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Same Sex, Same Old Shit

**Republished from Citysearch**

It’s half-past-nine Pacific Time when I’m sure I feel the chill of the Sonoran Desert fall. “It’s as cold as a grave digger’s ass”, seek I tell a travelling companion, human enhancement whose evening cocktail quota does not quite equal mine. “The weather’s fine”, pills she tells me as two LA hipsters walk by the window wearing little but their Ray Bans.

She’s right. It’s not the bite of the Palm Springs night that’s freezing me to the core; this town, I’m told, is almost always hot. Rather, it’s the thought of a mad bint with permafrost hair, glacial politics and a heart as warm as stone breezing into the Oval Office. Hello, Sarah Palin. Hello again.

This past Sunday, five million Americans and I felt a cold wind blowing. Shown across the US on the TLC network, Sarah Palin’s Alaska is a campaign launch thinly disguised as a travel-reality hybrid. And its central figure, Palin, is Satan’s most ambitious handmaiden thinly disguised as a Hockey Mom.

Now, I don’t want to talk politics, here. First, whenever I do, the hit-count on my blog slows to the pace of the average American colon. Second, I’m on vacation at a resort with three salt water pools, 17 masseuses and an encyclopaedic cocktail list that I’m determined to learn by rote before I get to LA. Politics schmolitics. But. Seriously. There is a very real danger that this Grizzly Bear could claw her way to the Presidency; so you, me and every sane citizen of a US-allied nation must immediately contact Richard Branson and petition him for tickets to the moon in 2012.

Left, right or libertarian; anyone, surely, with a brain that allows the simultaneous functions of breathing and chewing gum can tell that this woman is an amoeba. An amoeba with a hunting licence, a stockpile of CFC hairspray and a husband whose nuts have been crushed to spreadable paste. During last Sunday’s debut of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, former “first dude” Todd utters about 10 words. His fabulously telegenic wife compensates for this lack by uttering words at Iditarod speed. However, many of these words were made up. She didn’t come up with a clanger to equal “refudiate” . She did, however, take us to her porch (presumably the one from which she saw Russia) and told us that this was the premier site for her “researching”. This “researching” by the way, seems not to require newspaper, book or mobile enabled device.

Sarah climbed up glaciers. Sarah introduced us to bears. Sarah told us that even a bad day of salmon fishing was better ‘n the best day of work. Call me crazy, but this attitude to leisure is not one I prefer in a world leader. And, come to that, campaign launches in the form of Reality TV on a network that also broadcasts a program called I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant (which I’ve seen and have renamed I Didn’t Know I Had Opposable Thumbs) don’t strike me as terribly statesmanlike, either.

Nonetheless, Palin is inches away from a Primary victory. She has monumental GOP support, the ability to say things that ring out as folksy and true and a cute little kid called Piper who is yet, unlike many of the other Palin daughters, to fall pregnant.

Oh, America. Why would you let this happen? You’d be far better off choosing the spa director at my Palm Springs resort as your Republican nominee. At least then you might enjoy subsidised spray tans.

Just Fuck OffJust a week or two ago, Migraine
a person of my faint acquaintance called to muster my support. This was their mistake on two counts. First, viagra approved
enlisting my help for any cause is silly as I have all the clout and credibility of The Swimsuit Issue. Or a Palin adviser. Or both; but with fewer bikinis and known links to organised crime. Second, it was a cause for which I can summon about as much gusto for as I might for, say, a Wet Wet Wet reunion tour. Which is to say, even if Love is All Around, seven tenths of fuck-all.

So. I offered my immediate no when asked to support, “gay marriage”. And then, with very little prompting, I delivered a long and windy rationale.

Listen here, Sonny Jim, I told the earnest homosexual. For starters, the term “gay marriage” fills me with bile. I do not understand why many persons, including the minor politicians currently advocating for its legitimacy, use this dicky phrase. Like the pairings, “women’s writing”, “aboriginal art” or “disabled person”, “gay marriage” implies nothing so much as second-best; a far shoddier version of the norm. Minority modifiers like “women” and “aboriginal” make me purple in the face and wont to taunt those who see no dilemma in their irresponsible grammatical use.

It is either “writing” or it is not. It is either “art” or it is not. And, you are either a person, or you are something made of macramé. By way of example. Seriously, though. Do NOT use the phrase “disabled person” within my ambit. The fact that someone gets about on wheels is the third or fourth thing I should learn about them and certainly never the first. Using the marquee word DISABLED before the person it describes does nothing but illuminate your own lack of tact.

