The Sun Came Out

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickdouglas/260170912/in/photolist-oZrKo-4jc7UM-47VU8-51u2jB-FWLFYY-cNPAkS-q5io72-cpmzeb-9rwDnP-ntpwxH-cR5URL-cR5YJw-cR5WRm-cR6231-cR62rw-5JHukS-5zU8AG-dPV8VJ-qpzJmX-tz8JD-ktuA58-fZLJsh-ocYL8s-5sXboG-5JEppZ-qGdMRA-46uZse-5ZCA25-2RVKs-5tcYpw-ccvp63-5tdSJj-qS33jQ-dhQMmR-8fzPgk-fLtsC3-5tc1UJ-5zGgmE-9udmKX-9nY4NV-hbR1VB-dmaCx7-5C7pP-oggCoB-9YEdtC-pGFupX-bSTkQv-7KhoRa-pErvsa-nwLc3PSometimes – quite a lot of the time, actually – this seems a terrible place, especially to be an old gay man. Time speeds up, progress slows down, and patience wears very thin.

Sometimes, when I hear another young person has checked out of life because it’s all become too much, tears roll down my cheeks.

Sometimes, when I hear the aspartame-sodden tones of Lyle Shelton, or the spiky suppressed rage of Eric Abetz, I want to go berserk with a blunt fire-axe.

And once in a great while, I think there might be hope after all.

Yesterday when he got home from work my husband told me a story. Which is a big thing in itself, as he usually arrives with just enough energy to grunt “What’s for tea?” before bedding down for a nap.

A bunch of boys and girls, 14-16 years old, a noisy but not a rowdy bunch, got into his carriage as he rode the Metro home. Chattering, milling about, playing with their phones.
Some of them found seats but a group clustered near the doors.

In their midst, a tall, dark-haired boy leaned back against the partition, while a slightly shorter scruffier one leaned back on him, resting his head on his chest. The tall boy put his arms round his companion, who reached up and held his hands. They didn’t speak, but both were smiling contentedly.

No-one said a word, or teased them, or gave them anything other than a smile, a wave, a quick greeting, as they pushed past to get off at their stop. One old lady glared at them disapprovingly, but they didn’t even notice her.

My husband said it was beautiful to see. And I felt as if the sun had come out.

“You know, perhaps things are getting better,” he remarked. “I think the kids get it.”

“So, what’s for tea?”

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)