Shoving It In Our Faces

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Words || Taj Lyons

In the wake of the Israel Falau’s controversial comments regarding the LGBT community and pride month ending not long ago in June, I thought my first article/opinion piece/blatant rant should be dedicated to why the ‘wet’ topic of queer sexuality makes such a splash against those like Folau. Beyond the common reasoning behind religious discrimination and hate, why is it that queer sexuality is seen as overt and obtusely expressed, when heteronormative representations of sexuality are glamorised?

Folau is no stranger to controversy for his controversial views, in an instagram post last year he stated that God’s plan for gay people was “HELL”.

Time and time again I have heard the tired narrative during times like Mardi Gras and pride month that queerness and sexuality is shoved down people’s throats almost as many times as I have heard: “What about straight pride?” When I hear this question, my initial reaction is confusion. Straight pride appears everywhere, there are even gender reveal parties that reveal a couple’s soon-to-be child by literally shooting at a box with a rifle until coloured smoke comes out — it was a boy, by the way. Of course, the common suspects saying that pride is shoved in people’s faces are likely traditional parents not wanting to harm their child through witnessing muscled gays wearing nothing but glitter and a gold speedo. (Don’t worry Linda, Timmy won’t be damaged by all the glitter but the turtles will.) However, I’m no innocent bystander. Despite being a sexually liberal bisexual, I still manage to be taken aback by niches of my community. Namely when the Furry float passes by during the Mardi Gras parade or from the many off-beat Grindr messages I receive by faceless profiles, I’m prone to an eyebrow raise or two, minus the kink shaming of course!

It could be said that the myriad of shock jock dating programs on commercial networks similarly ‘shove’ particular ideals down viewers’ throats. Key shows that come to mind that boast such sexual images include Channel 7’s Married at First Sight and The Switch, Channel 9’s Love Island and Channel 10’s The Bachelor. Now, I’m a sucker for reality dating shows as much as the next person — bachie in paradise will always be a fav of mine. Yet these shows have displayed the arranged marriages of strangers — even when same sex marriage of long time lovers was illegal — hypersexualised romances based around physical attraction and faux romance in the form of rose bouquet props. So why is it seen as more acceptable for shows like Love Island to have under-the-cover sex than to unleash your inner kink bunny at Pride? I suppose an easy answer to this would be that the above programs, despite elicit innuendos, project the possibility of love. With Married, Love, and Bachelor, despite the veneer of fidelity, the shows’ ratings can be attributed to acts of infidelity. A show like The Switch thrives off this concept, it’s like a wife swap for relationships. 

Who says that showing off some skin and wearing a crop top or freeing the nipple can’t be as meaningful as strangers marrying each other, quite literally, at first sight? Yes, I do widen my eyes occasionally at the sight of pet play or other kinky pride floats, but with all the other floats being amassed with rainbow logos advertising furniture, flights or political parties, it’s refreshing to see people owning it and not giving a damn about whether pride is “too sexualised.” What they used to be imprisoned for — and in some regions are still even killed, let’s not forget the plight for all queer folks — they now flaunt with mesh clothes, jock straps, harnesses and leather with irreverence. WET sensuality, sex, and lust can be just as meaningful as the love that shows like The Bachelor possess in the form of Hawaiian-styled picnics.

In the era of Rebecca Moore — if you know you know — those who have been previously marginalised now have the voice to be as outrageously extroverted as they please, so have your cake and eat it sluts.