OUTcast S3, Ep 1 • 19 February 2023 • 39:41
00:00:07 Rosie: Welcome to OUTcast, the podcast where we hear coming out stories from famous faces and brilliant LGBTQ plus people working hard behind the scenes – from all backgrounds and from all corners of the globe.
On this podcast, we discover life stories, and in doing so, we dissect some of the most pressing issues faced by the LGBTQ plus community today. We hope we can support and inspire you, our listeners, whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, out or not, or an ally listening to learn more.
I’m Rosie Pentreath, your host, and I’ve shared my coming out story in writing and on various panels, and I know firsthand the value of talking through my experiences. Now I’m giving people from all corners of life and from all backgrounds the same opportunity.
You may have listened to other episodes before, and if you have, thank you for coming back. Or you may be here for the first time because of our guest welcome. You can follow us on social media at OUTcastLGBT, and you can find us online at outcastpod.com. Thank you for listening.
00:01:28 Rosie: Hello. Welcome to the third season of OUTcast podcast. For our first episode, we are joined by Luke Rutledge, who’s an Australian author. His debut novel, A Man and his Pride is set at the time Australia was grappling with the debate around marriage equality in 2017. Luke writes evocatively about the gay experience in the city of Brisbane at the time. It’s a gorgeous book. It flows and it’s light and it’s fun, but it also speaks deeply to shame and to the complexities of being an out gay person and the complexities of the plebiscite. In this chat, me and Luke talk about the plebiscite. We talk about his book and the issues in it. We talk about World Pride, which is coming up in Australia this year, and we cover issues that most LGBTQ+ pupil will have felt.
Luke, welcome to OUTcast. Thanks so much for joining us. It’s great to have you on.
00:02:28 Luke: Thank you so much for having me, Rosie. It’s really good to be here.
00:02:32 Rosie: We’re speaking just as your debut novel, A man and his Pride is released in Australia. You dedicate the book to those who are yet to find their pride. So let’s dive straight into that to begin with, who these people who are yet to find their pride are and what it’s like not to find your pride yet.
00:02:50 Luke: So A Man in his Pride is about Sean Preston, who is a 23-year-old gay man living in Brisbane during the 2017 marriage equality plebescite here in Australia. When we first meet Sean, he’s just been dumped by his first ever boyfriend of three months in a very brutal way. And so he sort of vows to never become emotionally attached to another guy ever again. So, you know, we sort of start to see him slip into some of his old habits, I guess, of, you know, drinking a lot, seeking out a lot of sort of casual sex that leaves him feeling quite empty and he spends way too much time at, at the gym working on that all important body. So he’s kind of a bit adrift in the world, I suppose. He’s sort of living without purpose. Then he meets a guy called William, who is also a gay man, but kind of the, the exact opposite of Sean.
00:03:53 Luke: William is unapologetically gay. He is very loud and proud about who he is and he has a long history of long-term relationships, which is very different from Sean, but he is also very naive about the gay dating scene. And so Sean agrees to help him navigate the, the dating scene a little bit. And so we start to see this friendship sort of start to blossom between the two. And in doing so, Sean starts to have his own eyes a bit, you know, opened a little bit more and he starts to change the way that he thinks about being gay and start to confront some of that internalised shame that he’s been living with for a long time. So it’s a novel about finding your pride. It’s about learning to love and accept yourself for who you are. It’s a story mostly about this friendship between these two gay men.
00:04:52 Rosie: You know, it comes across in the writing. Sean is so judgmental and he’s carrying all the shame. But like you say, when you kind of get to the end of the book, there’s this more sort of rounded like mature approach to friendship and to relationships that he has. And he and William is obviously such a big part of that. Going back to that idea of like people who haven’t found their pride… In the book Sean is out, but he’s not necessarily sort of loud and proud and there’s a lot of internalised shame. Why do feelings like that sort of linger in the LGBTQ+ community?
