When I was growing up, there were certain staple things in my life. The sun always rose right into my eyes in my bedroom. My paddocks ALWAYS stank of horse manure. And men were men and were meant to be with women. There are a multitude of other things, but I�ll be blown if those three things will let them surface through the alcohol bogged mire that is my memory.
Now, some 20 odd years later, I can reorient my bed so the sun doesn�t bother me, I live in a cramped 2 bedroom unit, with no horse manure for miles, and well, I�m still a man�s man, I just happen to sleep with guys.
In this day and age a completely normal thing, if a little jaded by society�s interpretation of what it means.
In this new post �Brokeback Mountain� era, guys like me are becoming more prominent. By guys like me I mean, those who yes, are proud of the fact that they are able to accept their born sexuality, but do not feel the need to run screaming down Oxford St, limp wrists flailing in nothing but a pair of hot pink cut-offs and a navel tied midriff top.
Part of the reason this negative and destructive stereotype exists is the lack of positive role models.
When dealing with my sexuality, the only poster boys I had to look to were the queens in the Mardi Gras, movies like �Priscilla, Queen of the Desert� and that guy off �Are you being served?�. Not exactly what you would call positive role models by any stretch of the imagination.
So, when I moved to Sydney just after turning 19, I thought, ok, I know what I need to do, I have to hit Oxford St, stuff in the drugs, sleep with as many guys as I can, and perpetuate the myth, in short, be the perfect little gay boy that society expects me to be.
After 6 months of this, I was a head case, my body and mind were well and truly drug f**ked, and I had a horrible empty feeling like I was betraying myself and all I had been bought up to believe.
How different my life could have been if I had strong positive masculine gay role models to grow up with.
Statistically speaking, one in every ten males are homosexual, if you do the math, with 15 NRL teams of 17 players each, then a statistical possibility of 25.5 homosexual first grade players exists, then of course there�s all the premmy�s and fleggy�s and those who �were just experimenting coz I was drunk�.
Now I wouldn�t in my wildest dreams suggest that the number is that high, but it certainly isn�t the one player I can name who only admitted to it after his playing days.
Even then, Ian Roberts, as much as I applaud his frankness, (however late it was) then went on to become the stereotype, hitting the bars and clubs of Oxford St, further helping drive that wedge deeper between �Gay� and �Straight� society and perpetuate the myth.
The point I make is that these boys probably don�t even realize what a powerful influence they could be to a young guy coming to terms with his sexuality, especially in remote areas where there is absolutely no outreach, unless you count the hyper-masculine anti-gay rhetoric that is prevalent.
Even those lucky guys who live in the big smoke have it hard, with a very strong emphasis put on coming out big style and embracing the gay culture as society has molded it, which is not a good thing.
There is always a lot of pressure, especially from the media, about how important it is for our league players to be strong role models, but its always for things like the equal treatment of women, or the responsible consumption of alcohol, abstinence from drugs, charity work, this one extra thing could further help bridge that divide that is ever so slowly narrowing.
Sure, it�s a big ask, and the backlash would be huge for a time, not to mention the fact they would have every fag from Oxford St to Greenwich Village chasing them. But if Hollywood can start making that change, the NRL boys can too, then eventually it will be a non-issue, the cesspool that is the gay scene can be buried where it belongs, and guys like me can just be, well, guys like me.