Stupid old white men, but don't take that literally, Julia.
Actually, I am coming around on gay marriage, but every time I mention it to R, he responds with, 'do you have someone in mind to marry?' Anyway, I expect I would cry at my own wedding. So embarrassing. Photos make for a better blog post. My intention was honourable in selecting a photo of two older gay blokes kissing.
But hey, wow!
Let me tell you about Harry Williams. He was a friend of a friend but I heard the account first hand. I have tried a little to research, but without any result. We knew him as Harry Williams as that was his name, but not his earlier name. He changed his name after he was released from gaol. Let me paint a picture. The last time I saw him Harry, he was wearing a kind of pale safari suit, quite some time after they had gone from fashion. He was perfectly groomed, with just a touch of make up. You could smell him from a mile away as he always doused himself in aftershave. As he walked, his gold jewellery clanked and rattled as he walked. His very old school Australian accented voice could cut through glass and he did not mind adding in an ultra descriptive coarse adjective into every sentence. Got the picture? He was also gay.
Walking along the banks of the Yarra River one warm summer evening in about 1943, Harry came across an American sailor on leave. They began to have a bit of fun together, nudge nudge, wink wink. Then Harry realised the soldier was trying to steal money from his wallet. Harry hit him over the head with the bottle of el cheapo alcohol of whatever was drunk then and knocked the sailor out. Justice was swift and fast. The sailor went back to his ship and Harry was locked up for a number of years for being a homosexual, not for hitting the guy on the head with a bottle, which I suppose would have meant the sailor might have had to appear before court. I am sure I did hear at least once from Harry the words, fucking filthy coppers.
Harry was a bit of a wild bloke, but hardly deserved to spend a long time in gaol. His last job was as a doorman at the RACV Club in town. Vice was so important for law enforcement back then.
It was a total coincidence that the day I posted the earlier post, a motion was passed in our state parliament that I knew nothing about in advance. I was a bit surprised at my own emotional reaction this week when in a bipartisan motion, the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition of the State of Victoria apologised to gay men who were gaoled, persecuted, humiliated, exposed in the press, set up and hounded. Later I learnt that one of the people in the ABC 730 story was our tax accountant for two years. He was too expensive and I did not remember him until I was told.
So thank you Premier Andrews and Opposition Leader Guy. Your words will have given comfort to a lot of old gay men and it is a somewhat addresses the wrongs committed in the past.