00:05:31 Luke: Yeah, look, I think when I set out to write the novel, I knew that I wanted to write a story about a man who was gay and for it to revolve around his sexuality in, in some way just cause that’s, you know, a topic that interests me I suppose. But I didn’t want to write just another sort of coming out story. I feel like there are a lot of those out there now, which is wonderful, but there’s less out there that sort sort of deal with the part that comes next, I suppose the, the what happens after the coming out. So it was kind of like the idea that I had in my head for what I wanted to get across when I thought about starting this book, because of course coming out isn’t just a one-off event, like it’s not just one moment in time, it’s, it’s a whole journey that gay people go on and this idea of I guess like what happens next after the coming out was something that kind of intrigued me.
00:06:28 Luke Because I think that it’s something that we all really go through really. So, you know, I wanted to explore that grey area between being in the closet and being out and proud, which I think is probably a more common place for, for queer people to find themselves in that sort of messy middle. And you know, people have asked me like, ‘are you Sean? Is this your story?’ Well, I should say upfront, no, it’s, it’s not, it’s not my story personally, but I have met men like Sean men who I suppose struck me as like, they were out and open about being gay, but they hadn’t sort of learned to take that next step of learning to accept themselves. And so it just sort of struck me that there was a lot of baggage there and a lot of internalised shame that they hadn’t sort of worked through. So that kind of had always stuck with me, I suppose. And then when I sat down to write the book and think about what I wanted to write about those people sort of started to come to the fore a little bit more. So yeah.
00:07:34 Rosie: Like you say, it’s not just a one fix. You don’t come out and then you’re done. This sort of lying in that next stage of full acceptance is, is a big deal even on a low day or, or the wrong comment from someone in the wrong moment when we are run down can bring shame hurtling back at us unexpectedly and things. What would you say to someone who asked, you know, it’s 2023, why would people share coming out stories now?
00:08:03 Luke: Well, I think it’s just as important as it’s ever been really sharing those stories because it’s so important to see yourself reflected in the stories that you read and the movies that you watch. And you know, we now live in a era where, you know, we’ve got shows like Heart Stopper on Netflix or you know, Love Simon that are telling those really positive, like those coming out stories in a very positive way. And I, gosh, I wish that those stories had been around when I was younger because I think it would’ve made a real difference really. So I don’t think that the need to tell those stories will ever go away, really. Like it needs to be normalised for you to start to be able to accept it for yourself. And I think finding your pride is, is is essentially also reaching a point where it’s just kind of normalised. So when you do get those comments as you say, you know, someone might make a comment that that brings up a lot of that shame again, you can sort of move past it and you’ve worked through those issues I suppose. So yeah, I think that the need to tell those stories will always, will always be there. And one exciting time that, you know, we live in now where they gay stories do seem to be everywhere.
00:09:25 Rosie: This is also a great segue into your coming out story.
00:09:31 Luke: My coming out experience was actually a very positive one, really. As I said, Sean’s story is not my story. I received nothing but love and support from my family and friends when I came out. And I remember, you know, there was a lot of crying at the time. It was a big moment, but I do remember this overwhelming sense of embarrassment and shame actually when I did finally come out, and I should sort of backtrack, that experience followed a very long period in my life where I struggled a lot with my sexuality. So I didn’t come out until I was about 23. And when I say come out, I mean that was how old I was when I first admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone, you know, everybody else. So I spent all of my teens and much of my early twenties bearing myself in this deep denial.
00:10:27 Luke: And the weirdest thing that I’ve often reflected on is that I never really had a reason to stay in the closet. Like, I knew that my friends would all be accepting of it. I knew that my parents would love me no matter what. There was never any real external fear factor that, you know, you could pinpoint to say, oh, that’s why he took so long to come out. It, it sort of come from within. And so I’ve often wondered what it was that was holding me back and, you know, honestly, I can’t really pinpoint one thing because it’s, it’s never just one thing. I think it’s always a combination. And for me, I think it was not having any gay role models when I was a kid. So as I said before, you know, I wasn’t watching movies or TV shows that had gay characters or storylines.