Also, it is a guarantee of a really boring five minute lecture from me on preferring, if you must, “person with a disability.”

This is writing. This is art. This is a person. And, finally, This is marriage, Sonny Jim. Which brings me to my next point: marriage is an effing crock and why, in the name of everything sacred and/or profane, would you be frittering time better spent on, say, macramé than on legitimizing a fucking crock?

At this interval, Sonny Jim, whose real name is Stanley, explained to me that even if I did think marriage was a duplicitous relic that now reeks of cheese and conferred little to the culture beyond the safeguarding of Fondant Icing, yum, then I should think ruddy well think about Equality.

As it happens, I do think about Equality a good deal of the time. When I am not thinking about dinner, it is, in fact, one of my preferred brain-digetsifs. I am a big fan of Equality in nearly all arenas but Scrabble, where I must retain supremacy. I will fight, and have fought, specifically for the rights of same-sex couples to parity with their straight counterparts in law. Legislation on superannuation, adoption, real estate and tiny, spiky things that are only revealed when you accidentally step on one of them with one of your big lezzo feet either have been changed or should be changed and, Sonny Jim, that’s all well and good.

But I will not fight for the legal right to marry.

When half of all marriages end in divorce and marriage itself seems to have morphed into a by-product of ludicrously overpriced weddings, it strikes me as a bit of a bargain-bin institution.

While it is true that once every two years I drink so much pinot noir that I ask my girlfriend to marry me (she always says no) I will not fight for this fancy.

**Republished from The Big Issue***

14 Responses to “Same Sex, Same Old Shit”

  1. sleemol says:

    I can see your point, but the fact is that I’m gay and I want to marry my partner of six years.

    I want to declare my love for him. I want to make a life-long commitment to him in the presence of family and friends. I want a big ass cake, open bar and presents. I want to wear a ring on my finger that symbolises that tradition of love and joy.

    You might argue that it’s archaic, but marriage tends to legitimise a relationship. It’s probably silly, but I want that. You’re right that marriage has lost its special shine thanks to divorce rates and Britney Spears. But to me, it’s a sacred and very special thing.

    What would all of this marriage business change about my relationship? Well, probably not a great deal. But I don’t care. I want that special day which begins a new chapter together as a married couple.

    I want to get married but I can’t. Shouldn’t that really be all that matters in this debate?

    • Helen Razer says:

      I guess, sleemol, for me equal rights should be at the core of the debate and not legitimacy. While I respect that you wish to partake in an institution that has its roots in the traditions of religion and capital, I remain annoyed that the will to a fucking gift registry eclipses issues of far greater importance. To wit, shouldn’t we in Australia be banging on about parenting rights for same sex couples more than shrieking about marriage? I know wanting one’s day in white is an emotional issue. It just seems to me there’s bigger battles to be won.
      The other thing that annoys me about gay marriage is one its advocates refuse to talk about publicly. That is, queer relationships tend, necessarily, to be bound by fewer rules. Male couples in particular often, and I would argue, overwhelmingly have open relationships. SO, why do they want their wedding cake when they’re feasting already? I.e. In a sub-culture that admits its own refusal to follow the rules of a hypocritical monogamy, why the fuck are we all suddenly about, “I will forsake all others”.
      However. I urge you to have your ceremony. If you ask me to attend, I will wear a lovely dress and buy a gift and offer your my respect.

  2. Fiona says:

    Wouldn’t mind some eveidence to back your claim “Male couples in particular often, and I would argue, overwhelmingly have open relationships”.

    No idea if it’s true or not, but if it was on wikipedia there would be a “citation needed” next to that :)

    • Helen Razer says:

      Well, this is hardly a reliable source, Fiona :) and I did qualify my statement with, “I would argue”. To be clear: it is my suspicion, based on more twenty years of being a pushy broad who asks people about their sex lives unrelentingly, that long-term male couples are open in their sexual meandering. As opposed to the majority of heterosexual couples who choose to lie about the same practices. I am NOT saying that gay men are any more “naturally” promiscuous than other men; although, given that they are men and have more of a cultural license to be promiscuous, they generally are. I’m simply saying that the norm of behavior as defined by heterosexual marriage is not necessarily “natural” or something to which we should all aspire.

  3. Tweets that mention Bad Hostess -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Stokely, daniel.. daniel. said: Same Sex, Same Old Shit http://j.mp/dF84SU (Helen Razor, sorry for all those too young to remember her) […]

  4. Helen Razer says:

    I wonder why Daniel feels sorry for people who are too young.

