When Carl Katter was interviewed recently, the nation learned he was the gay, half-brother of Federal Independent politician Bob Katter. But there’s more to the story. His story of struggle and torment at the hands of bigots and hate-mongers is one of strength and perseverance. And the thing about Carl is that his story could be the one of any young gay, lesbian or transgender youth growing up ‘different’ in regional Australia.
His is a statement of account. Just who, exactly, will be held accountable for spreading hatred that leads to youth suicide? The hypocrisy of those who campaign on the rate of bush suicides who then say the idea of equality should be laughed at and ‘ridiculed’ is not lost on him.
This is what matters to Carl.
Check Mia’s full length and unedited interview with Carl here and our Q&A below:
1. I really want to know about the burden of growing up gay in the country. Why is it different?
It probably isn’t different. There are less people in regional areas so you are less likely to interface with gays and lesbians and more likely to interface with bigots. I still have some very close and open minded friends from Charters Towers.
I have many fond memories of my younger years pretty much up until I was 12 years old; having a dynamic Father and Mother we kids often were dragged across the country with them for work. I would happily say I had a pleasant childhood, most of the time.
Dad passed away when I was 13 so this combined with going through puberty, starting high school and discovering I was attracted to males more so than females culminated in an enormous challenge for me with so much change all at once! In regards to my sexual orientation, it just seemed totally normal for me to be attracted to the same sex. At least it did at the time.
We moved to Charters Towers from Mt Isa, as mum thought it would be best for us to attend the school my father had gone to. It was a classic bush boarding school. And that is pretty much where and when the hate started. It didn’t take long for me to realise that being attracted to the same sex was a very, very bad thing and the worst and most offensive name to be called was either faggot, poofter, gay, homo, gaylord and so on, so I had to smarten up quick! I did this by devoting the majority of my out of school time to extracurricular activities such as Rugby League.
The school I went to held Rugby League in very high esteem. I tried to get involved in as much at school as possible but it just didn’t work. It was hard to make friends and I was also treated like I was different all the time. There was only so far my charade would carry me. I finally stopped dating girls in grade 11 as it was becoming such a joke.