Ian Roberts

Ian Roberts

Finding Out

Book - 1997
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''There was a group of about four or five queers at school, gay guys who were more obvious, and everyone used to ridicule them. I used to feel terrible for not standing up and saying, ''Cut it out.'' They never used to bag me and I just kept my mouth shut like a lot of others, I suppose. I used to think they should be doing it to me because I liked guys as well. And half the time the guys they picked on probably weren''t even "doing it" yet''.'' A trickle of information and a lot of misinformation reaches high schools down Maroubra way. But gay stereotypes were always confirmed. In the paper. On the TV. It always seemed to be ''them''. Either screaming fanatics being dragged off camera, or outrageous, costumed "weirdos" performing lewdly for the camera. So you could look and say, ''Yes, that''s right. That''s them. That can''t be me.'' Or, ''There''s been some terrible mistake. I am a freak of nature. By some disgusting aberration, I am attracted to my own sex, even though I''m not like "them". Yuk. What will I do? Well, apart from keep it quiet for a start.'' .477. It wasn''t just the epilepsy, however. It was all of Ian''s adolescence. The physical challenges. The emotional challenges. It was all troubling. In 1980 he was a known epileptic. And still a secret homosexual. And there are no books or instructions on how to smoothly bottle up that big secret, because there is no way. He was way too far gone to revert to self-denial. But the pressure felt like it was pushing in on him. And what is the physics of that? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There had to be an outlet. CAUTION! To contain pressure, (1) Try withdrawal, moody isolation. May need hobby for lonely hours. Being round people, especially those you''re closest to, expect to get demanding, ruthless, snappy, weird and unpredictable. Often mothers can cop the frustration most. (2) Try release through physical aggression, through contact sport or other. By remember, don''t crack or reveal your secret shame. .477. ''I remember watching TV one day, and the video clip to the Bronski Beat''s ''Small Town Boy'' came on. It''s the film clip with the gay guy watching a guy at the swimming pool, and Dad is watching as well, and going, "That''s disgusting. That makes me sick, that does." I was just squirming inside.'' In the video the gay ends up being bashed by a gang. The police drop him home, and when it comes out that he''s gay, his father is disgusted and the guy has to leave town. Ian knew he had to keep juggling lives. .477. ''I''VE BEEN IN FOOTBALL FOR 25 YEARS AND SEEN A LOT OF PLAYERS,'' SOUTHS COACH GEORGE PIGGINS SAID. '' I PUT ROBERTS IN THE RON COOTE AND BOB McCARTHY CATEGORY. HE''S A CHAMPION.'' FORMER KANGAROO (AUSTRALIAN) CAPTAIN, BOBBY FULTON, HIMSELF A LEGEND OF THE GAME, SAID ROBERTS'' PERFORMANCE WAS ONE OF THE BEST HE HAD EVER SEEN. The morning after this game, Ian saw a column in the Sun-Herald written by Harry Craven, a pseudonym. In it was a sarcastic quip about a great footballer who had been spotted in a bar on Oxford St, drinking with the boys. The innuendo was clear. It was the first time Ian had ever seen anything even approaching a comment on his sexuality in print. ''I was terrified! I just froze when I saw it. I went to George Piggins and started babbling on, saying this guy can''t do this sort of thing, and I want something done about it. George just said that I shouldn''t worry about it. But I was beside myself. I was terrified that I would run out onto the field and there''d be all these people who had read it. Before the game, I went to sit outside and watch the reserves game for a little while and Tugger (teammate Craig Coleman) said jokingly to me, ''What about you at that gay bar?'' I just saw red. I showed him my fist and said something like, "Keep an eye on this because I''m going to give it to you!", then tried to act like I was laughing the whole thing off. That day I ran on to the field thinking, "All these people know, and they''re
Publisher: Milsons Point, NSW ; New York : Random House Australia, 1997
ISBN: 9780091833374
Call Number: B R5422f
Characteristics: x, 325 p., [40] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Finding out


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