00:11:21 Luke: I wasn’t reading books, I was too scared. And then the other thing, I think at some point I, I must have received the message that being gay was unacceptable because as a teenager I was, I was quite homophobic myself and I don’t mean I was a bully or anything, but yeah, if, if I saw two men kissing, which you know, was extremely rare, I’d feel deeply uncomfortable about it and try not to think about it. So I had a lot of internalised shame myself and, and that shame just sort of grew and grew as I got older. And the lie that I told myself just got more and more convincing in my head. So yeah, I think denial is a weird thing. It’s something that I think about a lot and it’s impossible to, it’s impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Because even though in some level, you know, you know the truth, you know, you know who you really are, but you believe the lie anyway.
00:12:17 Luke: So you spend so many years lying to yourself that it just becomes your reality. My denial was so deep that I, I managed to get through an entire music degree at university and still not face it. I was immersed in the arts essentially where there’s lots of gay people around, but somehow I went through that entire period of my life and I still believe that I was straight. So I entered my twenties and I changed career direction and it was during that time that I dated a girl for two years. And, you know, it was that relationship that ultimately pushed me to finally to finally face it because I could just see myself as one of these men who, you know, was closeted in their forties and married. And that thought just kind of terrified me above, above anything else. So that, that’s when I finally came out.
00:13:14 Luke: And so then for someone who’d spent, you know, all of their life trying to deny it, once I did finally come out, I think I moved quite quickly really in, in telling people that I was gay. Like I felt this need to just tell everybody basically. Like I had this news to tell, you know, and you know, at first I got no joy out of it. Tell, telling my parents was one of the hardest things I’d ever done telling my housemates who I’d lived with for, for a few years, that was really hard. Because essentially I was admitting that I’d been lying to them all this time. And you know, looking back it seems ridiculous, completely blown out of proportion. But that was just kind of the state of mind that I was in at the time. And, and then I made a list of, of everyone who I had to tell a list of friends. And so each person that I spoke to, it got a bit easier as I sort of had that same conversation over and over again. And it was like, I was finally finding the words to describe it all. But like I said at the beginning, from that point on, it was, it was a very positive experience really.
00:14:27 Rosie: Gosh, it’s really interesting what you say. There’s a lot of parallels from my memories of coming out and kind of, you know, being very young and realising I felt differently towards women’s and towards men. You know, when I was at university I’d sort of say to people, “I’ve got this big secret, this this terrible secret, I just can’t tell you.” And eventually at the end of university, I came out to my parents and that’s when I also had had the conversation with a few of those people and everyone was so kind. But the word lie that, that you said that you felt like you’d been lying to your flatmates or lying to your, your family perhaps I felt similar, like this weird sort of guilt around telling a lie, but it’s, mm, it was about me. It was, it was about you. So why would, why would it be a lie?
00:15:13 Rosie: Like, it’s so interesting and I hope a few people listening to this are allies and, and perhaps haven’t held that kind of shame and secret before. Because I think what we are teasing out is that it can be really insidious. It’s not this kind of big obvious thing. You kind of have to work through really complicated denial, like you say, shame and these kind of internalised kind of mini shame. So perhaps someone in the playground went, “oh God, you’re gay,” or you know, “I don’t wanna be a dyke.” Those things really have such an impact and like they can change the entire course of your kind of young adult life or beyond coming out stories from inspiring LGBTQ+ people today
00:16:11 Luke: Coming out is something that is, it’s like a physical act. Like you can, people can see what you are doing. Because you know, you are admitting it to someone, you’re having conversation with them, you’re coming out to them. Whereas that taking that next step of finding your pride is something I think that happens very much internally. It’s almost like it’s a shift in your, your mindset I suppose. And as you say, it’s working through, back through and untangling all of the, the lies that you’ve been telling yourself for so many years that, that internalised shame that you’ve held onto for so long. So it’s, you know, it’s a process I think. Yeah.
00:16:51 Rosie: Yeah. And finding a pride even is a process. Because you know, I like to think that I’m fully proud, if that’s a thing, a hundred percent proud, no room for not proud. But even the other day I just as just sort of mumbled them when I was talking about my other half. Whereas in another mood or another place I might have just said, my wife, you know, it takes years and years and years and it’s really fascinating to kind of think why, why that is.
