I was down in Australia last December when Kevin Rudd was swept into power. As news channels showed his election on big screens in downtown Melbourne (never before have I felt quite so much like a Big Brother extra looking up at a big screen of ‘the leader’) a lot of ordinary Australians and fellow academics expressed the view to me that things would now be different, particularly in relation to gay equality. Things never work out that simply though and this week Australian Olympic swimmer Matthew Mitcham has become the latest to take a swipe at Rudd. In an interview with SX News the swimmer who came out last month said: -“I’m not happy with Kevin Rudd,” he says, bluntly. “Kevin Rudd’s opinion of marriage as something that’s only between a man and a woman is quite narrow-minded. During the election campaign he was all about appearing young and cool, but his views on gay marriage make him look quite old-fashioned.”
As an academic I found another paragraph far more interesting when the 20 year old athlete said: “And you know what? Straight people talk about their sexuality all the time. They talk about the opposite sex, they talk about their wives, their husbands, their marriage. Those are all heterosexual discourses, and they do talk about them all the time. So those ladies didn’t think their comments through very well.”
I’m trying to think when I last heard a British sportsman talk about ‘discourses’.