Head-butt? Marriage Equality Broke My Arm… And My Man-Love For Israel Folau


Tony Abbott claims to have been head-butted for his stance against marriage equality. Josh Dabelstein supports same-sex marriage… and he took a much bigger hit than that.

I got into an argument with a couple of ‘lads’ during my brief attempt at a law degree at the Australian National University in Canberra a few years ago.

I was with a girl who I had decided, that night, was the love of my life. Duly responding to the soft left’s beau de jour — a love-token for my heterocrush — I might have over-asserted my man-legiance to the whole gay marriage thing. My vague memory of the incident insists that this over-assertion of said man-legience was directed at two blurred and suited figures smoking cigars out the front of the Jolimont centre on Northbourne Avenue.

They made a homophobic jeer at a couple of blokes holding hands walking past, and I said something (I’m told) like “they’ll be married before you two cunts.”

I was out cold long before I hit the pavement. Two simultaneous punches to the face had my arm crumble beneath the weight of the rest of me.


My mother continues to remind me of the ‘eleven-thousand-dollar prosthesis’ that holds the radius and ulna together on my right arm, like I chose the extent to which medical insurance covers the miracles of modern science (without which I’d never hand write or masturbate with the only hand good enough to get the job done. The rest I’ll save for my therapist.

The point is that there are so many ways you can express your hatred of hatred, or what most people aren’t afraid of calling ‘love’. Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade. But most importantly, pick your battles. Trust me, pick your battles well and they wont cost your mum an arm or a leg.

Also while I’ve got the microphone, I’d like to say hello to Israel Folau.

Being the victim to your own youth and ‘cultural values’ is not an excuse, when it comes to expressing hatred that sees a disproportionate number of young Queers et al. take their laves every year.

Seriously, what is it with Israels…

I was 13 when I told a Rabbi that I’d rather keep my foreskin than go under the knife for an ancient ritual. If you are unable to challenge yourself, your identity, and the expectations of those who brought you into this world, then what agency do you have?

Agency separates us from animals, and from each other. Without it you victimise yourself and those who lack the mettle to stand up for themselves. Tying yourself to a palm tree and waiting out the shitstorm makes you lazy, Mr. Folau, and worse when you fling your shit opinions into the storm while it happens.

If you actually just believe that gay love is less real than your love for your own partner, or your love for your locker-room-towel-wiping-totally-not-and-definitely-not-gay-ball-sport-fun-times, then at least you’re standing up for yourself. I don’t agree with your beliefs but at least I’m convinced you actually have one. I’m convinced you aren’t too weak and image-conscious to throw your own God under the bus.

People we once respected fall like dominoes toward dusty and conservative marital ‘values’, and Israel Folau is the only one I will mention because I’m trying really hard to lower my Lithium dosage. These automata speak out as though announcing their bigotry is a demarcation of their own strength! As though choosing the hivemind over their own mind took courage!

Israel Folau and the rest of them now hide behind their Gods and their white picket fences while the rest of us wait with bated breath and crossed fingers, reading mean words written in the sky by fruitloops with skywriting businesses.


Marriage equality, by the way, didn’t break my arm. Standing up for human rights in a really juvenile way and relying solely on alcohol-fuelled chutzpah did.

I actually take full blame for the fate of my arm, because I ought know better than to expect those on the receiving end of my feel-pinions will respond with respect — especially considering their lack of respect for the rights of men walking past us holding hands.

I did not choose my battle wisely. This New Matilda column is my attempt to stand in solidarity with my queer mates, without the need to visit an emergency department. I also hope it motivates readers to ‘punch on’ on this issue (figuratively speaking) by sharing this story and writing their own.

My arm still tingles now and then. I’ll never box or rock climb, which won’t be getting in the way at all of my largely safe and sedentary lifestyle.

But same-sex attracted people get beaten up all the time, and I got just a taste of the experiences of millions of men and women who are broken and berated at the hands of short-sighted bigots and bores.

And here’s a link that might help.


Joshua Dabelstein is a writer's writer and a sporadic New Matilda contributor.