Monday, June 12, 2006

Here come the brides

Last week I went to a 6th birthday party and a small child I didn't know proudly brought me this ladybug to show me. She was entranced. All the other kids were running around wildly, playing 'What's the Time Mr Wolf?' and making forts in the trees, while she turned over leaves looking for bugs.

Her mother, seeing that I had become the solemn noticer of said, 'Oh yes, Lucy is just obsessed with insects. She loves them. We are only just learning that she can't keep them; they die and she is devastated. So now she looks at them and holds them until they fly away.'

Lovergirl's nephew Tim is the same age, and he's fixated on cars. He can name many different brands of cars, and discuss wisely the reasons why you might have different sorts of cars - four wheel drives, or station wagons, or coupes or soft-tops. He arranges his own extensive collection of matchbox cars in various comnbinations along the hallways of the apartment. And little Max, whose birthday it was, loves fabrics. He loves the textures and the colours, he loves draping them around things, decorating household items like lamps and beds and couches, and instructing any willing adults to add indivicual touches to his shop-bought clothes - a bit of leopardskin velour in the middle of a plain skivvy, a fringe of gold material down the side of a pair of jeans.

How common are these fascinations? And how long do they last? Will Lucy become an entomologist, Tim an automotive engineer, and Max a fashion designer? Or will they forget all about it and become drudging policy writers, shop assistants and accountants like the rest of us?

More big fusses about gay marriage at the moment. SMH commentator Adele Horin, while all for us marrying if that's what we want to do, is bewildered by our desire for the holy state of matrimony, and says John Howard should celebrate gays wanting to get married as a triumph of conservatism - we are finally wanting to make our way back into the fold of monogamy, commitment and conservative values. Instead, he flaps about saying that gay marriage "undermines the traditional institution" - although I thought the straights had done a pretty good job of undermining it themselves.

Strangely enough, a big supporter of gay marriage is Warren Entsch, a Liberal redneck federal parliamentarian from Far North Queensland (you don't get much more redneck than that) who said asylum seekers should be left to starve in their boats out to sea. For some reason he's taken this on as a human rights issue. I suppose us gays are Austrayan, unlike the evil queue jumpers. It's funny where people draw the line about what they are willing to stand up for.

I don't know if I'd actually get married, but I don't like someone telling me I can't. I was at a forum on gay marriage recently - the Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby wanted information on whether it was something they should be fighting for. One woman - a portly older lawyer with a long grey plait snaking down her back - was fiercely against it, saying it would be too hard on underprivileged lesbian couples who at the moment can each claim unemployment benefits becasue they are not recognised as a couple. Her argument was something along the lines of it being a fair compensation for all the shit we still put up with. For me, it seems like selling our rights for thirty pieces of silver - that small loophole means that gays and lesbians are divided on whether or not we want to be recognised as legal couples. Thus diddling ourselves out of all sorts fo things like superannuation and parenting rights and inheritance and decision making if our partner is in a horrible accident and so on - but also just some intangible respect as a proper relationship.

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