This is Danny. Born and raised in Melbourne’s posh burb of Brighton, he was the only ethnic in the village. He moved to London last year and.. well, aside from a handful of ppl, you Sprinks are the first in Aus to know he a gay.
A brown boy in White-ton, how racist did you get it in primary school?
I got called Osama Bin Laden’s son and had tennis balls thrown at my head. I was fat, with black hair, a monobrow, chicken pox scars and ate ethnic food for lunch which they called poo. My dad was the school’s grounds-keeper so yeah I copped it. But funny thing was, I came from a more entitled, wealthy family than any of them.
Wadyoumean you rich?
My grandparents are one of Lebanon’s wealthiest and influential families. Growing up, Mum had a different maid for each chore spending most of her time at boarding schools and travelling Europe. Aristotle Onassis’ brother proposed to my aunty on Jackie Kennedy’s yacht (she said no). But when Mum visited Australia, she married Dad – a Lebanese ‘pauper’ – and was then cut off from the family.
Was it hard being a homo in that ethnic / white-picket-fence / grand wealth / corporate mega mix?
I spent 26 years denying to everyone that I was gay, ticking the boxes of someone else’s dream life: senior management role, property, new sports car, more money than I needed, and of course, I was ‘straight’- but so unhappy. I thought ‘f*ck this’, and sold everything, leaving for London with three suitcases – to a gay that is like taking one pair of socks.
What are some of the things you’d do to appear ‘straight’?
– saved all guy’s numbers under female names eg Mick became Michelle
– pretended to like all sport (aside tennis)
– watched my hand movements when I talked
– wore clothes with sports references
– didn’t groom my face or body hair
You didn’t fool Sprink Danny, no one straight is that symmetrical *other than N’fa*. Coming out sounds hard?
It isn’t hard being gay, because being gay isn’t a thing. I am gay, just like you are a woman and Cher is a boss. It is the struggle to be proud of who you are. But the weight that comes off your shoulders and the glow that radiates from you when you are proud about being gay – or who you are – is better than any drug. Let’s take it back to Mama Ru – if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?
Hows the UK Vs Aus kween scene?
Two words – Hunger Games. But it is a really solid community here – when the chips are down, the kweens build an unbreakable defence wall to rally together. The friends I have made here in just 8 months mean so much to me in such a short time. I will forever feel part of this community because of these people. Also the parties are off the dial.
You’re such a good party person that randoms you met one night on Mykanos, flew you to Belgrade for 17 hours.
I had no idea what their names were. I stepped of the plane with a backpack, jacket, water bottle and passport, no money, no local language. I was met by a driver in a limo who took me through the old soviet town – it felt I was in Hostel about to have my organs harvested. Instead, they had planned a full itinerary of foodie spots, sights and castles and we talked through Google translate. They were the best hosts and we are still in contact to this day.
You’re going on a magical mystery tour of all the PRIDE events. Fave so far?
I was at the Horse Meat Disco in Berlin dancing in an empty swimming pool, inside a club, with two 6ft5 drag kweens, naked people, a guy in a kimono and heels, and a girl in a military outfit. All to Whitney Houston, I Want To Dance With Somebody.
You’re here, you’re queer and you’re in NYC?
I’m at Stonewall which is the pub where in 1969 – lol – the kweens, lezzers, trans, and the rest of us symmetrical babes took a stand against discrimination. It is our Mecca. A quote I love, direct from the World Pride promotional campaign: “I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, “My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!” Sylvia Rivera – American gay liberation and transgender activist.
The words “finally here” gets me every time, and it comes up in so many conversations and statements in our community. Someday it won’t be a finally – it will be a naturally/normally. But the fight will continue until then.
So you’re out and now living your best life?
HELL YES. I founded a global communications agency BraySt and have expanded from 2 to 12 highly skilled creatives, media and content specialists. I can work from a laptop anywhere in the world (but mainly from Soho House by the rooftop pool – hate me later, binch), loving the independent life. Couldn’t ask for anything more – ‘cept abs and an extra 15cm of height.
But to bring it back to a serious note, it took a solid 10 years to get from not loving myself to here, and it all came down to not looking outside but from in. I hope others reading this may start to help anyone be proud of who they are. Coming out should bloody get easier with every generation… and no better time to start than June 2019, 50 years after the fight back began. Come out, come out wherever you are..!