No More Mr Nice Gay

One of the annoying things about finding yourself living under the label of ‘gay’ is the expectation for you to be constantly happy and upbeat.

While I have found myself matching the cliche of having a sixth sense for style, carbohydrate-related guilt and knowing all of the words in the rap for Kylie Minogue‘s single Shocked, I find the perpetual smile part tiring. Having the value of my relationships put to the public vote in Australia isn’t helping.

In Hyland Park on Saturday, when a woman wound down her window to smile sweetly and shout ‘Vote No’ I smiled and shrugged my shoulders, with gay abandon.

When people have yelled out ‘Faggots’ from their cars as my boyfriend and I walk to Brisbane from Sydney raising awareness for marriage equality, I have just worn a fixed grin.

Even before setting out on this journey, two women closer in years to Helen Mirren than Hilary Duff, cornered me at a Potts Point cafe to explain why they are voting No, even though they love gay people. At the end of our conversation I thanked them for their time, assuaging their guilt instead of calling them on their homophobia.

Now, halfway through our journey north, I feel like yelling back and adding a few choice gestures. I want to eviscerate these bigots with a tongue sharpened at the heels of Melbourne drag queens, in the newsroom of daily newspapers and in the front rows of Paris Fashion Week.

Just as I am about to stop the dizzying spiral of turning cheek after cheek, the words of Michelle Obama come to mind: “When they go low, we go high.”

One slip and after a lifetime of slurs, Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt will label me a bully.

The high road is becoming increasingly frustrating on the long road to Brisbane. The journey to equality seems like a fight for the right to meet the opposition on their own grubby terms.

For the time being and until November 7, I’m still smiling but please know that when you scream ‘No’ at me I am not happy, I am not upbeat, I am just gay.