Stronger with You

By Melissa Norris

Sweat beaded on Alison’s neck and her breathing came shallowly in the musty heat of the car. She reached for Jacqui’s hand and as their fingers brushed she whispered, “Let me wind down the window. It’s stifling in here.”

“No,” Jacqui murmured. “I don’t want them to see.”

The windows were so thickly tinted that it was difficult to see the two girls inside, clasping hands as Jacqui meandered through the school car park. They passed hoardes of students, many smiling at the thought of going home after a long day.

“What do you think they’re all thinking about us?” Alison murmured, giving Jacqui’s hand a gentle squeeze.

“Probably nothing unusual, so let’s keep it that way.”

As Jacqui pulled onto the street Alison wound down the window, sighing with relief as the air, albeit warm, flowed around the car. The air conditioner was so old that it was still ten minutes from working efficiently and when it had come down to it, both girls had preferred Jacqui get the tinted windows instead, if only so they could share moments in private without the entire school knowing they were more than best friends.

But now summer had rolled around Alison was getting sick of the heated darkness of the car. “Why do you care so much about what other people think?” She closed her eyes and turned her head toward the window, but opened them in surprise when Jacqui took her hand away and placed it back on the wheel.

“Things are fine the way they are.” Worry pinched the corners of Jacqui’s eyes and Alison watched as she gnawed in fear at her bottom lip, which was coated in bright red lipstick. She wanted to reach out and brush her thumb over those lips, to lean forward and kiss her until they were both gasping for breath.

Jacqui glanced at Alison’s face and frowned. “You really should stop doing that.”

“Doing what?”

“The way you look at me sometimes – people are starting to get suspicious.”

Alison’s gaze fell. “I can’t help it if I find you attractive.” Her eyes roamed over Jacqui’s sun-kissed skin, so much of it revealed by the skimpy tops she wore on hot days, and she closed her eyes, remembering how it felt to be wrapped in Jacqui’s arms, to breathe in the alluring scent of her perfume as her arms held her so tight that they might never let go. Such moments were fast becoming a rarity, something her girlfriend insisted on keeping a secret.

Jacqui sighed, running one hand through her long brown hair as her forehead creased with worry. “Let’s go back to my place. My mum’s not home until six.”

Alison sighed. Though she didn’t agree with Jacqui’s decision, Alison couldn’t blame her for not wanting to come out during high school. Everyone knew her girlfriend as the girl with the bubbly personality who could make friends in an instant and turned any get-together into a fun time. The guys thought she was a flirt, too full of energy to settle down, even for the night. The ruse was always easier than coming out and telling the world about their love for each other, but every time Jacqui pushed her suggestions away Alison knew her patience was breaking.

Jacqui’s mother was just the same. Their house, a stately two-story affair with sharp corners and white columns, was the mark of success for the woman who had bitterly divorced her husband and thought she had something to prove. Alison couldn’t understand why both women were so concerned about their reputations. To her, being happy was the most important thing.

“Don’t forget your schoolbag,” Jacqui muttered as they stepped out of the car. Alison pulled it out after her with a sigh, flinging it over her shoulder and resenting the weight of it under the glowing heat of the sun. It was always so much easier to pretend she was over Jacqui’s house for a study session when they actually brought their books inside with them. Still, Alison longed for the day when it would no longer be necessary.

The house inside was clean and in pristine shape. It always reminded Alison of a showroom in a house on the market that you take people to see before they buy it, somewhere made out for living where no one actually seemed to spend any time for fear of dirtying the furniture or spilling wine on the rug.

Thankfully Jacqui’s bedroom was cosier with its flowing curtains closed over the window, leaving the room in quiet semi-darkness that Jacqui quickly broke with deep, thrumming music from her CD player.

“This is nice,” Alison whispered, crawling over the quilt to lie beside her.

Jacqui gave a soft giggle that echoed along her throat and brushed her fingers along Alison’s face. “You’re so beautiful,” she whispered in a slightly husky voice before leaning in.