00:17:22 Luke: Yeah.
00:17:23 Rosie: Are there any kind of big times that you can remember after you’d come out, you know, even a few years after where you, where you weren’t out, where, where you didn’t want to say it?
00:17:34 Luke: Honestly, actually no, because my experience after coming out was so positive. So it happened to coincide with, I just finished university and, and started a new job and it was a job in, in the union movement at a union that was predominantly like women working there. And so it was an incredibly safe space. Like I felt very safe to finally start to figure out who I was. And I’m not saying it was all smooth sailing. Like I did enter a bit of a rollercoaster period in my life after that. I was incredibly naive about a lot of things, but mostly about the gay community itself and the gay dating scene because, you know, I had essentially, I had essentially not allowed myself to even think about being gay for my life. And so I had no idea what to expect, let alone what I wanted or or what I liked.
00:18:34 Luke: This idea of gay culture or pride was just kind of a foreign concept to me. And I’ve never really thought about it before. Interestingly though, what I did know was that I wanted a boyfriend straight away. So right from the beginning I wanted a meaningful relationship and I wanted companionship, which kind of, I, I suppose speaks to how I was raised as well and the support that I got right from the outset I suppose. But given how much internalised shame I had been carrying around for so long, looking back, I think that’s actually probably quite strange really, that I wanted to jump straight into a relationship. So what, so one of the first things I did was I got online and created a profile and started chatting to men. And suffice to say I, I just wasn’t ready for that experience cuz you know, I was a 23 year old who’d, you know, never been with a man before. And I was looking for a relationship on Grindr essentially. I’d essentially skipped those all important formative years where, you know, you meant to explore all that stuff and find out what you like and what you don’t like and what you want. And here I was trying to jump straight into a relationship. So there were some issues there and a lot of things to work through during that period, I suppose. Yeah.
00:19:53 Rosie: Yeah. Like a steep learning curve!
00:19:56 Luke: Yes!
00:19:58 Rosie: That’s something the book does so well is really paint the laws and the experiences of the gay dating scene, perhaps I’ll say the gay male dating scene.
00:20:08 Luke: One thing that I did want to do with the book was to depict the gay dating scene in maybe a more maybe realistic, less sanitised way than what we are perhaps used to seeing in the mainstream anyway. It’s not all parties and dancing and singing and glitter and rainbows and the rest of it. I mean, it can be those things and it often is, but there is another side to it as well. And when you are, when you are talking about a marginalised community that is made up of individuals, you know, many of whom have had their own traumas and often rejections, that kind of thing. I think that, that those experiences find their way into the culture of a community. So, you know, for example, I think that there is a lot of body image issues in particularly in the gay, I’m talking specifically about the gay dating scene here.
00:21:08 Luke: You know, there’s this obsession with what you look like and having that all important body, you know, I think there’s issues with toxic masculinity in the gay dating scene as well. I’ve met men who, you know, they don’t want to have anything to do with you if you sound feminine or you know, flamboyant or whatever, that that’s their own internalised shame. They’re reflected out, you know, and, and then of course there’s the more promiscuous nature of particularly the grinder dating scene. I’m not here to judge Grindr say if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I think it’s both actually. You know, I think it’s definitely has a role to play with allowing gay men to explore themselves and, and make those connections if that’s what they want. You know, you want to do. But at the same time, it’s like any tool that can be abused.
00:22:05 Luke: And I think that if Grindr is the only way that you are making those connections with people through, you know, casual sex or whatever, then it’s probably not the healthiest thing. So I wanted to explore all of that stuff in the book, but at the same time I wanted to do it in a way that was still, I wouldn’t say light, but it’s just enjoyable. Like it’s not a heavy read, you know, and I wanted it to ultimately be uplifting and to be hopeful, you know, I didn’t wanna just cast this shadow across the, the gay dating scene. It’s, it’s not all, it’s not all like that. And it doesn’t have to be like that if you don’t want it to be.
