I’ve never watched Big Brother, well, that’s not exactly true. I have actually seen snippets over the years, but enduring an entire episode seemed to me like a kind of torture. However, you can’t always ignore the masses and from the media explosion that occurred the moment our first gay Big Brother winner was announced, well, it was hard to ignore that something big was happening.
There are those for whom Benjamin’s win and subsequent marriage proposal to his boyfriend signifies a victory comparable to Barack Obama’s reinstatement as President. Then there are others who find it comical that anyone should be taking this event so seriously. And while it may have polarised some of the community somewhat, it is interesting to note that Australian television’s first gay marriage proposal happened on a ‘family orientated’ program.
Of course there has been some backlash. Some viewers have been ‘outraged’ over the fact that their children were exposed to a gay marriage proposal and have threatened to boycott Channel Nine. However, at last count of mainstream media readers’ comments they were barely making it into the double figures. Then there are others who have taken respite in the fact that same-sex marriage doesn’t actually exist so there’s ‘nothing to worry about anyway’. However, the overwhelming majority of comments have been supportive of Benjamin and his partner Ben, otherwise affectionately known as, B1 and B2. And while you may be someone who’d rather watch Penny Wong and Tony Abbott battle out the issue of marriage equality on the ABC’s Q & A, remember shows like Big Brother gain ratings our national broadcaster’s current affairs program could only dream about.
So what does it mean to have a gay man win a reality television show based on public voting? For one thing, it certainly proves that we’ve come a long way since 1970 when a member of the Australasian Lesbian Movement appeared on TV under the agreement that her face was ‘blacked out’. And what does it mean that this man felt comfortable enough to propose to his boyfriend in front of nearly 1.5 million viewers? Well, whether you are supportive of same-sex marriage or not, I reckon that’s a pretty significant moment for young queer kids to see.
In this issue we speak to the man who has made a lot of headlines this past week and his partner too. And our writer Mitch Neems gives us his take on what it all means.
We also bring you our second feature in our series on Rainbow Families, Sam Butler analyses what Barack Obama’s re-election means for America’s LGBT community, and Michael Magnusson is all about Opera Australia’s, Salome.