I have two younger brothers, both of whom are adorable and in their younger years, drove me nuts. Big Bro is a neurophysiotheraptist and has just bought a flat with his partner. Little Bro has just completed his Masters in Medical Laboratory Science and seems to live to drink copious amounts of alcohol and go to music festivals :). Both live in London, love to travel and are the godfathers of my beautiful daughter. Oh, and both my brothers are gay.
Big Bro came out in 1998, not long after he finished uni and moved out of home. He told me over the phone. I remember saying it didn’t matter, he was still my brother and I loved him, then putting the phone down and bursting into tears. I think it was a combination of shock, of empathy, but also of relief (I had my suspicions- he was a huge fan of Kylie Minogue). The rest of the family responded in varying ways: grief, disbelief, anger, and denial.
Little Bro took a little longer- he came out last year when Miss Bookgrrl turned one. His coming out was harder to deal with, because he had had girlfriends and didn’t really conform to the gay stereotypes his brother had (he wasn’t neat- in fact he was a bit of a slob). To be honest I was angry that he had lived a lie and not told us earlier. He hadn’t because he had seen the upheaval of one family member coming out and didn’t want to put the family through it again.
Big Bro recently celebrated his two year anniversary of his civil union this week (sadly I couldn’t attend owing to the fact I was 38 weeks’ pregnant), and coincidentally this week, the ALP national conference has refused to endorse gay marriage, opting instead for civil unions.
De facto relationships have the same legal status as marriage, so marriage has become symbolic in its public testament to love. If two individuals wish to declare their love in front of their family and friends and make it official, does it really matter if they’re the same sex? It doesn’t to me. You don’t choose who you love- it happens, either as a coup de foudre, or as a growing realisation that you can’t live without the other person in your life.