A Change Is As Good As A Holiday

For those that do not know me personally, I have recently relocated from the stormy and cold city of Sydney, to the sunny, friendly and breathtakingly beautiful state of Queensland. An opportunity came up at work to relocate and after much soul searching (a whole 24 hours) I said yes and then it seemed as if I blinked and it was time to move.

I haven’t talked much about my time in Sydney, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding times of my life. I moved after completing a 12 week challenge that reinvigorated my body, I had dreams, I had ambition and a new job and everywhere I went it seemed like everyone around me was shitting all over it. I had one persistent and ever optimistic friend (thanks Sipple!) who encouraged me to keep going for my dreams and if it wasn’t for here I would not have experienced half of what I did in my time there.

Sydney was amazing for my Novastream website, movie premieres, gaming events, networking and connections and I found myself busying my life with this noise and surrounding myself with “things to do” that were distracting me from what was really going on inside. I had up and moved and left all of my friends behind, and instead of taking all I had learnt with me, I fell victim to what I am calling “Sydney Syndrome”, an infectious disease that I found in a lot of people I met with there.

They, like me, had moved to Sydney hoping to achieve their dreams, they had big plans, make it big, get rich, get connected enough that they could then get out and live where they wanted to and all would be right in the world. One of these people (whose name I have changed for the sake of this article) is Mike. Mike had moved here 12 months before I did, working at a low level paying office job in the CBD, a horrible boss, whose dreams had also been squashed by the city lights, he went in day and day out, 5 sometimes 6 days a week and had dreams of running a Google like empire. He had the degree, he had the connections, but the city had beaten him down, told him that too many other people were trying to do the same thing, so what is the point of trying to do it? You will try, fail and then have to come back to work here and will end up resenting yourself and life. No, no, it is easier and more rewarding if you just stick to what you know and leave that to Sundar Pichai’s of the world.

Another friend Bettina, had been living here for 6 years, she wanted to be a news reporter, and now worked in the low level administration for a television studio. She spent her days answering phones, through her window she could see the news desk and coerced with journalists and camera crew all day, sitting there longing for the job, but overtime she thought she tried, she was denied, feeling like she was always overlooked for someone younger, someone prettier so she descended into madness and monotony and decided to stick to what she knew.

11899833_1013832655314488_6360501487668572819_n

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a trashing Sydney post, I learned so much from my time there about myself, about other people and about the world. All I will say is that it was definitely not the place for me. I do miss the coffee and the late night shopping combined with the consistent slew of events that the city just seems to pump out day and night throughout the year. Sydney will always have a fond place in my heart, it taught me a lot about myself and revealed some ugly truths that I had to face and deal with.

So where am I now? I am in Queensland, everyday is feeling like a holiday at the moment, I go to work during the day, then in the afternoons and evenings I get to explore some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet (I could possibly be biased here, just a little!) I feel like this place has defrosted me from the inside out. I am dating again, and successfully this time (I think…) work is great, my direction and purpose feel revitalised and the blocks that were stopping me are feeling further and further away. If I get bored or need inspiration I can drive to a beautiful beach, go for a walk in the golden sand, eat ice cream and go on a rollercoaster, and it’s still winter! I feel lucky and blessed to be here and I would not want it any other way.

An Open Letter To Foxtel & AME

On Monday Foxtel’s Facebook page went rampant with posts about an advertisement for the Marriage Alliance “Same Sex Marriage : There’s More To It Than You Think” (see ad here) Hundreds of disgruntled customers and annoyed LGBT Australians and supported flooded the page with messages of anger and disgust over the decision to air these ads repeatedly over the weekend. The ad claims that same sex marriage will lead to changes in sex education in schools, effect children and directs viewers to a website to find more information (you really should check it out!)

Like clockworks customers and the LGBT community and its supporters hit the Foxtel Facebook page, flooding it with outrage. Cancellations and promises of moving to streaming services flowed on their page for days, as well as members of the LGBT community and their supporters tearing down the company for daring to air the ad. I was also one of these people, not a Foxtel subscriber, but a member of the LGBT community and felt outraged that an ad I hadn’t bothered to watch was aired on a service that I did not have. So after I wrote a scathing message condemning Foxtel for daring to show the ad, I actually watched it and realised that it wasn’t anywhere near as offensive as others had claimed, and that I was more offended that the Marriage Alliance seemed to blame the gay community for sinking the Titanic!

