Happily Ever After? Guest Kween: BENJAMIN NORRIS

Happily Ever After? Guest Kween: BENJAMIN NORRIS

To celebrate #STFTL’s one year anniversary, we’re checking in on some of our favourite Kweens and Kings.

What are these gems up to now? And how much can really change in a year? So…

It’s been exactly one year since we achieved marriage equality… and is everything ok?

Have you ever thought, ‘what happens a year on after superheroes save the earth?’

Did Buffy go on to slay her next job as a social media influencer? Did Frodo craft engagement rings for same-sex hobbits and did Wonder Woman become a tradie?

More importantly, what happened after our LGBTI heroes fought and won the right to marry their partners?

Did we all get invited to hundreds of same-sex weddings; enough to turn all the Real Housewives of Melbourne into marriage celebrants?

I have always been interested in what happens next: movie sequels, sophomore music albums, series 2 of anything on Netflix; I am fascinated by the follow up!

So when Carmela asked me to reflect 12 months after Australia changed the marriage act, I felt deeply intrigued.

So, what were the ripple on effects for myself and for the LGBTI community?

I personally thought I would have a big gay wedding with swans, celebrities and old pop songs sung by one of the Young Divas. (Yes, I am that gay!)

So why did I not do it? Why am I still engaged with no wedding gown in sight?

Somehow (dare I admit it), there appears to be more chance of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison marrying Tony Abbott than me walking down the aisle!

Because of this, I recently started to freak out that I had not yet done what we had been fighting so hard for.

Had I lied to my partner when I proposed? Had proposing in front of the country on Big Brother in 2012 been all about getting attention? Worse, I wondered if my partner (now 6 years on) didn’t even want to marry me!?

I felt like I was having an identity crisis.

So I started looking for answers on Google. How many same sex couples got married this year? Did everyone get married but me???

Well… there have been close to 3000 same-sex Aussies couples legally married.

This is amazing, but it certainly does not conclude that everyone in loving same-sex relationships, in deed got married. Phew! I am not the only homo alive with just an engagement ring.

Then I called my partner for an emergency date night, which went something like this: an elaborate dinner plan, face masks and a certain amount of nervous energy. What followed also was a weird conversation that started with the most romantic question anyone can ask, “Do you still want to marry me?” Gulp.

The reality was lost on me for a moment. I’d almost forgotten that the marriage equality debate was really just about equality. It wasn’t about marriage. Yet here I was hanging my relationship on a tender hook and questioning if it was all worth it because I haven’t thrown an over-priced wedding extravaganza with my life partner.

I guess our version of ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t mean we all get married right now! It just means that we are all equal now.

Maybe referencing those gays & straights as heroes might be a bit intense but i am still immensely proud of Australia for last year’s achievement.

I have found last year’s result gave Australia a chance to address some issues within the LGBTI community. However, now we face more intricate issues that can’t be blanketed over with a simple solution.

It is not a Marvel popcorn flick. It’s going to take some time to fully understand all of it. But more importantly, it’s about political correctness and not being a naive ignorant prick.

Which is where we are now.

How do we make Australia more inclusive? How did we educate those who might not be aware of the stories under the broader banner of LGBTI+?

Yes, there are more queer tales beyond ‘Jack’ from Will and Grace and the stereotypical lesbian at Bunnings.

Why do people know very little about intersex: the little discussed ‘I’ in the LGBTI alphabet?

Why does our trans community need more visibility?

Bisexuality remains to be seen as just a train stop away from gay-town. Nobody seems to respect an individual’s right to choose their pronouns.

Why is it still not ok to be a fem-top or butch-bottom? And why are gay relationships judged on whether they’re open or closed?

Please don’t think of the LGBTI community as a one-size fits all, we are actually more like the entire board of ‘Guess Who’.

While the world still turns beyond the 2017 marriage equality debate, we are still in many ways in desperate need of fighting for equal rights for all people, no matter what their sexuality, gender, race, religion and personal identity is. So let’s keep going!! And remember: it’s our differences that unite us, not divide us.

Benjamin Norris lives in Melbourne, Australia and is a presenter on JOY 94.9. He also hosts the podcast series, Word for Word and how could we forget? The previous winner of 2012’s Big Brother. You may of also seen him recently on ABC’s ‘You Cant Ask That!’

Kween Kulture: PRIDE IN LONDON 2018

Kween Kulture: PRIDE IN LONDON 2018

Over the weekend I celebrated my first Pride in London with my beloved friend, Callum.

We started the day at his place, sipping glasses of buck fizz and lining our stomachs with a bacon butty (which he prepared). It was deeelish!