00:22:45 Rosie: Yeah. And it’s a really kind of light, fast, just lovely read that does come across. Picking up what you said there just briefly, it is so true. There are issues of being LGBTQ+ specifically, but then within the community issues of patriarchy, toxic masculinity, sexism, racism still exist. And that is always what comes through on these chats.
00:23:13 Luke: I think it’s also easy to forget that we do tend to live in our bubbles. I think, and I recognise that I live in a very privileged position. Like I hold a very privileged position, you know, with supportive family, friends, I have a fiancé, we can walk down the street hold hands, no one bats an eyelid. You know, it’s, it’s a very fortunate position to be in. But I don’t know if that’s the case for, you know, people who live maybe not in the cities. Like we know that young LGBT people are still overrepresented in mental health statistics and, and suicide rates, and all that sort of stuff. So I think so long as that is still happening out in the world, I think as I said a, a little while ago, like we’re always getting a need to tell, keep telling these stories and just keep pushing past those prejudices. Because I think there are still pockets of society where certain beliefs are still entrenched and, you know, the marriage equality campaign I think brought all of that to the boil and, and gave those people who essentially had bigoted views a platform to broadcast those views.
00:24:33 Rosie: Yeah, definitely. Australia’s marriage equality plebiscite of 2017 is a kind of backdrop to your book for context for listeners outside Australia marriage was only legal between a man and a woman couple essentially that was marriage law in Australia, the government put the question out to the public, should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry.
00:24:56 Luke: Yeah.
00:24:57 Rosie: And like you say, it kind of allowed voices to come out of the word work, perhaps not come out of the word work, be amplified. I would say really homophobic and really intolerant voices. Yeah. To be amplified against the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalised people. Yeah. How would you describe what it was like being a queer person in Australia during the plebiscite?
00:25:21 Luke: I think it was a very tense time, overwhelmingly tense. And I think it was never a campaign about convincing people to vote yes. Because I think that debate had been going on for years and years already. And in a sense I think had already been won. Like all the opinion polls pointed to majority of people supporting same sex marriage in Australia. The danger was always not enough people turning out to vote.
00:25:50 Luke: And I think the no campaign were really, that was a whole strategy essentially was to either confuse enough people or just hope that enough people would just be apathetic about the campaign. Not just not care enough about it and not turn out. Because obviously it’s easy to mobilise the “no”, you know, those who are staunchly on the “no” side and those who are adamant on voting “yes”. Like you’re always going to get those people to vote, but it’s everyone else in the middle who just, you know, they have to go about their lives, they don’t want to think about this sort of stuff. And yeah, so that was always the danger that it just wouldn’t get up because not enough people voted and it was essentially a political strategy from the government of the day to sort of kick the can down the road. But, but for me personally, I mean by 2017 I had been out for a number of years and so I had reached a point where I was you know, quite comfortable being gay.
00:26:52 Luke: I was quite proud of it. So I heard all of that sort of negative, you know, rhetoric in the media from the “no: campaign and I could sort of just brush it off and not really care too much about it, you know, didn’t think too much. But of course a lot of other people weren’t perhaps so fortunate young people who may have been questioning their sexuality or not living in a household where it was acceptable to talk about that sort of thing. So yeah, it was an interesting, interesting period. One thing that really stood out to me was on a union building that we have in South Brisbane. In the heart of the city, they had this big sign on the side of the building that was like 20 meters long, like this big sort of canvas thing and it said equality is union business.
00:27:45 Luke: So it was a nice supportive sign. Anyway, during the campaign, someone stole that sign in the middle of the night. To steal a sign that big you, you’d have to come along with a ute or something and truck it away or whatever. It just made me think, like, at the time I laughed about it because it just seemed so ridiculous. But it sort of made me think later, “wow. So there are actually people out there here in Brisbane who care enough about making sure this doesn’t get up, that they’d be, you know, be bothered to actually turn out in the middle of the night and still this sign.” So just, I don’t know, things like that.