Foxtel were not the only one’s to cop it, the Australian Marriage Equality Twitter page was bombarded with messages of outrage, as they had previously confirmed that Foxtel were a corporate sponsor and support of AME. This response was posted by the AME in conjunction with Foxtel :

“Australian Marriage Equality values the support shown by Australia’s business community for marriage equality. Foxtel is among our corporate supporters.

A group opposing marriage equality, known as “the Marriage Alliance”, is currently airing an advertisement through various media outlets including Foxtel. It is their right to express their views.

The feedback from decision-makers in Canberra is that the “Marriage Alliance” advertisement is actually helping our campaign. The ad offers nothing new and and our research indicates that when opponents of marriage equality express their views in the way they have, support for marriage equality increases.

We urge community members who are angry about the ad to turn their anger into positive action.

If you’re outraged with the Marriage Alliance’s campaign the best way to end it is to help make marriage equality happen and recruit everyone you know to help. There are actions listed on our new website www.wecandothis.org.au

You can leave a message in support of marriage equality on our Equality Calling hotline 1300663679. Your message will go direct to your MP and Senators.”

Similarly Fairfax media have aired the ad on Channel Nine and online on their news website. In response they have said a Fairfax Media spokesman said:  “The advertising Fairfax runs is just that, advertising, and not reflective of the company’s position on anything whatsoever.”

It is hard to not get emotional about this issue, Tony Abbott himself confirmed that this is a very personal and emotional subject and it is easy to get upset when the opposite opinion is aired. It is easy to forget that we live in a democratic country that has the openness to show both sides of an argument and it is our job as human beings to respect that there are two sides. We don’t have to agree with it, we don’t have to support it, but we should as human beings and Australian’s at least allow for that other opinion to be heard. Now before you start commenting and biting my head, you should know my stance on the issue. I am a gay man and I support marriage equality 100%. I am not in a relationship so this is not something that is an immediate option for me, but I do have friends who have been in loving and fruitful relationships for many years, who would love the option to enter into a marriage in the eyes of their country.

The good news moving forward is that the five day span of Marriage Alliance ads are now over, in that time we saw a six hour parliamentary debate happen with the current government to decide what to do moving forward with this issue, yes no decision was made, but what did come out of it was more conversation and more discussion within our community. Media outlets like The Project and MammaMia have posted articles and videos in support of Marriage Equality and condemning the speech from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who remains stagnant on the issue. American actor and comedian Jack Black even voiced his opposition to Abbott stating “I personally think the guy’s living in the stone ages, though. He’s not seeing the writing on the wall. The movement of the world is heading towards equality for all people, all sexual preferences. Come on, we’re all the same in the end. Who cares what gives you a boner. Really?”

So where to from here? I can confirm that Australian Marriage Equality have their own ad coming and it will run for a lot longer than the five days given to Marriage Alliance, just like you I jumped down Foxtel’s throat without thinking, without investigating further what would happen with Foxtel’s alliance with the AME and how this will change things in the future. If you look at Marriage Equality in other countries, it has passed when both sides have been given time to air, because in the end love wins. Showing the ad from the Marriage Alliance highlight’s the ignorance and exploitation of children, while AME show’s nothing but pure and beautiful love, love that should be celebrated, love that should be encouraged and love that should be accepted.

I guess this is a really long way of me personally apologising to Foxtel for jumping the gun and posting my ill-informed message on your Facebook wall. At the time I withdrew Novastream affiliation for Foxtel and affiliated streaming service Presto with our upcoming podcast The Streaming Show, we now would like to reinstate our full support and thank Foxtel for supporting the AME and airing pro marriage equality ads on their channels. We look forward to the day that Australia finally achieves marriage equality, until then there will be plenty of debate around the issue and remember, in the end love always wins!

