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UNDER THE RADAR: AND THE NECESSITY FOR COURAGE

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Author(s): JOHN RYAN

Journal: Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
ISSN 1833-4512

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 130;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: sexual identity | marginalisation | belonging | regional settings

ABSTRACT
This paper explores how being located in regional Australia and inhabiting a sexual identify marked as ‘other’ positions one as exiled in a place unthinkingly labelled ‘home.’ In the words of Big Brother 2006, do we need people in our house who ‘fly under the radar’? What is the value of citizens in their own eyes who find themselves trained to avoid taking a stand on social justice issues that rob them of their dignity? What if we ourselves are those people? My own identity in this regard is representative. It has been formed out of the emptiness that charactises regional New South Wales and is an existential state of exile that continues into the present in the body and mind I uneasily call ‘me.The heart of the town I grew up in, a town of 5000 people called Narrabri, is best revealed on a Saturday afternoon when the shops have closed and the people are gone, or at night when there is silence and stars overarching the paper houses and patterns of streets. The great sense of vacancy at the centre of the town seeped into my blood even before I was born and has become a trope for my sense of who I may be. At age nine, I tried to run away but what I found when I came to the edge of the town was the meaningless landscape of the North Western slopes and plains stretching away from my centrelessness. There is no belonging there, only a melancholic sense of defeat. How then is it possible to be an active citizen when one’s sense of oneself is an absence? Furthermore, what takes place when one is inwardly marked by a deviant sexuality in a place where hatred is essential for sameness?

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