Tagged with anniversaries

Ten years of buggery.org

CC-licensed image

Buggery.org is ten years old today. Admittedly, posting has been sporadic in recent years, but we’re still here and not going away. This site grew out of an earlier experiment called the House of Love and that, in turn had its own predecessors going back to 1996 – 18-plus years of self-published snark, provocative opinion and too much personal information.

A decade ago, blogging was still a thing. No Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook to provide instant gratification and still plenty of people ‘surfing the web’ by routinely visiting their favourite web sites to see what was new. That model is more or less dead now, and I concentrate my efforts more on my Twitter and Facebook accounts than here on the blog.

Australia has changed, too. From John Howard’s ‘relaxed and comfortable’ world of 2003 to Julia Gillard’s never-dull 2013 the world has become less certain, less trustful, less safe. It’s simultaneously colder (socially) and hotter (climatically). This site came online on the eve of a war justified by lies, and that war continues in an undeclared, but still very real sense.

A big thank you to the loyal readers who are still with me after all this time, and who show their appreciation for my increasingly-infrequent posts.

I started this business 18 years ago with the certainty of a man who already knew how his own story would end, a certainty that proved false. I continue it in a world that is more uncertain than ever. Will I, and buggery.org, still be here in ten years time? I haven’t the foggiest idea.

Let’s find out.

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Paul and Paul

If you’ve been following this blog for a very long time you’ll recall that before it was buggery.org, it was houseoflove.com.au, and in those days it was a two-man affair, documenting my spectacular, somewhat notorious and ultimately doomed relationship with Paul de Koning.

Paul died five years ago today.

Paul was charming, sexy, loud, iconoclastic, funny and brimming with love and life. We shared a year and a half together from late ’95 to early ’97 – a wild, raucous and all-too-often insane ride. It ended horribly, but we patched our friendship up in time. He was diagnosed with Adult Myeloid Leukaemia in the late 1990s and managed to survive with that a lot longer than anyone thought possible.

The photo above was taken on our trip to San Francisco in September 1996 – sixteen years ago now. And here he is in his own words, a screenshot of his page from the House of Love, as it was in November 1996 (big file).

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A positive test

When someone tells you you’re going to die, it’s normal to have a few questions. Depending on the context, these might include “how?” and “why?”, but most importantly, “when?”

On the day that I got my HIV diagnosis, Chris, my doctor never said I was going to die — but that’s what I heard. He said “This was a positive test.” It’s an odd choice of words, a bit clumsy and scientific, but of course medically precise. The diagnosis had to be confirmed with a second test, and backed up by a T-cell count. There was the possibility that the second test would show the first to be false, but he and I both knew that wasn’t really going to happen. “Don’t get your hopes up,” he said.

The test was positive, and so was I.

In my head, “This was a positive test” became “You’re going to die.” I wanted to know what all people given this news want to know: when?

“How long have I got?” The words came out of my mouth like a line from a bad TV movie. Chris looked at me with sad eyes.

“We don’t know. Some people do better than others, but without treatment I think you would have between one and three years before you were very seriously ill. There is a treatment available — it’s called AZT — and with that you would probably double that, but better treatments are being worked on and new ones could come along in the future.

“You shouldn’t worry: you can expect to have another five to ten years with a bit of luck. And in that time, who knows — treatments might improve. Who knows? You could live for another 20 years.”

I knew he was trying to be upbeat, stretching the story as far as possible to make me feel better. But no-one lived that long with HIV, not in those days. I walked out of the surgery with a prescription for AZT and started taking it the same day.

That was twenty years ago, today. The 6th of August, 1991, when I was 27 years old and going to die.

I posted another story about the day of my diagnosis a few years ago: Hiroshima Day.

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Equal love


Today marks the sixth anniversary of the passage of the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004, the legislation that enshrined in Australian law the definition of marriage as being between “one man and one woman.” Australia’s DOMA.

The anniversary will be marked by rallies in all the capital cities and a number of regional centres (details), and it’s heartening to see support for equal marriage rights growing in Australia day by day.

Six years ago, when the Howard government introduced, and the Latham opposition immediately supported, this legislation, Brent and I were planning our own wedding, which took place in Canada later that year. I wrote a cranky blog post and very cranky letter to the editor at the time.

Brent and I were the first gay couple we knew to tie the knot. In those days, gay marriage was legal in The Netherlands, Belgium, and a handful of Canadian Provinces. Since then Argentina, the rest of Canada, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and five US States have all legalised same-sex marriage. Finland, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Nepal are all committed to legalisation in the near future, and the subject is being energetically debated in many other countries. Same-sex marriage is a global phenomenon, and an unstoppable force.

I’ve been impressed by the degree to which this has become a political issue during the current election campaign. Julia Gillard has been asked repeatedly to explain her party’s position on same-sex marriage, and she has squibbed it every time. The ALP’s position on same-sex marriage (they’re against it, but for state-based “relationship registries”, as long as there’s no ceremony and no-one uses the ‘m’ word) is unsustainable within a party that claims to be progressive, and the party should adopt a more open-minded position. Unfortunately the ALP is scared witless of the political muscle of the Catholic Church and a few other religious minorities. That’s a disgraceful position for a party that claims to be socially progressive, and it partly explains the haemorrhaging of support to the Greens.

Julia Gillard could articulate a more open position on this issue, without unduly scaring the horses. She could acknowledge that it is an issue, for a start, instead of robotically chanting that ‘one man, one woman’ shibboleth. She could affirm that there will be no change in the short term, but espouse a personal belief that change will come when the nation – and the party – is ready. She could suggest we have a national debate on the issue over the coming term, and to develop a legislative response based on that. She could end the hateful and mean-spirited policy that prevents the issuing of ‘certificates of non-impediment to marry’ for same-sex couples intending marriage overseas. Or she could grow a pair and just say what we all know she, and Penny Wong, and probably most of the ALP party room, believes.

In the meantime the voices for same-sex marriage grow stronger and the arguments against it become ever more ineffective. We will win this – we have justice on our side; and a day will come when my Canadian marriage certificate will be recognised in my own country. In the meantime, my love and admiration goes out to all the hard-working queers who are keeping this issue on the agenda, organising the rallies, writing the petitions, fighting the good fight for equality and human rights.

See you at the rally.

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Ten years to the second since …

Ten years to the second since I met my husband. ♡♡♡

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