Australia

Is this the most homophobic corner of Australia?

Hearing this from David and Trevor wasn’t easy. It feels like homophobia in politically correct clothing. It doesn’t feel like respect.

It leaves me wondering what it would be like if you were gay and had to live here. And there’s one man who can tell me.

Dave Graham says he’s the only openly gay farmer in the village. It’s an exaggeration, but it’s not far off. He has had more experience with what seems to be entrenched homophobia of the region than most.

Ten years ago, aged 26, Dave left and moved to an unexpected place – the Big Brother house, pledging to come out not only to his family and his hometown, but to the entire nation.

Now, Dave refers to coming out on TV as “the best decision I ever made”.

“It took the gorilla off my back,” he says. “And it allowed me to get on with my life”.

David moved back to Maranoa soon after, returning both to his farm and to the unwelcoming environment he’d fled.

I want to take a walk in his cowboy boots, so he takes me to the weekly pig, calf, sheep (and a few other animals) auction about three hours from his farm, in Warwick. It’s where all kinds of locals come to flog their flock or haggle for a herd, and it’s the perfect place for me to press the flesh.

I’m greeted by the sound of chickens squawking in cages, the stench of cow dung, and a whole lot of men in akubras shouting numbers that mean nothing to me.

With a little trepidation in my step, I walk around with my mic blurting the question out, again and again.

“So what do you reckon about same sex marriage?”

One response sums up most.

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