TOMORROW, August 1, is many things to many people.
For a start, it’s pay-day. Thank God.
For anyone of Swiss descent, it’s your national day. Happy Switzerland Day for tomorrow, Roger Federer.
For people of the Baha’i faith, it is the Feast of Perfection. Don’t get it wrong, now.
For the ancestors of the maternal side of my family it is Yorkshire Day. Knowing my relatives they’ll be off to the Stadium of Light to watch Sunderland get thrashed again. Or they would be if it was football season. They’ll probably go anyway, just for the pies.
For me and my ilk it also happens to be the National Day of Action for Same-Sex Marriage.
Now, don’t go running off, all you lovely straight people. This isn’t going to be a rant.
Although I could point out a recent Galaxy poll showed 60 per cent of Australians support same-sex marriage. And that among young people that rockets up to 74 per cent.
But I digress.
What I really want to talk about is the Gold Coast and the National Day of Action, because it highlights a rather uniquely GC phenomenon.
The NDA consists of a series of protests around the country in all the capital cities and many regional centres.
Lismore has one — contact Sean Rich on 02 6622 1555 for details.
I’m heading up to Brisbane to take part in that city’s protest at Queen’s Park from 1pm.
Why am I going to Brisbane and not taking part in the Gold Coast’s National Day of Action event?
Because the Gold Coast, sixth largest city in Australia — soon to be the fifth largest if the population forecasters are any judge — isn’t, as far as I can find out, holding a National Day of Action event.
The population of the Gold Coast is currently hovering somewhere between 550,000 and 600,000.
That means, if the city follows the trend of just about every city on the planet, with the exception of gay-heavy San Francisco and Sydney, that between 25,000 and 60,000 Gold Coast residents are either gay or lesbian. And yet it appears to be an almost invisible group of people.
Now, assuming for a moment I am not, in fact, the only queer in town, where exactly is the Gold Coast gay and lesbian community?
I’ve lived here almost 21 years. Admittedly I’m not one for the nightclubs, but I’m not exactly a recluse. Nor, you might have noticed, am I in the closet.
And yet I’ve never managed to find an enclave of ‘family’ here on the Coast.
I’m not looking for a date, by the way — just a feeling of belonging.
It’s not just me. A few weeks ago a colleague came to me on behalf of a friend of hers, a lesbian, who has lived in town a while and is becoming increasingly depressed because she feels isolated from any sense of community. Did I know where the gay community was hiding?
Sadly, I had to reply in the negative.
I hope there’s someone reading this who can disabuse me and fill me in on the secret.
Until then I have to settle for the realisation that the Gold Coast is not quite the sophisticated grown-up city it would like to think it is. Because for whatever reason, the gay community here — and there is one, somewhere — clearly doesn’t feel safe enough to be visible.
And in the meantime I’ll get my activist freak on up in BrisVegas, where at least the gays feel safe enough to stick their heads up above the ramparts in the name of a good cause.