“So are you.” Alison drew Jacqui against her, smiling as her girlfriend’s arms locked around her hips. She drew Jacqui closer, delighting in the familiar scent of her perfume and the feel of her long hair brushing against her face as their lips crushed against each other. Jacqui’s gasping breath echoed in her ears and she pulled at Jacqui’s clothes, the music beating with her raging heart.

The music was so loud that neither girl noticed the sound of footsteps along the hall. Light burst into the room and they pulled away from each other in shock, Jacqui hitching up her low-cut top as Alison sprawled onto the floor, pretending to be getting books out of her bag. Thankfully Grace, Jacqui’s mother, had her hand over her face as she opened the door, and even now was rubbing her forehead with her eyes downcast and sighing in a tired voice.

“I’ve had a hell of a day and really don’t feel like cooking tonight. I’m going to go take a bath, Jacqui, and then we’ll just get some takeaway for dinner, okay?”

“Yes, Mum.”

“And you’re welcome to stay for dinner if you want, Alison,” Grace added in a tired voice.

“Thanks,” Alison said, looking up with a smile at Jacqui’s mum as she tugged her pencil case from the bottom of her bag. She tried to keep her breathing regular and her face natural, but as Grace met her eyes her smile faded and she frowned, looking from one girl to the other.

Alison met Jacqui’s eyes, noticing at once that her girlfriend’s red lipstick was smudged around her mouth, and much of it had probably ended up on her face too. She held back a gasp as Grace glanced at the CD player, seeming to only just notice the significance of the thrumming music. She watched in horror as Grace clenched her jaw, breathing through her teeth for a moment before turning away and closing the door behind her.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe that just happened.” Alison wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, unsurprised when it came back red. “Didn’t I tell you not to buy that cheap lipstick?”

“You know I can’t afford anything better,” Jacqui shot back in a pained whisper. “She knows, doesn’t she? Oh my God, she knows.”

Alison met Jacqui’s eyes, seeing the pain and fear beneath. The strong and beautiful girl had turned so quickly into a worried teenager, tears in her eyes and her face as white as the sheets. Alison sat back down on the bed beside her and took her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. “I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear, but I think it’s time to come out.”

Jacqui shook her head. “I can’t.”

“But you are the strongest girl I know. You have no problem getting in people’s faces. How come this should be any different?”

“Because all that other stuff is just a ruse,” she muttered. “This is personal. What we are… I don’t know if I can.”

Alison sighed. She was so grateful that she’d managed to find Jacqui, but in many ways it wasn’t enough. She was sick of being told she was wrong, unnatural, that she was doing bad things. She was sick of being stared at in public.

“Why can’t we just be open about our relationship like any heterosexual couple?” she asked. “Why can’t we kiss in public or hold hands without people gawking at us from every direction?” She brushed a hand down Jacqui’s arm, searching for her eyes in the shadow she cast over Jacqui’s face. “Sometimes all I want is to hold your hand on the bus or to kiss you as the lights dim in the cinema. I’m sick of hiding away, of being afraid that someone’s going to find me with my limbs locked around another gasping body with breasts and beautiful curves and long brown hair cascading down her back.”

Jacqui smiled through her tears and Alison wound her hair through her fingers and kissed the delicate neck beneath.

“My mum’s going to disown me,” she choked.

“No, she’s not.” Alison gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead. “She won’t, honey, because we’re going to tell her exactly what she needs to know: that we’re in love and that nothing she says or does is going to change that.”

Jacqui gave another watery smile and pulled Alison against her.

“Just give her some time,” Alison murmured. “You and me, we’re ahead of the pack. It’s the rest of the world who haven’t caught up yet.”

Author Biography

MELISSA NORRIS is a journalism and creative writing student who believes that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with equal respect and rights.

Through writing she hopes to help to break down the stigma surrounding homosexuality and to foster empathy and understanding for same sex couples.

Steer Queer

By Alex Dunkin

That’s right, I am a homosexual. My flawlessly coiffed hair and enviable eye for fashion are dead giveaways to my sexual orientation. God knows I am not perfect but I sure look close to it. Every morning I observe the glory before the mirror, removing stray hairs, adding gel to my style and a tiny bit of lipstick never goes astray. I prefer not to overdo the makeup, after all I do not have the bits of a woman so I have no need to look like one, just class me as slightly girly.

