My husband Andrew, who began this blog in October 2007, died peacefully on September 3rd 2012, at the age of 83, after long and well-controlled illness culminating in a sudden, brief decline. He worked on his autobiography for years but never completed it. Instead he left behind various pieces of life writing which would have formed part of it. I will gradually include this material here, giving the dates on which the pieces were written. I'll also add some of my own reminiscences and items of information I have about him. At some point this blog will become an archive, without further additions. — Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Many years ago I joined the Australian Aids Council to see whether I could eliminate my hang-ups about gay people.

At the very first meeting I attended, the facilitator asked us to number off - 1,2,1,2, 1,2, then he told the "ones" to leave the room.

'Now I want you to play a game', he said to the rest of us. 'When your partner comes back you're to imagine you have the "hots" for this person and play it out for all you're worth.'

Oh my God! Me? A super conservative who'd never done anything outrageous in his entire life act like a gay guy? I felt queasy in the stomach and my mouth went dry. I was petrified by what was about to happen. I needn't have worried.

The "ones" filed back in. I wondered what instructions they had received. My partner sat down next to me and began to talk. But I wasn't listening. I gulped, looked him straight in the eyes and putting one hand on his thigh, told him how attracted I was to him.

His eyes widened. He temporarily stopped his spiel, and before I knew it I had fallen into the part. 'John', I said, 'I think you're really special. I'd really like to have a relationship with you.' Poor fellow. He was gay. I wasn't. He didn't know which way to look and became increasingly nervous and agitated.

When the facilitator called a halt and John learned that it was all a game, he was so relieved he nearly slid out of his chair onto the floor.

As for me, from that day my hang-ups about gays vanished.

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