Holding the Man came a generation after my Catholic schoolboy days but the cultural paradigm was familiar. This is a powerful screen production of one of the great Aussie love stories. I was honoured to attend the Brisbane preview and fundraising event for Queensland AIDS Council.
Throughout the story the Catholic Church
as institution and cultural guide struggles with the rich dynamic of human intimacy and young love.Although Tim Kroenet
gives the Jesuits a gold star for being “relatively progressive and inclusive” the shine is tarnished at John’s funeral the priest who knows that Tim regards John as his husband dismisses their relationship as mere friendship.
Catholic schoolboy life in the 60s and 70s was cruel and unwelcoming for those of us attracted to our peers. I sat for my HSC in 1970 and for the six years of my life at St Joseph’s College Geelong I had spent much of my break time in the school day with the same group of mates. Of that group three of us were gay but we had neither the language nor community to support each other’s journey into sexuality. We went different ways into life’s joys,hopes, grief and anguish.
I have my own connections to this love story. At one time I had a job interview at Xavier College and one of the members of the panel was disturbed that I wore odd socks.I wasn’t offered the position.
I am proud that my old school is now a participating member of the Safe School Coalition
. I have life membership of the Old Collegians
and have been invited back as a Gay man to tell my story of a different era and to encourage inclusion and welcome as school and footy oval values.
Need a guide to help you unpack the story? Check out this set of Teacher’s Notes