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Forums / BB Social Zone / My workmate

Topic: My workmate

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. white knight
    Community Champion
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    white knight avatar
    9756 posts
    28 June 2016

    I'd been discharged from the defence only one year. The paranoia towards homosexuality reached a level whereby if you played cards with mates all of you were required to keep one foot on the floor. And that's an order.! We lived in an era of cowards bashing gays any chance they got. I didn't but I laughed with them. Just as guilty.

    Then at a freight company in Melbourne 1977 I worked alongside "Rick". He was a singer in a band, to me he was outrageously gay and curiously loved by any female he met. That bit I was jealous of.

    I owned a convertible car and gave Rick a lift home one night. Driving through Footscray he turned the volume up of the song Crocodile Rock as he stood up and sang the song. He was hilarious... He was drugged and he was sad. I was admittedly homophobic. I had been programmed.

    Rick related to the gay movement in Sydney so folded his band and left work.

    About six months later there was a protest march on TV news. At the front of the group was " Rick" chanting "gay rights- now".

    Ricks mother visited our company a short time later informing us that Rick had overdosed on drugs. He was 25yo. He was found with a note in a dark alley, alone and penniless. The women in our office told me much more about the Rick I didn't know. He volunteered for soup kitchens, loved his nephews 3&4yo and adored jewellery. Suddenly any homophobia left in me vanished.

    I am often reminded of Rick. Even early 2015 TV had a flashback of the early days of the Mardi gras and subsequent clashes with police and up comes that clip with Rick leading the charge.

    Rick is immortal thanks to TV. And its sad. We have bronze statues of Lords, architects, adventurers and busts of politicians but none of heroes like Rick.

    Rev Martin Luther King made one of the greatest speeches if all time " I have a dream". I remember a photo taken of 3 black children holding hands against the spray of a water cannon. It took scenes like that for change.

    The gay protedt movement towards basic rights, the rights the straight community has always enjoyed...has been going too long.

    Too long because society in all its glory hasn't taken that one final leap to allow this minority but large group, rights it should have automatically.

    RIP Rick

    Tony WK

    3 people found this helpful
  2. blondguy
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    blondguy avatar
    11369 posts
    28 June 2016 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony WK

    You really lost a good mate...gay or or not...he was a mate and a good one. May he rest in Peace Tony.

    I dont think you were 'programmed' so to speak...It was more of an acceptance through our elders that being gay was not tolerated. This was when you and I were kids and I am so tired of people treating me like I am one of the 'old demographic' that were hyper homophobic.

    My first boss was proudly 'outspokenly gay' and he was a catalyst for my development and success. I miss him so much as you miss Rick Tony. My next 3 bosses were gay and I am very proud to have worked alongside them.

    Being a young guy in Australia's leading jeans retailer in the late 70's my managers were and always be responsible for the success I have experienced. Their friendship is more important to me than my success.

    RIP Rick (and my boss Rodney from 1977)

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Gruffudd
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    Gruffudd avatar
    2271 posts
    29 June 2016 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    Thankyou for honouring Rick by telling his story. He is one of the people who have helped change the world which to me makes him a hero. Many of his generation did not survive the AIDS epidemic but all of them live large and have not been forgotten.

    We have come so far in that 35 years, and through it all it is our relationships with each other that pull us through. Rick had a family that loved him, and Tony you were a friend and still are.

    Rob.

    1 person found this helpful

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