A liking for Difference. This is an abbreviated extract from looking for short people. In Bold: A collection of short stories by David Harvey from older LGBTI people in Australia and New Zealand, published by Rag and Bone Press Inc.
I was born in 1941 when the Luftwaffe began bombing Moscow. When I began to crawl I would crawl out to see Betsy and her puppies. The puppies liked Betsy’s milk and so did I although it was a bit bristly to get it. This might have been the beginning of my liking for difference.
One day my eldest sister, Joan was reading the dictionary “Homosexual likes the same sex.”
That must be me! I love the girl across the road. I don’t need to be a boy. I felt quite smug knowing I had a label.
Later I looked up ‘homosexual’ in the Everyman’s Encyclopedia.
“ Homosexuals have arrested development. “
Arrested development –homosexuals must be short. Colleen’s short and I like Colleen but I asked myself, “Why am I growing so tall?” This bothered me.
I had an intense obsession for the gym teacher but there were tensions at home as my father went blind. My mother knitting me a jersey complained how long my arms were. I was still growing, big and tall which was good for hockey, swimming and putting the shot. On the other hand I thought I must be the only tall homosexual in New Zealand or even in the world. At the time I was having singing lessons having a clear and wide range but one day in despair to drank from a bottle of poison. It burnt my throat so I soothed it with milk but My voice changed to a blues singer.
I was thirty four before I finally had my first relationship with a woman and left the years of struggle behind me. From then I have helped many people with their own struggles with difference and was on the Suicide Prevention group in Auckland for a number of year. One of the motivations for saving lesbian art and culture, forming a museum and making it accessible was to help all people understand lesbianism and support people coming out. It is only 23 years since the passing of laws to rule out discrimination of lesbians but much damage has been done. Organisations are small and scattered, individuals and whanau still struggle as does to Charlotte Museum. As we become comfortable with our difference and our lives I find it important for my karma to give back to the new generation and help their groups to help others. This can be done through ALBA and Gaba as both organisations give money raised back to gay and lesbian groups. I wonder how everyone will be placed in ten years time?