

 

Pretty much my amazing fashion style age 11-14

Pretty much my amazing fashion style age 11-14)

America was the place to be according to MTV back in the 90’s. I wanted to be a cool chick like the girls in ‘She’s all that’ (I was very much not all that in middle school) with a yellow roofless jeep and I wanted to say things like “hey girl!” and “get in bitches we’re going shopping” (I remember the first time my mother overheard me call a friend a “bitch” like “hey Bitch” – that shit did not go down well.)

As I got older and moved around the world, I realized that America was pretty cool, but there were a lot of other pretty sweet places to live. Hong Kong was an amazing city, and it was there that I really came into contact with a lot of American families (oh my god… they’re just like us!) and University in Australia was schweeeeeet (that vegemite, Passion Pop and Goon though). As an Adult I moved to Canada (so close to my 14 year old dreams) and actually went to America. It was pretty cool and there were parts that I loved but…

America also scared me.

There were guys in LA standing on the side of the streets with big aggressive signs that said things like: “God hates Fags!” and “Enjoy your Sodomy in Hell”.

This was pretty jarring as my previous world experience came from cities like Sydney (which has a healthy gay community), Hong Kong where drag queens were out and about in clubs, and Canada where gay marriage has been legal for ten years and the pride festival shuts down the city.

America was like the alcoholic, gun-toting, racist/homophobic uncle that you liked to see now and again but wouldn’t let around your children.

And then yesterday happened.

America passed Gay marriage, country wide. Love won out, and while the glitter settled and the world rejoiced, something stuck sorely in my mind.

Gay Marriage is still not legal in Hong Kong or Australia.

Two of the countries I would consider to be home do not allow awesome people like my brothers and my aunt (with 3 gorgeous kids) to get married to the people they love. Two of the places that felt like wonderful, gay-friendly countries, (compared to “scary America”) actually afford less legal rights and equality to people like this:

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And that really sucks. Australia paints itself as a liberal country, have-a-go, fair-dinkum. We call ourselves “the lucky country” and boy have there been times where I’ve felt lucky to be Australian. Visa’s to most country are easy as fuuuuuck, we have Medicare, an amazing education system and weather that can’t be beat. Everybody I’ve ever met lights up when I tell them I am Australian. Everybody loves us, or the idea of us (like how 11 year old me felt about Aaron Carter).

But what the hell Australia?! This country which has no guns, and preaches tolerance and claims to be forward thinking, still won’t allow certain people to get married because reasons?

Come on Australia, that is bullshit.

New Zealand (our younger, smaller, brother) passed gay marriage and this happy thing happened (get your tissues out):

What the fuck is our problem?

Unlike America, the church does not play that big of a role in our countries culture. In 2011 the census recorded that 5 million people (of our 20 million strong population) ticked “no religion” on their census forms.

So what? What the hell is keeping us from making marriage equality a thing. And if we pass it now, is it because we’re copying The US? We used to be a forward thinking country, carved from the rock and harsh soil by convicts and 2nd chancers.

Hurry the fuck up Australia, or you run the risk of being left behind in the dark ages.

And people like me, the young people, the educated people will stay away. We’ll marry our Aaron Carters and we won’t come home.

Figure it out.

I’m proud of you

I tell people frequently that I have two brothers. Okay that’s not true. When people ask me if I have siblings, I often tell people “I have two GAY brothers.”

I don’t know why I say it like that. Being Gay is not the feature that defines them. K is a compassionate, sweet, hardworking, wise guy who takes off to Europe for two weeks just to look around. R is the fiercest and most outspoken person I know. He might still be figuring out who he is, but he’s always questioning himself and the world/society around him. He challenges pre-disposition and assumption.

I am sure they don’t go around telling people that they have a STRAIGHT sister.

I have written about my family in lots of different posts. They are a huge part of my life despite being far away. You have to understand that when you are an expatriate family, you are a tight unit, a cog that spins separate but connected to the rest of a wider machine. You move around, and the only thing that stays the same, are your five faces in the picture frame.

When R came out when he was 14 (I was 19) I was at University and the news shocked me. Not that there was anything wrong being gay, but I didn’t honestly think of my baby brother of having sexual preferences of any kind. He is still my baby brother now, even though he’s allowed to drink alcohol in bars (that’s weird).

That first year, when he was out and honest about his sexuality, I spent a great deal of time making gay jokes with my other brother K. Behind his back, some to his face, some little comments here and there that we giggled about. AND I’M THE OLDEST. I was supposed to lead by example.

I’ll never forget when I got a call from my Mum a year later saying, “By the way K has come out too.”

I was shocked, and I obviously felt ill. I had spent twelve months making fun of being gay (even though I considered myself tolerant and had some gay friends) with my brother, who was also gay, and who hadn’t told me.

I felt like an awful person first off, and an awful sister. These are my kid brothers, the ones who DESTROYED my barbies and who played hot wheels with me, and who rolled around in the dirt and collected frogs in a bucket during monsoons with me. What did it matter who they loved/wanted to bang? Hadn’t I always said that I was colour-blind, having been raised an Expat Brat? Why did my tolerance only extend so far.

I also felt left out. Like they hadn’t been able to confide in me. I used to OVERSHARE with them and they couldn’t even tell me this one, major thing?

I beat myself up a lot for a while. I questioned a lot of my “tolerant” beliefs and my fears, because that is what it is when you are homophobic, and that is what I was when I cracked gay jokes.

I questioned myself every time I used the word gay as a derogatory, such as “That’s soooo gay” to be a bad thing. How could I say that? How could I not have known?

The truth is, there is a lot of ignorance out there, and people happy to reside in that state of mind. I am not one of them. I do not believe ignorance is bliss. Mama says: Ignorance is just ignorance.

And she’s right.

As per usual.

The truth is, I am so so proud of my brothers. I’m proud of the way they are who they are and they just don’t give a fuck. They wake up in the morning with solid self-understanding. I’m proud of the way they can be true to who they are, and have chosen to walk a more difficult path, but one where they don’t hide themselves. I am proud of them for reaching out to the LBGT community and giving support.

I am proud of my parents for being supportive and tolerant and loving. I am proud of my Mum, who is currently directing a play in Hong Kong called “My big gay Italian wedding” and who is promoting it and tackling important issues about being the mother of Gay sons.

I know that I am still learning tolerance and acceptance from my family, and I know that I will always believe that if you are a good person, then please, love who you love, marry who you want to marry. Be happy, be free. I am sure that I have a long way to go where understanding is concerned, but I am trying to be a supportive force, not a fearful negative one.

Hi my name is Paris and I have two brothers.