Queers In The Family


It’s funny, isn’t it, how life so often throws you a curveball in the matter of your family? The football star has a son who wants only to dance. The coal-miner spawns a playwright. The stripper gives birth to a lass who defies her mother and takes up biochemistry. The classic television show Family Ties illustrates the point perfectly: the Keatons, idealistic liberal ex-hippies, have successful careers, while their children suffer crippling personality disorders that will prevent them achieving anything of note.

As in sitcoms, so in life. With the revelation that Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster is, if I may speak bluntly, a practitioner of the gentle art of Sapphaerobics, we were once again confronted with members of the same family diametrically opposed in their proclivities. Previously we may have believed that this phenomenon was restricted to the Costello effect — wherein both siblings are incredibly annoying, but one uses his annoyingness for good and one for evil — but now we have to realise it goes much much further.

In fact, as Ms Forster joins Bob Katter’s brother Carl, Andrew Bolt’s sister Stephanie, Newt Gingrich’s sister Candace and Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary, we are forced to admit that the greater the tendency for a person to warn society of the dangers of brutish, orc-like gays who are constantly trying to recruit our children and expose our poor fashion sense, the greater the likelihood of finding a homosexualist of some kind in your family who will unveil themselves in public at an inconvenient moment.

Why is this so? Is it that parents only have a certain amount of homophobia in them, and if they expend all of it on one child, they’ll have none left for the next one, who will therefore be gay as a mallard? Is it that a child raised in an anti-gay atmosphere will naturally rebel, as will a child raised in a gay-friendly atmosphere? Is it the ancient concept of yin and yang made flesh, as the universe attempts to achieve balance? Or is it that if someone is gay, their whole family is actually gay, but some of them become raving right-wing lunatics in order to repress their flamboyant sexual urges?

Any of the above could be true, and each of them deserves careful consideration in a long-winded and incredibly boring Quarterly Essay. But the answer proves elusive. We may never know why conservatives and gays go together.

It’s really a chicken and egg problem, sociologically speaking. Take the example of Christine Forster. Did Tony Abbott develop into a semi-functional right-winger in reaction to his sister’s stridently pro-clitoris stance, or did his bizarre Liberal fetish come first, and his sister’s diversion from a traditional lifestyle into a more Melissa Etheridge-ish one occur as an act of rebellion against that? Scientific evidence suggests that gayness is usually adopted out of spite. Then again, becoming a Liberal is the only known exception to the laws of evolution.

What is certain is that it must cause these bastions of the Right much heartache to find themselves so opposed to their own flesh and blood. They must feel the sting of embarrassment, that flushed feeling you get when you try to defend civilisation while all the time a nagging voice in the back of your head is telling you that at this very moment your own sibling is probably doing something revolting with someone else’s thighs. It must be hell to be a conservative these days.

That’s why I call on my conservative brothers and sisters to allow themselves to relax a little bit. Don’t get so uptight. Embrace your alternative relations and let a little bit of the homosexual light brighten your lives.

I mean really, once you get past the grossness, homosexuality has a lot to recommend it. For a start, lesbians: hot. Not that I’m suggesting that Tony Abbott should necessarily be aroused by his sister’s sex life, but maybe she could introduce him to some of her lady-lover friends whose lasciviousness he could enjoy in good conscience. Imagine it, Tony — it’d be like living in The L Word!

Secondly, gay folks are extremely stylish. Are you telling me, Mr Katter, that you couldn’t benefit, even a little bit, from a bit of aesthetic advice from little bro Carl? Don’t you think that hat could be a smidgen more fabulous? Don’t you think you could put that stockpile of dead crocodiles in your deep freeze to better use

Thirdly, there is the question of "being the bigger man", and not in the homosexual penis-related sense that would be very funny here. When there is conflict between siblings, someone has to back down and extend the hand of friendship. It’s not going to be the gay one, given they have already abandoned their sense of morality. Your average right-winger has only abandoned most of their morality, so Tony, Bob, Andrew, et al, isn’t it time you swallowed your pride and put family ahead of disgusting bodily fluids?

We all know that your brothers and sisters will receive their just punishment in the next life: why torment them with estrangement in this? Just step up and pretend to love your family: it will bring harmony not only to you, but to the nation.

Fourthly, and I have this on very good authority from some of my more perverted friends, gay sex is from all reports pretty damn great. It’s not for nothing that they say, "Once you go gay, you never go away". It’s very easy for a Tony Abbott or Andrew Bolt to refrain from a homosexual lifestyle: they’ve never tried it. Maybe if they did, they too would fall prey to the irresistible intoxication of sexual sameness. It can happen to the best of us.

Fifthly, seeing such pillars of the community support their families will spread tolerance and love everywhere. "If Tony can show sympathy to his sister," we will say, "surely I can show sympathy to this young man who I am threatening with violence and sort of hoping I can get to kiss me!" Monkey see, monkey do, as they say in the jungle where I believe the gays originated.

Finally, and most importantly: guys, you don’t look well. Tony, you seem strained and tense, always on edge, jumping at shadows, ready to run a marathon or strangle a farm animal at the slightest provocation. Much more tension and I fear your neck veins will turn on you and pull out your eyeballs. Bob, I’m sure if you could relax a bit you could get rid of that nasty throat condition that makes you sound all husky as if you’re about to cry. And Andrew, always so grumpy — if you would just lighten up a bit and put on a Frank Goes To Hollywood t-shirt I feel certain that you’d lose that curmudgeonly, Ted-Danson-as-Becker-esque demeanour.

Looking overseas, I bet if Dick Cheney had boarded a figurative cruise to Lesbos, he wouldn’t have needed that new heart and if Newt Gingrich doesn’t become more easygoing soon he may well go the way of his old boss, Lucifer.

The simple fact is, getting behind your gay sibling — but not literally because that’s a bit rude — is good for your health.

A lot of people find gay people scary, because they are — they’re bloody terrifying, especially the big ones in singlets. But there’s no reason why, if our noble fascist-leaning leaders show the way, we can’t move into the future as one big, happy, mutually slightly suspicious and occasionally leather-clad family.

Let a thousand flowers bloom. All of you out there with gay and lesbian siblings, put an arm around their shoulders and say, "I accept you as you are and I will see you next Christmas". And finally, Australia will be as one.

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