Cam and Frankie
Frankie and Cam married in Alice Springs

Being heterosexual in a cisgender relationship brings it’s own challenges in a hetronormative society.

By: Taranjeet Kaur Thandi

If you’re same sex attracted, that adds an intersection, and some personal journeying even if you have the most supportive network around. If you’re from a different racial background, an added intersection of identities emerges.

How do same sex interracial relationships navigate dating, family and issues of race.

Living in a society that has not always been tolerant towards those who are different, being same sex attracted might mean overcoming internalised homophobia in a hetronormative society.

When you add the layer of being a person of colour, the person may need to overcome internalised racism, Combine that with being in a relationship, and you could get a whole lot of how do these intersecting identities play out in a relationship both with that person and their family.

Cam, a filipino female is married to Frankie, a white Australian. Cam is a maths teacher, and Frankie is a doctor. I was honoured to be present at their wedding in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and they kindly agreed to meet with me to have a chat.

How much does race come up in conversation?

A few times a week.

What does your family think?

Cam: My mum’s happy that I have married a doctor, someone that will provide for me. Glad she’s off my back.

I moved out because i was not sure how coming out would be accepted in my family. I got help from 2010, a service in Sydney. I invited my parents to come to my psychologist’s appointment and disclosed there.

I wrote a song called ‘Tell her’.  The chorus goes: So I guess that means I will be alone forever, because i can’t bear to tell her that I am a lesbian.

Frankie: They were fine with me being gay. I came out in my mid 20s not that it was hard environment to come out in.

Cam: Family christmas with white people. I was asked to cook a filipino dish. I don’t cook filipino food as I left home when I was 20.

What do you wish people would stop asking you about your relationship?

Frankie: Where Cam’s from.

Cam: When are we going to have children?

Frankie: A lot of questions on biologically. How are we going to have children. Which uterus are we going to use.

How do you deal with conflicts that involve race?

Cam: Usually, what we’ve done so far is that I get angry and upset then have to find words. I know that Frankie does not mean to be from where she’s from. I know she tries to but sometimes she just gets it wrong.

Frankie: I inherently have power because i am white and so it is sometimes hard for Cam to speak up.

Knowing you are white, what are some of the ways in which you help Cam speak up?

Frankie: I try my best to never dismiss. I listen to Cam and her sister. Listening. Listening. Listening and trying to act on what I hear.

Frankie, have you read any articles about race to understand more?

Does having a really cool instagram following of women of colour count? Studying gender and indignity at Uni helped understanding power within relationships.

What advice would you give to other interracial same sex couples?

Cam: Don’t settle for someone, who isn’t willing to try or not willing to be open to their white privilege or their whiteness. Someone who will be there for you.

Frankie: Listen to each other and that you’ve gotta do the work