I had a boyfriend in High School - let's call him Cain. Cain was different to my other boyfriends because we never
had sex. This was unusual for me because I had/have
a lot of sex. I was sex positive before that was even
a term I suppose. My Dad didn't much like any of the boys
I knew but surprisingly he quite liked Cain. Except for that one awkward incident when I stayed out with him after curfew, they got on great. They shared a love of Boy George and Indonesian food. We would meet at the bus stop before school, went to every school dance together and we would talk about music for hours on end. I always knew that he wasn't like the other guys our age but
I never really thought too much about it. I wasn't
much like the other girls I knew either.
We were a good pair of misfits.
After high school my family moved away to the Netherlands and Cain and I wrote each other letters constantly. I missed Australia so much - but mainly I missed Cain. A year later I returned to Australia to start University and Cain was at the airport to meet me. I'd never been so glad to see anyone in all my life. We organized a dinner to catch up; he told me that he had something important to tell me, something he felt funny putting in a letter.
Long story short he told me he was Gay.
Without consciously knowing it, this was something I always knew.
I told him that.
We hugged and cried and laughed.
He was so relieved.
Coming Out is hard, especially with the people you love the most. In coming out Cain had unpacked some parts of himself that he was used to hiding. He was getting real.
Almost immediately he asked if I would come out to Oxford Street with him. He was keen to explore and needed
an ally. In Sydney, Australia Oxford Street was the heart of the Queer Community. It's where all the bars and clubs were, the gay-owned businesses set up shop and where every March they would hold the Gay Mardi Gras Parade.
Knowing that Cain needed a friend and because I knew we always had a great time together I did not even hesitate and we were out exploring it all together in the wink of an eye.
Honestly the two of us never looked back.
From those beginnings the people we met on Oxford Street and in Sydney's Queer scene became my real family.
It was 1986 and AIDS had gripped the community. The hysteria around it meant that Gay bashings were a real and present danger. I've lost count of how many friends were stalked and bashed. Even the cops were in on it.
People we knew started to die and before I knew it I was often at a bed side of a dying man dealing with the shit that families would throw at us. I had more than one friend whose family swooped in when they were sick and removed them from us and our love and support. Flat mates and partners were tossed out and made homeless because they didn't appear on the lease. Men died alone with no-one at their side. The nurses at the AIDS ward became my heroes and, eventually I became one of them.
In some ways it was a terrible time, but it has made me the person I am today.....
The person that has organized and marched in protest for equitable access to HIV medications and against conservative religious zealots. I've also marched in celebration of Queer Pride. I've been the back-stage dresser for the Drag performers that went on to inspire the writer of the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert; I've door bitched at Queer clubs and bars up and down Oxford Street, in London and in San Francisco; I was the lead Nurse on countless Clinical Research Studies bringing much needed HIV drugs to market, I've counseled and held space for literally hundreds of people as they were told they have HIV (and/or Herpes or one of the other less deadly but not less stigmatized STI's), I've worked closely with folks as they transitioned and have witnessed so many fabulous revelations; I have also witnessed (too) much death.
The Language of the Queer Community is my Language.
The Culture is my Culture.
The Community is my Community.
Cain once called me a Fag-Hag. I was mortified and we had a tiff. Looking back on that it now seems silly because honestly if I'm not a Fag-Hag I don't know who is. I mean my "matron of honor" at my wedding was a gay man and we wore matching blue gingham outfits. Cain and I still laugh all the time about how the life I live is all his fault. Funny thing is that I love it and my community so much that I wouldn't change it for the world. I really owe him a debt of gratitude for choosing me as the person he first came out to.
I am thankful for every coming out I am witness to. I look forward to working with you, I'd be honored to do so.
Read more about me here if you're up for it.
Or just go ahead and book that Free Curiosity Call today!