We took the train from Greenwich to Piccadilly, our bags packed with more bubbles, gin, plastic cups and rainbow face paint. Yasss, these Kweens were set!

While we were waiting for our train though, Callum mentioned how he was asked in the week leading up to the event, if he thought ‘Pride in London’ was still necessary?

Allow me to answer that for my beautiful darling friend…

-While Cal was in the middle of explaining this, he also stopped and said to me “Can you see the kind of ‘looks’ I’m getting? Don’t they know, it’s Pride?”

Now, not that any human could ever or deserves to ever, take away the light bursting inside of my gorgeous friend, but it really pissed me off that today of all days, there were still some people willing to make him feel not worthy or accepted (let alone every day of his god damn life!).

Eventually we got on the train and we were stoked to find it filled with people wearing exactly what we were wearing; boys in short shorts, girls with rainbows on their faces, glitter everywhere. Any thought of the small minded who tried to quash our spirits were themselves, quashed.

-When we got to the parade, it was delayed due to anti-trans protestors. These people not only laid down on the ground in front of the march but were still allowed to walk the parade first (police escorting them) holding signs, banners and flyers filled with such awful, hateful messages about transsexuals. It was such an ugly thing to see, especially when everyone who was standing on the streets were there for the exact opposite reason. So, we booed them. We booed the hell out of them!!

-Once the parade finally started, my heart filled with joy and my eyes welled up (they always do, no matter where I’m watching it, Sydney, Brighton). I just love the feeling of when the parade begins; it symbolizing another year of fighting and resisting, yet another chance to shout love and light from the rooftops. It was amazing seeing these humans so happy and so celebrated. Admiration poured from every street corner and scaffolding but I couldn’t help also noticing the other signs that stated that being ‘gay’ was still illegal in 72 countries. 72!

Can you believeee?

So, is Pride in London still necessary? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTLEY!!!

Even if we get to a world where none of the above exists, there will always be a bunch of brave, fearless, strong men and women, who made it a little easier for that other boy to come out to his parents or that other girl to tell her best friend that she likes girls. I imean, that needs to be celebrated not just at Pride but all the freaking time, right?!!

But honey seriously, besides these slight attempts to bring us down, nothing was going to damper our day! We sang, we danced, we hugged, we held hands, we laughed; it was a magical, perfect day. A day simply about love and loving each other.

📸: @calluminos

By surprise, I also saw my other friend Tony strutting past. This made me (once again) explode with pride and strangely also made me feel right at home. Wow, how could I have only been back in London for just over a year and already recognized a familiar face, not just in the crowd, but in the parade!? Tony shouted out my name and gave me a high-five, my eyes got glassy again, it was so special.

Actually, there were many other things that gave me ‘all the feels’.

-Parents parading with their young children (straight and gay), I swear this is something I will do with my kids too. I also feel like if my son ever told me he was ‘straight’ I’d be most disappointed. Ha!

-There were different cultures and religions also parading their gay stuff with utter sass and fun; it was super powerful.

📸: Mike Cash

The only thing that is ‘unnecessary’ about Pride in London is the amount of glitter you will continue to find on your body, in your hair, in your bathroom and in your bed afterwards; no matter how many times you have showered or attempted to clean it up. It’s like a fucking unicorn has shat everywhere. And the cheeky train-toilet-vomit one may encounter on the way back home. Whoops!

Still, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I grew up in a house where my mum would always invite her gay friends around for dinner parties; my Italian dad would sit at the table and speak to them like he was down at the pub with his own mates. My point is, maybe if everyone had the chance to grow up with ‘gay people’ being treated just like ‘people’, maybe no one would ever question if it was necessary.

So, is Gay Pride still necessary? Yasss Kween! And I cannot wait till 2019. Maybe I’ll be in the parade next time too!!

📸: @jenobeirne
Kween Kulture: HANNAH GADSBY ‘Nanette’.

Kween Kulture: HANNAH GADSBY ‘Nanette’.

Image result for hannah gadsby nanette

“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”

“Anger is never constructive. Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure.”

No matter what your view is on gender dysphoria, feminism, mental health, homosexuality or even Donald Trump, I highly doubt you will get to the end of this comedy special (if you can call it that) and feel nothing. 

Gadsby is changing the world of comedy with her story. When I think about her now, my heart fills with joy, sadness and hope, all at the same time.

If there’s one thing you watch this weekend, make it be ‘Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette’.

Hannah, thank you- Carmela Contarino

“Boys will be boys and women will be careful, so can we just get men to be men?”

“You’d still get a grown ass president denying any wrong doing though.”

“I don’t feel comfortable in a small town, I get a bit tense, mainly because I’m this situation.”

“Lesbians give feedback, men, opinions.”

Image result for hannah gadsby nanette