00:28:20 Rosie: That’s what really affected me was those, those efforts. Like the skywriting. You know, someone’s gone to great expense to write one word and I know it’s just a simple word, you know, two letters “N O” but the fact that someone has, you know, booked the plane, made sure they could send this message. It’s just, and it, and it’s cowardly because they weren’t the face of it either. They just sent this like cowardly message into the sky and made so much effort to be against something that probably, although maybe it does have something to do with them, but probably doesn’t have anything to do with them.
00:28:56 Luke: The main point is it didn’t have to happen. Like we didn’t have to have that campaign. It was just a simple matter of, you know, changing a piece of legislation and passing it. It’s not like we were having a referendum. It was essentially just a really expensive opinion poll. And I do remember speaking to a friend of a friend at the time who worked at Lifeline and she did say to me that they had noticed a definite sort of spike in the number of particularly young people who were calling distressed about the things that they were seeing on the television and, you know, hearing on the radio or whatever. So it definitely had a negative impact. I mean obviously the outcome was good, it was a unifying moment, but all of that other stuff just could have been easily avoided. Yeah.
00:29:44 Rosie: And the outcome for listeners who might not know was “yes”. We did achieve “yes” and we did achieve marriage equality, but yeah. But like you say, Luke, like you said earlier, is the marginalised and the less supported people as well that are affected by things like this, by government policy that encourages, you know, hate speech effectively to come out of the woodwork or to be amplified as I said earlier. How do you think having marriage equality has sort of changed Australia?
00:30:15 Luke: I think it’s just made Australia a better place, like a more equal place because in the eyes of the law, that was one major thing that, you know, queer people were being discriminated against quite clearly in the eyes of the law. So I do, and this is in the book actually a, a piece of research that came out about marriage equality in America and the states that had introduced same-sex marriage at that time, this was before the whole country had it, they had noticed a decrease in suicide rates in L G B T people. So I think that that just shows you what effect it has in the shift in people’s perceptions. Because I think if the law discriminates against a minority group, then that almost gives people permission to discriminate as well. So it does change people’s perceptions or at least it’s the first kind of logical step to changing people’s perceptions, I think.
00:31:14 Rosie: It’s kind of a really positive, perhaps subtle butterfly effect of this, yeah, acceptance and equality, you know. Literally having the same access to this part of the law to marriage makes this wonderful butterfly effect of hopefully more and more acceptance and love.
00:31:47 Luke: The main difference is choice, right? Like we now have that choice with how we want to live our lives and marriage will not be for everybody, but at least we’ve got that choice open to us. You know, we can choose to get married and have children and have that sort of traditional family unit or you can reject the more conventional way of living and and go another way. But the point is that we have that choice.
00:32:10 Rosie: Yeah, exactly. You know, just being treated the same as if you’re not LGBTQ plus. So from that sort of slightly tarnished year 2017, it’s 2023 and this year World Pride comes to Australia, to Sydney… Really excited and I know the release of your book coincides with World Pride month really hotting up. What do you think it means for the country to kind of have the honour of hosting this event?
00:32:39 Luke: You know, World Pride is the ultimate visibility, isn’t it? It’s the ultimate way of celebrating your pride and countering the opposite of shame. The ABC, I believe, is broadcasting a lot of it, which I think is a really good thing because I think it’s often those people who are not living in Sydney, which can be a bit of a bubble. I think it’s, yeah such a huge gay population down there. The idea of other people around the country, getting to witness some of the events that are taking place, I think is probably really the main point of world pride really. I mean yes there’s the partying and the festivals happening and there’s over 200 events I think. But I just hope that people outside of Sydney get to experience it as well.
00:33:30 Rosie: What I’m hoping, and I hope this happens, it might be an assumption, but I’m hoping is World Pride as a concept just echoes across the whole country and all different, you know, venues and communities and groups in all the states and all the territories in regional and town and city areas kind of end up doing their own nod to pride and it helps kind of spread the, spread the love and awareness.
