#MarriageEquality in 2019: @burgewords says just you wait and see

After you’ve done all the lobbying, it seems what you have to do in Australia to achieve LGBTIQ equality, is wait. MARRIAGE Equality will be legislated in Australia no sooner than 2019. I know many will fly into a rage about that assertion, but let’s get real for a few moments: the current Coalition will never independently instigate a change to the Marriage Act allowing equal access to same-sex couples. Even this week, Malcolm Turnbull told us it’s a plebiscite or nothing, and despite the fact that he has no money for a public vote, he means it. Before you lose your shit at me, you need to acknowledge that the majority of the […]

Coming out in the cold: @burgewords reviews #Carol

The wait for enlightenment will be long, and the darkest, pre-dawn hour lies ahead. WITH nothing more complex than a series of firmly-closed doors, the film Carol takes a powerful dramatic turn that subtly gives two women the space to explore their attraction. When Therese (Rooney Mara) slips into the passenger seat beside Carol (Cate Blanchett) and shuts out her fiancé, they leave him blinking on the kerbside. Soon after, Carol’s old flame Abby (Sarah Paulson) firmly shuts her front door on Carol’s estranged husband (Kyle Chandler), leaving him awkwardly-framed through a small window. But it is the shutting of the door between the two protagonists – closed by Carol against […]

#Homophobia for the holidays: @burgewords on creating #LGBT characters

It would surprise most people to see what a strong thread of prejudice runs through families. Spending time with family over Christmas and New Year can be a challenge for anyone, but journalist and author Michael Burge explains how his first collection of short stories grew in the fertile ground of familial homophobia. WHEN I began writing fiction, I didn’t understand at first that the theme I was really exploring was homophobia. After years of churning out scripts in the corporate world, which was not sustaining me in any kind of career, I decided to turn my hand to short stories. Over the course of about ten weeks in late 2009, I started […]

#QuestionableDeeds in action: @burgewords in conversation with @margokingston1

WHEN I asked Margo to help me launch my non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love and my first collection of short stories Closet His, Closet Hers, Tony Abbott was still Prime Minister and marriage equality remained on the never never. When we met this week at Avid Reader bookshop in West End, Brisbane, I remarked to Margo that much had changed, although a free vote on marriage equality for same-sex attracted Australians had been traded for power by yet another prime minister. What ensued was a fascinating night of insights into the ongoing debate, the changing of hearts and minds, and the nature of writing about pain, loss and politics. […]

The making of a #MarriageEquality advocate: @burgewords extract

IRELAND’S yes vote for marriage equality kicked a rainbow-coloured goal for LGBTQI people around the globe, and while the major Australian political parties fight for ownership of the ball, this extract from an upcoming non-fiction podcast and book by MICHAEL BURGE is a reminder of how far we’ve come. Marriage, like a seed, was planted within me as a concept. IN the lead up to the 2004 federal election the issue of same-sex marriage hit the media. The year prior, various provinces followed Ontario’s lead in Canada and allowed same-sex marriages to take place. Many Australians availed themselves of this legislation since it did not require the couples to be residents, but […]

Dancing around casual #homophobia: @burgewords comments on #WaitInTheCar #JazzHands

To many same-sex-attracted people, the stink of casual homophobia is unmistakable. ONE of the big stories of the week came and went as quickly as a Channel Nine dancer running screaming past the camera. Breaking late on Tuesday afternoon from the Fairfax stable, what became known as the French Ambassador incident trended at least twice on Twitter in the following 24 hours, then disappeared. It’s hard to ascertain exactly what happened. Most media reported that Australia’s Ambassador to France, Stephen Brady, was witnessed shouting at someone on a Paris tarmac before, during or after the arrival of Prime Minister Tony Abbott fresh from Gallipoli late on Anzac Day. The reason – […]

The Aussie who loved and left us: @burgewords #CreatingWaves on Sumner Locke Elliott

  Expats often get a bad name, perhaps because they heed the bogan’s call to ‘love’ or ‘leave’ our shores, but Elliott had the courage to do both. ALL this talk about progressive thinkers packing up and leaving Australia, if we don’t love what’s happening politically in our country, brings to mind the ones who actually went through with it. With his intriguing, genderless, triple-barrelled name, novelist, playwright and screenwriter Sumner Locke Elliott (1917-1991) remained almost unknown in the country of his birth for much of his life, because he left it early and rarely returned. I am sure many Australians have never heard of the writer of the iconic Australian novel Careful, He Might Hear […]

It’s too late for #MarriageEquality in Australia: @burgewords #CreatingWaves

IN April 2013 Guardian Australia journalist Gay Alcorn declared the culture war was over for marriage equality and confidently asserted that after “a year or two” LGBTQI couples would bask in the same connubial rights as straight Australians. She declared the debate “interminably dull” and credited lobby group Australian Marriage Equality’s (AME) latest pitch for support – via the small business benefits of allowing same-sex marriage – with triggering her boredom threshold. Because I didn’t think Alcorn’s angle helped the debate, I began a long analysis of the foot-dragging this political football has endured in Australia. Here we are eighteen months since her boredom levels peaked, and only one thing has changed: support for marriage equality in […]

Thorpie did not have a Sweet Sixteen: @burgewords #CreatingWaves for @IanThorpe

  I WASN’T going to write about Ian Thorpe’s coming out. What more can there be to say about this moment in his life, which has huge ramifications for him but should have none for us? But then I read one article which got me angry, the kind of piece I’d hoped to avoid but which I knew would surface: the ‘Ian Thorpe Lied To Us’ type article. I also wanted to watch the interview he gave to Michael Parkinson before forming too many thoughts. The only unexpected moment was when ‘Thorpie’ recalled being asked about his sexuality at the age of 16. Parkinson picked-up on Thorpe’s affront at this and ran with it, […]

Opera, give it to me straight: @burgewords #CreatingWaves on @Tamar_Iveri

Amid the ongoing flurry about Georgian opera singer Tamar Iveri and the comments she made in the social media about a protest march in Georgia on International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in May, 2013, there is an assumption the soprano is just one homophobic voice in an accepting international opera industry, an aberration who must be silenced. In an open letter to her country’s president, the singer compared gay people to “fecal masses”, a description picked-up by the social media ahead of Ivari’s scheduled performances for Opera Australia this year. While I believe it’s hypocritical of her to court Western dollars for her performances while condemning Western values which have attained mainstream followings, like […]