The one vital thing gay ‘uncles’ offer

As a Welsh ex-pat, living in Australia has allowed my boys something they would never have in my homeland. No, not sun, surf and sunshine (although that’s true too), but an abundance of aunties and uncles who aren’t actually related to them.

Aussies expect their close mates to play an important role in their kids’ lives. And I love that.

In this article, The Age columnist Benjamin Law talks about his role as an ‘uncle’. He’s happy to admit that, as a childless male, he’s not always useful, arriving at bedtime to hype his ‘nephews’ up with sugary treats.

But he does have one vital thing to offer these boys: his visibility.

You see, Benjamin is gay. Benjamin writes about being gay. Benjamin has a long-term boyfriend. But his ‘nephews’ couldn’t care less. To them Benjamin’s sexual preference is about as interesting as their parents’, simply because he’s been around since day 1. He’s just ‘uncle’ Ben: a man they love who happens to love another man.

As Benjamin says, “They won’t ever think queer people are odd; they’ll think we’re just there.” Uncle Ben may be an “idiotic buffoon” who has poor timing when it comes to treats, but “simply being visible”? That he can do.

Just don’t call him ‘Guncle’…


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