My love for men (really hot men), however, takes second place to my real passion; I am and always will be the best taxi driver you could ever have. I strive for this honour and am very big on pride, in many ways, and I also like winning the trophies. They shimmer nicely between the pinups and the medallion proof of some athletic ability.

My beast of a car is a little bitch. A temperamental tin can only I can control (and love) sort of making the yellow-lined piece on wheels my hag. No one else can turn Miss Madeline on and yank her gears like I can. I do my best to conceal the rust with feathers, fuzz and fluffy dice that dangle like a pair of other goods I enjoy. There’s nothing quite like a nibble with afternoon tea and a good dipping of the bags.

Enough about me, the first punter is here. Damn, I can feel Miss Madeline tilt as she’s boarded. Such a heavily reared woman crushes poor Madeline’s behind to the asphalt. Sparks often fly from my party girl but these ones might not be so good.

“Where to?” I greeted.

“Hospital,” she demanded, as apparrently more words weren’t necessary.

“Is there something wrong?”

“In labour. Go now.”

“Really!? You’re in labour? I thought you were just fat.”

“My sister is about to have a baby, you jerk.”

You can just chip the ice from the air. This is a case of drive fast, no tip expected, especially after a wicked slip of the tongue. I zoom my Missy through the traffic, arriving at the emergency entrance. No map or GPS needed for me to navigate these streets. Barely minutes pass from pickup to hospital.

“Comes to seventeen dollars.”

“Here, keep the change,” the woman throws a twenty between the plastic protector (not one flexible enough to be multipurpose, unfortunately). A clink, a clang, a gigantic heave, and the woman is gone.

Missy is penetrated again instantly, as another patron thrusts himself in without warning, a hillbilly no less.

“Take me to a bar,” he says, chewing a slobber of tobacco. “A need a good stiff one.”

“Don’t we all.”

“What did you say?” his southern accent nails on a chalkboard.

“Which bar would you like sir?”

“Don’t know, what’s good ‘round ‘ere? Nowhere too fancy, I’m a simple man.”

“I’m sure you are,” I say, Miss Madeline coughs and seizes. “God, you can be such a drama queen, Missy. If I twist your knob will you go for me?” I tease the key, bolting it as a piercing screech sounds from below the steering wheel. She squeals with delight and sparks back to life. “We really are soul mates.”

“Are you one o’ them homo-sexuals? ‘Cos I don’t like them homo-sexuals.”

“Yep,” I confirm. “You should get some cream for that rash. It looks like thrush; one of my girlfriends had and it’s making your neck a bit red.”

“What did you say boy?”

“To the Red? It’s a great place to drink down the road. You’ll love it.”

“It ain’t one of those gay bars is it?”

“No, I wouldn’t do that to you,” I lie. One of my exes dances there, in a show I know too well; the masculine cowboy outfits never last to the end of the music. The thought of his shining abs steam my windscreen. This country fella would not know the difference between gay and straight at Red. They might all be butch there but they pack it just as often as I do.

Back to the task at hand. Bare minutes pass before our arrival outside Red. Its woolshed inspired exterior perfectly masks the gay bar among the others and the hypnotising strobe lights will hide the true gayness inside. A single woman stands out front to greet guests. Beautiful blond curls spin from her crown and encase her luscious bosoms. My trained eyes are instantly aware of a third bulge, one extremely impressive and low down for a girl.

“Here you go.”

“She’s mighty pretty,” the hillbilly observes. I bite my tongue to hold the giggles in.

“You might get a bit more than a drink if you’re lucky.”

“You think a mighty fine girl like that would be with me?”

“You have to try to find out,” I encourage him as I accept his money. I drive away without Miss Madeline being boarded again. This time I must search for a prospect and there is only one place that can guarantee it: Hooker’s Hangout, otherwise known as the corner of William Street and Turner Avenue. During daylight its the entrance to a shopping centre, converting to a notorious prostitute district at night. As such, it is the location of the busiest taxi rank in the city. It strikes some as odd that two necessary services are located together. Only once have I provided both services, not that I’d charged for either.

