It was a mini-Mardi Gras on ABC last night.
“I don’t want to ban homosexuals, I don’t have a problem with homosexuals… Just with homosexual ACTS.”
And with that, Fred Nile showed everyone why we need shows like last night’s ‘Queer’ edition of ABC’s QandA, reminding us how far we still have to go.
In case you missed it, last night the ABC screened Between a Frock and a Hard Place, a documentary about Stephan Elliot’s iconic film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. For all the charm of the film, the raw homophobia portrayed in Priscilla reflected some of the very real horrors of being openly gay in Australia in the 70s and 80s.
I remember watching Priscilla well with friends. As a young gay man in Canberra, growing up in the 90s I didn’t experience the intense, overt homophobia of the outback towns portrayed in Elliot’s vision. Nonetheless, as a queer who always wanted to have kids, the film’s most important sequence, when Hugo Weaving’s character comes out to his son, resonated intensely for me. Finding family, love, and acceptance. Forget the frocks, the ping-pong balls, and the desert sand, that’s what Priscilla was about to me.
Despite how far we’ve come and the impact the film had, those three things still elude plenty of queer people.
And while today’s political hot potato is gay marriage, the QandA panel that followed Frock, thankfully, focussed on much more important issues to the queer community: homophobia in schools, transgendered rights, and gay parenting.
Here’s what we need to talk about after the show:
Should Fred Nile have been on the panel at all?
While Fred may have been outnumbered by queers on the panel, he certainly wasn’t afraid to personify historical attitudes to homos. Certainly, Twitter was offended at his inclusion:
Hi #qanda putting Fred Nile on isn’t embracing diversity. It is outrage bait more befitting the Daily Telegraph or Sunrise. Dickheads.
— Paris (@DavidParis) June 18, 2015
Fred did feel a little like a poop at a pool party: unfortunate but inevitable. He may have seemed like a wrinkled pinata, there to be batted about by the more vibrant members of the panel, but he was an important reminder that there’s still plenty of people who feel icky seeing ladies holding hands and men kissing and give zero shits about democracy or human rights. Especially when he said, “I don’t want to ban homosexuals, I don’t have a problem with homosexuals… Just with homosexual ACTS.” Oh…. Watch the Q and A panel discuss marriage equality below (post continues after video)…