Wedding warning bells
Pat Abboud would just like to attend a relative’s wedding without being solicited with potential female suitors.
So it’s showdown week where every pollie and his dog are still trying to woo us with their la la on marriage equality. Last election saw matrimony marked firmly on Australia’s political agenda. Well move over Mitzy and take your drag clan too – this time around homo nuptials have really stolen your spotlight. And I don’t know about you but I’m drowning in political campaign poo right now. All I want to do is flush a few heads in Canberra down the shit-can.
Last month I introduced myself as a proud GWOG, and my column as a space where I’d talk about all things gay and wog, ethnic and queer. Hell I even promised travel and adventure to exotic places. We will jet-set soon but in keeping with the theme of marriage, I actually want to take you on a trip closer to ‘home’ – the suburbs where I grew up. It might just change your view on getting hitched – maybe even sway a few votes if you’re even at all considering voting for loony Lib Abbott.
On Saturday night I was buried in the bowels of western Sydney where I sat through a wog wedding that went off in diarrhetic proportions. You might not think it’s fitting to compare a wedding with the act of shitting your guts out. But honestly – as beautiful as matrimony can be, straight wog weddings for a queer Arab like me can be just as painfully explosive.
We’re in Merrylands about 50 minutes drive from Sydney city. My sister-in-laws brother’s tying the knot. He’s a Leb. Bride is a Cook Islander. With a cast of 500-plus guests, food porn stacked to feed a family for months, an endless sea of sequined dresses, shiny lapels and up-styles du-jour – it’s a flamboyant OTT affair. Ironically, it’s almost just like a drag show.
You can picture the celebration and pride gleaming from the parents of these newlyweds. A constant flow of gush, killer jaw cramps as bad as gas in your belly (from all the fake smiling) and a stench in the air that reeks of inequality. Sitting at the table with my parents and my brothers (both of whom have their wives at their side) I sat alone. Why? Because I’ve never been able to bring my partner to an event like this.
Just like the essence of gay marriage has been bastardised as a political football – I’m looked at by everyone here as the bastard unmarried ’30-something’ that’s, in their eyes, unhappy, alone and looking for a bride. Although my parents are amazingly supportive of who I am, it’s just too hard for them to deal with the bigoted kharra (‘bullshit’ in Arabic) that comes from the majority of Lib-voting parents in a room like this. And I don’t blame them. My parents pick their battles on my behalf well but the homophobia here can be so vicious that it sometimes feels futile to try and educate.
Worse still there’s always at least three potential brides brought to the table throughout the night. Their fathers chat with mine and he so painfully has to play along with the whole charade that I’m single because I’m ‘focusing on my career’. What he really wants to say is that I’m a raging homo and I’m just as happy as their kids – but I’m with Larry (that’s not really my man’s name).
If all the ethnic conservatives in this room see more gay couples getting married, their perspective would change. They would be forced to get used to the fact that two men or two women can be in love. We can have families. We can vow to look after each other for life.
There’s no guarantee that Rudd’s gonna make it happen but at least he’s prioritised reform as opposed to telling us our calls for equality are a passing fad, ala Abbott.
I don’t want to be sitting alone without my partner at the wedding table anymore watching everyone else revel in the wonder that is love. It’s not that I’m stuck to the institution of marriage but all I want like most of us, is the equal rights that come with it.
What is encouraging is that a recent galaxy poll found over 50 percent of young people are more likely to vote labor because of Rudd’s stance. So, at the risk of sounding like the fucking horrific ads and campaign slogans that are still making me feel like I’m chained to the toilet with the runs – this shit is serious folks. It’s our community and us young people that can make a difference and it’s more important than ever to make your vote count this election. Here’s toasting to that – CHEERS!
Follow Pat on Twitter: @PatrickAbboud. Check out some of his stories on sbs.com.au/thefeed