Friday, October 20, 2006
Australian gay racism
"It's not just the women. Racism in the gay community has been a real problem for a long time but it's gradually getting better."
So says the very wise Jahteh on my previous post regarding Asian men and white women. She is quite right. I am probably repeating myself, but it would have been in the early days of my blog that I made mention of below.
One incident was when I was shopping with Asian friend in a large south eastern mega shopping centre. He was rich and dressed accordingly, I was poor and I was dressed accordingly. We went into an upmarket jeweler as he needed a new watch band. I did not speak to the shop staff, he did. But for some odd reason they kept addressing and looking at me. As they were explaining the intricacy of expensive metal watch bands, their eyes kept drifting from him to me and talking to me. It was weird and blatantly obvious to anyone watching. He spoke with barely an accent and was not that much younger than me, in case you think that they thought I was the paying sugar daddy. Weird.
I wish I had said, 'Hello, he is buying, not me. Sell your stuff to him'. Which leads me to when I did do something. The bar in question was called Jocks, later known as Gay Trade Bar. The very nice owners, (who invited us to one of their sex parties at their two story house in Fitzroy. Wish they had told us what it was when they asked us. You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties) later told me that the offending drag queen was mortified after my letter was published and received quite of bit of ribbing from fellow performers. In the eighties in wasn't unusual to hear racist comments in gay bars, especially from drags. But after my letter was published, (in 1998 I think) it was the last time I ever heard a racial joke from a stage in Melbourne.
I partly blame some acceptance of such jokes in Melbourne on one Doreen Manganini, who was supposedly part aboriginal, not sure which part though. She made it quite acceptable to tell black fellah jokes, protecting herself with her own aboriginality. The impressionable young take it as being quite acceptable.
It is less of an issue now. I see more and more equality between gay Asian and gay white. When I start thinking, why is that butt ugly asian doing with such a hot looking white dude, you just know it is on the way.
But while there is third world poverty, there always will be the older white male with the younger asian guy. Even when gay asians are empowered fully in this country, I expect you will still see it.
The words of my ex hairdresser, Singapore born, ring in my ears at times. While out socialising, a couple of drinks and a puff, I pressed him on the matter and he told me he would do whatever it took to get out of Singapore to a Western country. If he had to be someone's boyfriend for a while, then that was what he had to do. He is now tattooed, pierced, rides a motor bike and lives in Doveton North Upper and I expect he has a nice crop in his back yard and maybe a factory in his garden shed.
PS I knew one of the guys in the audience that night and he, and I guess his friend, were Malayasian, but the point stands. They may not have been.