Friday, October 24, 2008

I hear there's a bar where men dance with men. Isn't that adorable?

My brother and his family drove down from Brooweena on the weekend, and my sister and her family drove up from the coast on Sunday so that put 5 little girls and 7 adults in one small Ipswich house for the afternoon. Needless to say, it was a loud, messy fun afternoon.

My brother has three girls - Emma, 6, Catherine, 4, and Sarah 3, while my sister has two little girls - Jessica, 3 and Kaitlyn 12 weeks. There shall be no more grandchildren from either sibling and that means no grandsons. My mother is still mourning that fact since I came out.

I love these girls to death. I'm the crazy uncle that has taught them all to "pull my finger". I pick their noses. I grab them by the ankles and throw them on the couch which they bounce off, hit the floor hard and then ask for it again. I sneak them pieces of grandma's chocolate slice from the fridge and then run out the back yard with them to scoff it down before anyone works out what we've done. I stir them up, make them all hyper and when they start playing up, I just give them back to their parents. But they do sleep well after a day with Uncle Ben.

In one of our quieter moments on Sunday afternoon, I was sitting with Emma on the lounge reading the paper (she likes to read out the headlines), when we eventually came to the weddings section. And she asked, "Where's your wife Uncle Ben?". Before I could answer she added, "You don't really want a wife do you?"

Was she intimating that she knows I'm gay? Has she heard my brother and his wife talking about my coming out? Hardly the case, as he only speaks to complain when they're out of beer.

She's a smart little thing (she practices her writing by transposing paragraphs out of novels - I got a hand written part of Schindler's List in the mail the other day), so I'm guessing she's just put two and two together and come up with the logical conclusion that I don't want to get married. She may not have worked out the gay part, but I wouldn't put it past her.

I didn't want to lie to her, but seeing as she's only six, I think she's far too young to have to start grappling with the complexities of sexual attraction, so I just told her, "Nope, I don't want a wife at all."

But it does raise some other concerns for me. They live in a small country town (only 270 or so people) and I'd hate for her or her sisters to let it slip one day about Uncle Ben's boyfriend or something and get bullied or ridiculed over it at school. Lets face it, small towns don't have the best reputation for acceptance and tolerance, do they? And I'd hate for the girls to have to deal with shit because of me.

I suppose that's one of the reasons why I held out in telling my parents for so long as well - I didn't want my actions to cause any grief for them with their friends and family. One of Dad's brother's is extremely bigoted (he hates the "chinks" that run the post office, and the "damn abbo's" at the pub all the time) - so how will he react when he finds out Dad has raised a poofter?

And my grandmother is just as bad - she made one of my cousins cry when she asked her why she's dating a "slopey-eyed chink". Yes he's Asian, but he happens to be a doctor and treats her with so much respect and adoration (and he's hot as too).

I probably am over thinking this way too much, but they're my family. I don't want anything bad to happen to them. Ever.


Kezza said...

I think you might be over thinking it, but it certainly reises some good questions, what effect does our coming out have on the lives of those around us. Does my being a shirt lifter cause trouble for my nieces and nephews. Is the fact I'm a pillow biter a cause for concern at my mothers sewing group. Does having a nancy-boy brother cause my siblings any difficulty? And how do you explain this kind of thing to kids? The funny thing about it is that these things do have a way of working themselves out so you needn't be too concerned. Just keep slipping the girls treats from Nans fridge and always encourage them to 'pick a winner'!

Andy Man said...

Its good that you are finally out, because it would be worse to continue living a lie to your family. They will learn to cope with the shit that comes along. If there is any.

Kezza is right you are over thinking it, but I'd be protective of my neices/nephews if I had any.

Anonymous said...

I can understand why you would be concerned but the reality is that the best way to change most homophobes' attitudes is to have them meet a real-life gay person and realise we are just ordinary people like them. Its particularly powerful when its a family member! They really have to confront their own bigotry then. In most cases (not all) it will change their attitudes somewhat.

Im not urging you to come out, you have to do whats best for you, but I just thought Id give my two cents worth!

P.S. You may be interested to know that the latest gossip on the Neighbours websites is that Zeke Kinski will be joining our team next year! Chris