July 18th, 2022Your say
The Big Rainbow
I’m writing in response to Yvonne Fix’s article titled Big Rainbow that appeared in the Your Say section of Issue 257.
When I first moved to this area five years ago, I applied for a job at a local law firm. During the interview my potential employer thought it appropriate to remark that “gay people sure do seem to move around a lot”.
I never got to explain to this person why – as offensive as it was – they were correct, but I’d like to try and explain it now by responding to Yvonne.
Yvonne, when I read your letter, I see you using terms like “us” and “them”, and it makes me so incredibly sad. Why do we have to be like this with each other?
What makes this area unique is the fact that we do have a varied group of people – they come from all walks of life, lived experiences, political persuasions and economic positions. This is what I love about the area. There is always someone new to meet, and you’re probably gonna love ’em, or hate ’em! It keeps life interesting, and it certainly keeps me on my toes.
You use terms like “complete takeover” and “we are in a minority these days” and “they are fighting back and succeeding”. We don’t want to erase your story or deny you your identity, and if you genuinely believe that same courtesy should be applied to everyone – regardless of their sexual orientation – you might have a different opinion on the Big Rainbow.
Despite all your sins against the gays (I can say that because I am one), the greatest sin you committed in your letter was comparing the loss of your “identity” to what our ancestors did to our First Nations peoples. Yvonne, no one is dispossessing you of your land and locking you up. Please get some perspective and show some respect.
Your coded language around concern for visiting “families” completely misses the point of who and why people visit this area. It is a safe haven for everyone, which is what makes it so attractive. From what I can tell, the tourists that visit our area are a diverse bunch of people, many of them with very “different” views as you say – including families.
The qualities that represent queerness – inclusivity, acceptance, pride in yourself – are qualities that should be and are celebrated by most members of our community. The Big Rainbow also makes sense economically – Daylesford and its surrounds takes in a lot of business from queer folk – a large tourist attraction in their honour that drives more income into the community isn’t exactly a terrible idea…
I agree it is always important to look back Yvonne, especially in the name of learning our lessons and trying to improve upon them, but we need to look forward, too.
There is a reason why gay people move around a lot – it’s because we have trouble finding spaces where we don’t have to feel inferior, othered, or attacked. Words cannot express how bloody proud I am to live in a town, in a community, in a shire that embraces me and treats me as an equal. That has not been my experience in other areas of Victoria, and I think that’s worth celebrating in these bleakish-but-hopefully-getting-better times.
That’s what the Big Rainbow would represent to me, if we were lucky enough to win it.
- Adam Fawcett, Hepburn Springs