  5. Keith Ealanta says:

    I completely agree with you about the use of prefix descriptors.
    I even agree that marriage isn’t necesarily the thing for everyone.
    Still, the commercial dilution of marriage doesn’t make it irrelevant – some people still do it for reasons of faith, and some people do it with much care and thought as an important token of their partnership.
    But much more importantly I think it’s important for people to have the right irrespective of whether it is wise, heathy, sane or appropriate.
    It’s like joining the army – even if you’re a fool to do it, I’ll still fight for your right to not be discriminated against in your attempt (just don’t expect me to treat you as wise for wanting to)
    And yes, you’re right there are other things that possibly warrant more attention, but in some ways marriage is a useful highly visible example of some of the petty ways people are discriminated against. Change it and it’s harder for people to justify their discrimination in other areas.

    Just my 10c worth

    • Helen Razer says:

      Keith, where marriage is a matter of faith, then the faithful must take it up with their preachers; not their legislators.
      As far as the symbolic value of the white-picket-fence-of-marriage goes; I guess I’ve just had it with queers who want to be “normal”. Fuck normal. I believe we’re aiming too low.

  6. Steven says:

    Helen I disagree. This fight isn’t really about marriage at all. It’s about the fact that, in 2004, federal parliament effectively told every person in Australia in a same sex relationship, then or in the future, that their relationship is not legitimate.

    I don’t think it matters whether or not you want to get married, or whether or not you think marriage is a crock. I’ll tell you what’s a crock – the government telling same sex couples that their relationships aren’t “real” relationships. That is a crock that’s worth fighting.

    Make no mistake – this is a civil rights issue.

    • Helen Razer says:

      I’m aware of the Marriage Act changes; in fact, I wrote, as an aghast (former) ALP member, to then shadow Attorney General Nicola Roxon to condemn her support. That poison-dwarf Howard and the Labor Opposition saw fit to make a POINT that same sex relationships would never be recognised in law was, I concur, downright insulting.
      But the current, real-world debate does not have this change to legislation at its core. Instead at its centre there is a lot of terribly privileged, deluded whining about a fucking ceremony.
      I’m sure if you’re aware of the 04 changes you are aware of the 09 Same Sex Same Entitlements HREOC recommendations that were passed into law. Although these alterations, to real estate, superannuation and sundry other acts, were a great win, there are more pressing civil equality issues for same sex couples yet to be resolved. Chiefly, parenthood and adoption rights. So, while some of us are mincing about waiting for Russell Hobbes toasters and imagining that a ring on our left hand will somehow end discrimination, others of us are fighting for the right to parent children we have raised.
      I’l fight for that. I will not fight for the right to entry into a tatty, over-costed country club.

  7. Steven says:

    The suite of legislative changes by labor during 2009 were significant, and have brought and will continue to bring real improvements to people’s day to day lives in practical ways. I did in fact acknowledge that when thumping the desk of my local labor mp last year about other “gay rights” issues, including marriage.

    Also, I don’t disagree with you prioritising parenting and adoption rights. Such changes are urgently required, for the individual prospective parents, for the prospective children who will benefit from caring and loving home environments, and for society as a whole, which will be enriched immeasurably by the addition of these families. I for one will continue to fight, politically and socially, for progress on that front.

    But, (I’m from QLD and reserve the right to start a sentence with “but”), that doesn’t mean that I’ve no air left in the lungs to espouse marriage equality from my soap box.

    I’m a passionate advocate for refugee rights too. That doesn’t mean I can’t join a few marriage equality rallies in my spare time, or lecture people about equality at the metaphorical office coffee machine.

  8. Justeene Taylor says:

    “poison dwarf”! Love it. I would articulate my reasons for supporting Helen’s view but I can’t be arsed. Look, if you want to get married, get married. Fuck the law.

  9. Tom HB says:

    Marriage is a joke. Let’s all get married. Let’s marry the cats. Let’s marry the TV and the microwave. It’s all for nought. Time was it was for real estate and sex, but nowadays you can have both without the intervention of the church, so let’s fuck the whole thing off altogether.

    If people want a party, go for it. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. The church will never marry homosexuals, so a domestic partnership ceremony is much the same sort of party as a secular marriage ceremony. In which case, given it’s all much the same, get it over and done with. And for fuck’s sake, have an open bar.

    “Civil Rights” is taking things too far. Fighting for the right to pay the Government for a registry certificate is not the same as fighting for the right to equal health and education services.

    It’s a dud argument because marriage is a dud issue. It should be abolished.

  10. Helen Razer says:

    Tom HB, you’re awsm.

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