that’s so gay


It was in Victorian times that the word “gay” was first associated with sex. Originally it referred to those who lived promiscuously or engaged in prostitution. In its specific homosexual meaning, gay was first publicly mentioned in London in 1889 in the so called Cleveland Street scandal. This concerned a brothel frequented by men in high office and serviced by Post Office boys.


Using “gay” to describe a homosexual didn’t really take off in Australia until relatively recent times. This caused considerable embarrassment on President Johnson’s visit to Sydney. Large banners suspended across the streets along which his motorcade was to proceed welcomed him with the words “Let’s go Gay with LBJ”


“In preparation for the president and Lady Bird Johnson’s arrival at the Art Gallery of NSW,  a mini bush park was built and stocked with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and a lonely echidna raided from Taronga Zoo.

Sylvia Hale said one of her abiding recollections was the Mormon choir booming out The Yellow Rose of Texas and The Battle Hymn of the Republic over and over again until a wharfie rushed to Woolworths, bought a pair of wire cutters and silenced the microphones.


Hundreds of protestors rushed forward to halt the presidential cavalcade, police were grabbing demonstrators and dragging them out, the air was filled with chants and screams.

A red-faced Premier Askin could hardly believe that his triumphal event had been brought to a halt by what he called “the great unwashed” and that he was being publicly humiliated in front of the President of the USA. He wrote himself into the 20th-Century Australian history by shouting at the official driver: “Drive over the bastards.”


Askin made a gift of twin albino wallabies to the startled president while a koala fell from a pole to its death after electrocuting itself.”


Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 6:52 am  Comments (36)  

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well we’re all gay for LBJ, he was dreamy.

  2. Damn, that albino wallaby is cute!

  3. Glad to see it all went off without a hitch ….. I think I used to get the Boys Own Paper ….. I can’t quite remember …….. oh well

  4. This Australia place sounds like fun.

  5. There’s gay and then there’s gay. Fortunately, I have a stream of both, lucky me. I am, after all, a homosexual drag queen trapped in a woman’s body.


  6. I’m going to try to work in the phrase “cock house” into daily conversation.

    Also, this is just another reason why my country has to stop electing people from Texas to the Presidency. Every time we send a Texan President to go over to Australia a whole bunch of nuttery ensues.

  7. I like gay.

    Gay is good.


  8. What a great story! You had me laughing out loud at every turn. “Let’s go Gay with LBJ!” HA!

    Renalfailure: GWB only made believe that he was from Texas. As far as I know, the only Texas politician that wasn’t a complete asshat was Ann Richardson.

  9. Man, I got robbed. My trip there wasn’t half that cool.

  10. “Askin made a gift of twin albino wallabies to the startled President while a koala fell from a pole to its death after electrocuting itself..”

    it really doesnt get any better than that..

    (just curious as to why the poor koala felt the need to take its own life)?

  11. this wasnt a presidential visit… are you sure this wasn’t written up by Hunter S Thompson on acid? Talk about gonzo journalism…

  12. I’m not familiar with Alex Mitchell’s journalism but Bob Gould, the guy who wrote the beginning article is a wonderful eccentric who owns the best and craziest second hand book store in Australia.

    If I’m short of blog inspiration I drive over to Gould’s – have never left that place empty handed yet. It’s a “must see” for any overseas traveller…..

  13. The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Yellow Rose of Texas, the two most disgusting songs in the American musicology. Don’t blame them for snipping the wires on the loudspeakers. *Shudder* And I was born in Texas. (It was an accident, honest, and I left shortly thereafter.)

  14. “an accident”… that’s what they all say…..

  15. Ohhhhh, poor koala…

  16. he was pushed….

  17. Don we now our gay apparel… Next Christmas, don’t forget.

  18. even ‘gay’ isn’t what it used to be. here in the states, people refer to things that they consider ‘stupid’ or ‘so-last-year’ as gay, without any sexual context. who knows where the word will be in another 25 years.

  19. No wonder the postal service is so ruddy slow in Britain, if all the Post Office boys are too busy sucking off noblemen to concentrate on their jobs!

  20. Also, I believe that the use of the term ‘gay’ to mean homosexual was first when the name of one of the aforementioned noblemen was revealed – Sir Gabriel Gayton-Gaycock, of Gayshire.

  21. Not many kids christened Gay these days .. I suspect Gabriel took a hit too….
    there is still an Indian Resturant called the gaylord in Manchester (obviously they aren’t worried!!)

  22. Sir Gabriel Gayton-Gaycock, of Gayshire.
    HAHAHAHAHA!! You have the best commenters (present writer excluded) of any blog I’ve ever seen. Consistently hilarious and all so DIFFERENT. You draw an interesting crowd, indeed. My hat’s off to you, NM.
    I totally agree Beth. I have some of the best commenters ever. now if I could just entice Former Frontier Editor back into the fold…..

  23. It was my parent’s fault Nurse Myra, I had no say in the matter. As soon as I could squall loudly, we left.

  24. The wallaby reminds me of my ex.

  25. I so totally want a gay, albino wallaby now.

  26. Come on down Fauxpas. I’m sure we can arrange one – the Sydney Mardi Gras is on next month…..

  27. Well I sure hope nothibg crazy like that happens when Obama visits.

    “Let us go gay with LBJ.” lol! that is too funny.

  28. Well I sure hope nothing crazy like that happens when Obama visits.

    “Let us go gay with LBJ.” lol! that is too funny.

  29. Oops sorry for the double posting nurse. Reading your blog from my mobile phone and hit submit too many times. A nasty message came up telling me I was posting too many comments and to slow down. LOL.

  30. Am I the only one that thinks that, “Drive over the bastards” is hillarious? I’m such a totalitarian.

  31. You’re not alone, Uncle Keith. That line made me laugh out loud.

  32. Funny to see the “Dear Gay Head” tome here… I actually have a copy of that book in my closet. Not that I am head.

    Headward Norton

  33. Funny to see the “Dear Gay Head” tome here… I somehow have a copy of that very book in my closet. Not that I am head.

    Headward Norton

  34. Subtle variant.

    Head Itor

  35. I think the subtle variant caused you to end up in my spam file. Never mind, I rescued you 🙂

  36. Fantastic post. Now I understand the reason that Aussie/US relations are sometimes strange.

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