June is Gay Pride month. Yes, that's right. We gay folk get an entire month to be "proud" of the fact that we have sexual relations with someone of the same sex.
Now, before I get into full swing, let me remind you that you can opt out of reading this opinion at any time. Here's what you do. Eyes away, turn the page, or hit the close button. It's quite simple, and it's your absolute right to do so.
If you stay and read on, then remember. It's also my absolute right to express an honestly held opinion even if it offends you. At this stage of the game, your rights don't trump mine. However, that fact may soon turn on an anti-free speech dime.
So, back to being proud. Why on God's green Earth should I feel bursting with pride just because I'm physically attracted to women? Well, one woman, actually, for 20 years but, okay. What is it about that that's Earth-shattering? It's sex, not the Second Coming.
But I'm not un-proud either. I'm proud I found the person I love, and that we've made our life together work. I'm proud that the slings and arrows of those who don't approve of our union have basically bounced off us fairly easily. No lasting emotional scars here.
I'm also proud that I couldn't care less what others think of my life, views, sexuality. I uphold their right to believe whatever they want. I've always preferred to know when others hold such thoughts, rather than all of us travelling down a blissfully ignorant road together while pretending we're all in harmony for the sake of appearances. Truth is my friend.
Israel Folau has expressed his truth. His cards are on the table. I can respect that, even if I don't agree. I'm utterly disinclined to admonish, punish, or deplatform him for telling his truth. He's entitled to it. Calling him a "bigot" or a "homophobe" achieves nothing. It doesn't make me feel better, nor do anything to change his mind.
He's a proud Christian. I have zero understanding of believing in a God of any sort, but I will defend to the death his right to believe in whatever he wants. Fairies in the garden? I don't care. Fill your boots, Israel.
His contract with Rugby Australia is another matter best left to the courts. GoFundMe has also decided to join the party and shut down his efforts to raise money. That's their call, but there'll be a backlash if only because there are causes they do support that are ethically worse than Folau's — minus the free speech aspect. Sanctimony personified.
Hosking: A problem like Maria? Haters need to leave Mrs Folau alone
Whether you feel Folau needs to be shut down and publicly slapped around — just as I will be for writing this — is of little consequence in the scheme of things. The fact remains that he (and I) are entitled to express our views however difficult you, dear reader, may find them.
While he's vilified for his beliefs, I'll once again be lectured about letting my team down, that young gay people are at risk from such views held by Folau (and me), and that I have deeply internalised homophobia. You know, ashamed of my own gayness and all that, yawn.
Yeah, nah. I never even came "out" in my teens. I was just "out". I can't remember a time when I ever actively hid my sexuality. Not to my family, friends or anyone — despite the consequences. In 1970s New Zealand that was a tad more unusual than today. Trust me.
Every wo/man and his dog — particularly within the Green Party — now speaks stridently of the "rainbow community", which is both condescending and a myth.
I don't want politicians speaking up for me about my supposed "marginalisation". That's my call. I mean, I can get married for Christ's sake. How is that marginalised? What rights don't I now possess that heterosexuals have?
Because like any other coupling, being gay is not some massively awesome achievement reserved only for brave and stunning people. In many ways, it's as challenging and as ordinary as every other relationship between any two people — at least in the first world.
Meanwhile, Israel Folau will be effectively martyred, Christians will carry on believing in their Lord, and gay-ness is here to stay in all its sparkly glory, and its day to day mundanity.
And, even if I profoundly disagree with someone, I will continue to believe everyone has a right to tell their truth.
This was mine. Thanks for listening.