00:33:53 Luke: Yeah. Oh that’d be amazing. The, these events are very important because it’s all about visibility at the end of the day and just normalising the idea of being gay today I guess. Yeah.
00:34:24 Rosie: Pride is about the whole spectrum found in the LGBTQIA plus community. How can we all be better allies to the diversity of people within that community?
00:34:38 Luke: I think listening would have to be the main thing. Because often, you know, often I hear terms and different things that, you know, I’ve never heard before myself as a gay man and just because you are gay doesn’t mean you’re across everything. You know, all these changes that go on in our community that a lot of people do struggle to, to keep, to keep up with. I think. So honestly, I would, I would just say like the main thing to do is to keep listening and to just keep an open mind about changing the way that you think and, and just questioning maybe some of your inner biases as well. And, and just providing that space for people who come from different backgrounds to you, whether it’s gender or sexuality or whatever. Just giving them that opportunity to, to have their voice and and to speak for themselves and, and just listen to what they have to, to say.
00:35:38 Rosie: Yeah, absolutely. And what gives you hope today and for the future?
00:35:44 Luke: The main thing is visibility and how normalised being gay and being in a gay relationship is today. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the majority of Australians either support queer relationships or they’re just sort of indifferent to it and don’t particularly care one way or the other. I think we’re sort of living with the best of two worlds really. Because we’re living in a society where the majority of people do support you. Like you can walk around knowing that you are supported by those around you. And also we are living in a time where you do have that visibility in the media in the main, particularly the mainstream media. So I’m talking specifically about movies, TV shows and, and books. And it’s not that unusual. In fact, it’s pretty difficult to find a show these days. It doesn’t have some sort of queer character in it.
00:36:39 Luke: More than that there’s more and more shows coming out or books where, you know, that is actually at the centre of the story. Yeah. And making their way into the mainstream, you know, into the mainstream culture. So I think that that’s actually really, really exciting. And you know, going back to what I was saying before, like I wish that I’d lived at a time where that was the case. Because I think seeing yourself represented your, your own stories represented in the stories that you consume is just so important cuz it, it just normalises it and it, it, it makes you realise that you’re not alone in the experiences that you’re, you might be going through. What I set out to do more than anything else with writing this book was I just wanted to write something that I personally would want to read and, and I like to read page turner’s and books that make me feel good and, and queer stories.
00:37:38 Luke: And so I just wanted to write something that would be more than anything else, just entertaining and leave people feeling hopeful. That’s, you know, that’s something else that gives me hope, I suppose, is the fact that I was able to write a book that is distinctly Australian and queer and, and deals with, you know, some of those more serious issues and for it to actually get picked up by a major publisher. Like, I don’t think that that maybe if I’d written it 10 years ago, maybe even less. Like I don’t know if that would’ve been the case, but the fact that a, a publisher thinks that that sort of story is viable enough, like to reach a a broad enough audience in Australia today, I think is quite telling.
00:38:24 Rosie: Yeah, it really is. It really is. And when you think about the journey that you’ve been through, so not, you know, coming out to yourself until you were 23 and then working through that and now you’ve written this incredible book – which is a page-turner by the way, and everyone should go out and buy it. A Man and his Pride is out now once this episode is published and yeah, it really is a wonderful read.
00:38:46 Luke: Thank you so much. That’s yeah, lovely to hear.
00:38:49 Rosie: Thanks so much for coming on to OUTcast. It’s been, it’s been amazing to speak with you and hear your thoughts on coming out on World Pride and on that clever site that we now want to forget.
00:39:01 Rosie: Thanks so much Luke.
00:39:03 Luke: Thank you.
00:39:05 Rosie: Thank you for listening to OUTcast, a podcast with interviews and coming out stories from inspiring LGBTQ+ people. Don’t forget to go back and listen to other episodes. If you’re new to the show, we have a fascinating interview with Tilly Lawless, the Sydney-based queer sex worker and novelist, as well as the British transgender priest Sarah Jones in Gogglebox Australia’s Tim Lai of Tim and Leanne fame.
I’m your host, Rosie Pentreath. I hope you can join us again next week.