By CUSHLA TRAVERS
You are so gay.
Not in the derogatory 15-year-old boy sense of the word – you literally are so gay. But I don’t need to tell you that, do I?
Obviously you’ve known for quite some time. You told me when I was nine and I’m sure it was something you’d known much longer. You don’t just wake up one morning and think, ‘well the gays seem to be having fun, maybe I’ll try that for a while.’
I have to apologise because when you first “came out” I told people you had a boyfriend called ‘Bob’. I’m sorry I was ashamed of your sexuality (and I’m even more ashamed of the name I gave your fictional love interest, I wish I’d chosen something more sophisticated, like Pierre.)
Some people have looked at me with pity when I’ve told them about your life choice, in the same way you may look at someone who has lost a parent to cancer. People often ask if it’s difficult having a lesbian mother. I’ve always had trouble answering this question and I think its because I don’t really understand it. Your sexuality hasn’t altered who you are. You are far too concerned with whether I’m looking after myself, and while your constant hinting at how you look forward to being a grandma can get a little annoying, I don’t think either of these things are a result of your sexuality. I think they are what all mothers do.
Your sexuality choice has exposed me to many things that children born to straight parents will probably never experience. Most of the negativity associated with having a gay parent comes from the judgments made by straight people. You don’t know this, but when I was thirteen, some of my friends would awkwardly go and get changed in another room after phys-ed – I think they thought lesbianism was hereditary and that if I had inherited such a condition, I would automatically be attracted to all females.
Once when we were arguing, I said I wished you were more suburban and I insulted the fact that you didn’t really know how to bake. I can still remember how hurt you looked. At the time I knew it was the biggest insult I could hurl your way, you were always terrified of becoming suburban. But I want you to know I’m glad you are who you are. The fact that you are a strong, independent woman who has fought loudly and proudly for equality in this country has made up for the lack of cupcakes in my lunch boxes. (I don’t think your sexuality is directly related to your cooking ability, I’m sure there are many lesbians who make a mean chocolate brownie.)
Sometimes I feel sorry for the children of straight parents. I love the fact I’ve grown up surrounded by a community of people who will love and support me regardless of the choices I make.
I can’t imagine what a ‘straight’ Christmas lunch would be like. I remember one of my friends pointing out how fun our Christmas’s were because they were made up of a table of gay ‘uncles’ who could have come directly from a casting of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
What do ‘straight’ families do for entertainment once the presents have been opened? Surely they don’t get to have a heated political discussion that ends with an argument about which of the politicians are definitely in the closet or what Tony Abbott’s drag name would be if he were to ever make such a career change.
Some people may have considered it odd or even slightly terrifying when I turned up to schoolies week with a bag of condoms. I’d been sent well equipped by one of the gay ‘uncles’ who insisted that if I wasn’t there to be the safe sex police, then many of the schoolies would be playing with fire. Now if that’s not preparing you for life then I don’t know what is?
I’ve been teased for having a gay mum but I’ve also been teased for being tall and having curly hair. I get embarrassed when you kiss your girlfriend but I also get embarrassed when dad kisses his lady friend.
I really don’t care if you’re gay or straight. I don’t mind if you wear tutu’s during the day. And I’m even willing to overlook the fact you’re a terrible cook.
The most important thing you have taught me is that you should always be true to yourself. So as long as you’re happy and you’re happy to pay for dinner when we’re out, then you can be whatever you want.
Cushla Travers is a radio producer at 3AW, she does a podcast called Slapbang with Dave Thornton and Tommy Little and she once crashed the Brownlow wearing a blonde wig and low cut Hawthorn guernsey. Follow her on Twitter here.