Anyone who saw David Goldie's 1989 ABC documentary on homeless youth Nobody's Children would have been moved by the tragic stories of these young Australian street kids. But for those of you who caught the recent follow-up program - Somebody Now - your soul would have soared watching Joshua relate the story of his reconciliation with his father. It was a piece of truly extraordinary warmth and tenderness.
We had considered running a number of pieces in this section of Manzine but we felt that what Joshua had to say spoke as powerfully as any number of pieces and that it should stand on its own. And while the written form of Joshua's story is not as powerful as his telling of it on television we think it is immensely inspiring nonetheless and warrants publishing.
As we launch Manhood Online on Father's Day 1996, we say thank you to David Goldie for allowing us to reprint this excerpt from his documentary. But most of all, we say thank you to Joshua for allowing us to share his story with a wider audience. We know that Joshua's telling of his story has already come at some cost to him personally but we hope you understand, Joshua, that what you have said and what both you and your father have done is something that will inspire many sons and fathers to find peace with each other. And that is about as wonderful a legacy as anyone could hope to leave. Thank you.
Q: How much a part did your sexuality play in your homelessness?
Joshua: Not much at all. It didn't play that much a part... really... My sexuality is no different to anyone else's ... It's just basically what I believe... There is room for everyone in the world.
Q: How tough was it though when you were younger and very sensitive about it and trying to live at home?
Joshua: Well, that was... that was basically one of the reasons why I did leave home... because I came out of the closet... as it were.
Q: Is that what happened?
Joshua: I told my dad I was gay and he ignored me.
Q: What do you mean?
Joshua: He just ignored me.
Q: To what extent?
Joshua: Silence... I suppose he was coping with his divorce that was like no more than a month old... and you know... having to look after four children and that and then his second son turning around and saying... hey dad, I'm gay!.. I don't think that helps very much and that was part of the reason why I left... because I didn't feel comfortable about it myself.
... My relationship with Dad now is excellent I'm very pleased to say. Last year I moved home for the first time in ten years, because I had nowhere else to live... once again... isn't that funny... and my relationship with my father is great. I speak to my father now at least once a week... on the telephone because he is living in Sydney... You know... the whole relationship changed. I spoke to him in depth about what happened and things like that. I told him in depth about what I did when I was on the street, and that, and he is much more understanding.
I think Dad's calmed down like... he's 50 you know... years old now... So, he's calmed down and I think I've grown up. I've... you know, become an adult and I think he's willing more to listen because it's not as if now he has to discipline me. It's... well... you know his attitude is “Well, son”... and that... hearing the word.... him calling me “son”... “Well, son”... is one of the best feelings I possibly ever had... is my father ever calling me “son” and him saying “Well, son”... “You know, this is how I would do it...... but you do it the way you feel comfortable but I'll be there if something goes wrong”.; And that is... that to me overrides anything that I've ever been through in my life... is having my father and being able to ring my father and say to my father... “I've got a problem and I need help”... And him... him being willing to speak to me... and, of course, the night I left to come down to Melbourne... my Dad without any initiation from me..... hugged me and he said... “I love you”.; And that is the one thing I've always wanted to hear... I do love my father and I forgive him for lots of things...