While cities as Melbourne and Sydney do well on the Big Scale of Gay Friendliness, some parts of Oz are less welcome for friends of Dorothy. Quite a few of my Twitter friends remain in the closet for parents and family. One of them, B., is out to his parents now and he has disappeared from Twitter and Facebook.
B. is (was) not the only young queer guy who remains deep in the closet for mum and dad. Religion plays a part in that, but also ‘general conservatism’.
This makes me so sad.
We see images of a very gay Mardi Gras, Matthew Mitcham is out and about. But the Australian mainland is different. Not unlike the United States of America there are ethical liberal islands, but the majority of country seems conservative.
The organized gay community pays much attention to the dreadful situation of LGBTQ in countries as Iran, Iraq, Uganda or other dictatorial states. And right so. But when I hear these coming-out dramas in democratic, secular, western, wealthy countries my heart bleeds.
Such family homophobia is irrational and unacceptable in first world countries. Religion is often a cause of this homophobia, but it’s not the only one. Even more secular environments can be homophobic. Environments where you have to uphold appearances for neighbours or other members of the class / group. The upper class springs to mind. But also in blue collar surroundings you have to be “tough” enough.
I don’t know what we can do about these situations. Be more present? Show our diversity? From flaming ‘mo to straight acting, from lipstick lesbian to butch? I don’t know. Maybe we have to look at ourselves too and have the courage to stand up and not care too much of what others say. But that is easier said than done.
Maybe the organized LGBTQ groups should work more on these themes. Legal issues are important, no question, but in the family room that doesn’t matter…
I just hope B. is ok and I wish him all the best. I wish I could do more…