Understanding Children

I know, you just read the title and thought what would a gay man know about children? I mean until the other day, I didn’t have a full understanding of the female reproductive system and the in-depth knowledge of what happens when a girl has her period (apart from the horror movie style bleeding scenes that we love to imagine!) nearly 12 months ago my best friend had a baby, and it was such a terrifying time for me, usually in the past when friends have had babies, they morph into this monster that see single people as “sad” and “lonely” and the worst “unfulfilled because you don’t have children” So naturally I expected the same thing to happen, and while they assured me nothing would change, I was convinced it was only a matter of time.

The baby arrived and (not biased at all!) is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She is funny and smart, with personality to boot! I always used to roll my eyes at children and think meh I could never be that interested in one, oh how wrong I was!

I already felt like a member of the family, and them having this child only accelerated it further. I can’t even describe how protective and loving I am of this child, and it didn’t even come out of me!(so I can only imagine how my friend feels about her!) All I want to do is cuddle and kiss her and wrap her up in a fuzzy pink dressing gown and have her stay that way forever!

We were at the show and I wanted to get her something for Easter that wasn’t chocolate (I am waiting till she is a little bit older, I can have her for the morning, pump her full of chocolate and send her back to Mum & Dad with a new drum kit!) and found the most precious beautiful hand made plush bunny rabbit. The stall lady wrapped it in a brown paper bag and we took it back to her. She opened the bag herself and pulled the bunny out, and the look of pure joy on her face smashed my heart and as she cuddled it to her head and smiled I am not ashamed to say I got a little teary and the love I felt in my heart-like area was unlike anything I have ever felt before. My Mum always says that Christmas isn’t the same when your kids grow up and you can’t see their faces, and I always say “Yeah yeah whatever, we are still your children, you can still buy us stuff up!” and grin at her stupidly. Now I think I understand what she means, if I could I would buy her a present  a day just to see that look on that beautiful little face, the pure joy and love from something so simple.

The day went on and on and I had that “ah-ha!” moment, this is what children are, this is what they bring that I have never understood before. So as I was walking home, the undeniable question lingered “Do you want kids?” and to be honest, it was never something that I considered to be a possibility before, I have always been that “self-involved” person so it never occurred to me that I could love anyone more than myself. But I love knowing that question is lingering and I now have a deeper understanding of what children are and why breeders (hehe) go so crazy over them.

Dedicated to…

4 years ago I started working at the local water board as a summer job, it was there that I met the most amazing, inspiring and beautiful person I have ever met (and will possibly ever meet!) This funny, bubbly, bouncy, boob-a-licious babe named Nicole Lawler.  We were seated next to each to each other and felt a connection straight away, we would spend the days delaying work while laughing and generally just having a great time the two of us, seated away from everyone else (personally I think it was because we were the loudest!)

We had a few dinners outside of work, Nicole came to a few of my house parties (oh good lord!) and then I met her husband Ryan. It is extremely rare that you forge a friendship with someone, to go on and then have one with their partner that is equally as strong. So i guess this is dedicated to both Ryan and Nicole.

We all have the same sense of humour and find the same things funny. Ryan is one of the first straight guys that I was able to have a friendship with and it is great.

Even though they have moved away (three times now!!) it never feels like we are apart. Nicole and I have a weird connection, the type where someone says something and we know what each other is thinking. It is so good having that with someone.

Through Ryan and Nicole I also got to meet her sister Hayley, who is just as much fun and hilarious as Nicole is. Add in Pete and Deb, Tania and John, Meredyth. Shawn and Chantelle, Mark, Rob and Lachie and a solid group of Canberra kids was born. All of these peeps have added such value to my life and I treasure the times that we get to see each other (even though it is very rare!)

We have had so many amazing moments together, we have all been through so many changes through deaths, births, job losses, overseas living (yeah thanks for that bitches!) I had my first visit to “rural Australia” feeding cows and riding quad bikes with EPIC feats hosted by Mama Deb aka Whoopi. Nicole tailgating a car through parking because we were too cheap to pay the $2.50 ticket, watching movies, and my favourite activity – eating pastries with double cappuccino in our pj’s.

I really could not ask for more supportive, more loving and more amazing friends like the two of you. Your wit, your energy, your love and nature make this world a better one to live in and I hope you know how much I adore you both (and your new giggling bundle of joy!) Thank you for always being yourself, for always telling me how it is and not what I want to hear. You are inspiring and I am so grateful to have met you.