I pull into the snail-paced queue with the other drivers. Many stand outside their vehicles admiring me in my approach, some basking in the presence of the best in the business. One of the drivers pushes past the others to greet me. It is Marco, the Mexican tap dancer, my main competition in this industry (it infuriates him that he comes in second every year). Normally I would be more than happy to come second, but with Marco it’s serious.

“You,” Marco spits, “you dare cross paths with me?”

“Cross, overtake and win like always,” I defend myself and initiate the bitching. “I didn’t realise being second best meant taking a second job. How long have you been working this corner?”

“You disgust me. This year I will be number one and you will be the number two, homo.”

“That would make you the premier gay person in the city?”

“That’s not what I say. You number two.”

“Oh, so homo is Spanish for hobo. I’m sorry you live on the streets where you work.”

“Taxi please,” a man calls.

“This way,” Marco jumps in first. He turns back to me to have the final word and tap a beat with his feet. “See, this a sign of things to come. Me first.” I wave a little birdie at Marco as I’m forced to wait my turn for a customer.

It is such a lovely day today, perfect weather for passing the hours while waiting for a passenger. Not a surprise that people prefer to walk rather than pay for a, lift even if it is with the city’s finest. I twiddle my thumbs and eye the selection of gentlemen on their way past. Oh my, you could fry an egg on that one’s buttocks, and that one’s arms I could use to press my shirts. I’m all a quiver with possibilities. I reconsider that notio though, as a grotesque man in an undersized cowboy kit approaches, his neck glowing red with rage. My underwear prepares for an onslaught of faeces rather than the preferred, excitable rise. It’s the hillbilly I left at Red, with Marco tailing merrily behind.

“Look who I found at one of your bars,” Marco gloats, “he mentioned you and I think he is a little unhappy with the service. He agrees that I am the better driver.”

“That lady was a man,” the hillbilly complains. “She had balls.”

“How big?” I ask on instinct.

“Pretty average,” the hillbilly replies. I laugh at his stupidity. “I’m gonna punch your head in, boy.”

“Please don’t, I like my head as is,” I reply, unamused by the threat. The hillbilly balls his fist, squeezing the blood from his fingers. He charges like an enraged bull. I dodge the hit in a simple side step. He attacks again, swiping past my ear. Onlookers cheer in support of both parties and gather to form a makeshift ring.

“You’re going to hurt yourself,” I insist.

“Yeah. You took me to a gay bar and tricked me to kissin’ a man.”

“It’s not my fault you’re a sucker for blondes.” My taunt seems to fuel his fire, as he lashes out in a third strike. I duck, the fist clearly missing. A ting and a scrape signal contact of flesh on metal. The hillbilly hit Miss Madeline!

“My baby,” I cry. Jealousy is an overwhelming emotion. I thought I was the only one who would ever get kinky with Miss Madeline. “Wife beater,” I name the hillbilly.

“What did you say boy?”

“I’m admiring your clothing.”

“You want me, you sicko homo.”

“Indeed not. You struck my woman, you oaf.”

“Who? The car is your woman. I don’t get you queers.”

“But your hands get in our pants,” I tease, aggravating the hillbilly to heightened levels. He punches again and again. I weave and dip to avoid the impact of his fist of fury.

“Stay still so I can hit you boy,” he demands. I decide to engage the fight. Words will not work with this man. The hillbilly advances with a right hook. I deflect it with my left hand, throwing him off balance. I snap my spare hand forward in a fist, thumping it into the hillbilly’s cheek. He cups his face gingerly, shocked by the power of the impact. The crowd cheer with delight at the show.

“You punch like a girl,” the hillbilly lies, still grasping the throbbing flesh on his face and struggles to regain his masculinity athrough the agony. He unsuccessfully launches another assault. I even his pain, smashing a direct blow to his untouched cheek. “I’m gonna hurt you bad, boy.” His attempt at intimidation is meaningless. It is now my turn to end this fight with as much grace as possible.

I stand before the hillbilly and hold my hand before his eyes. I let my wrist go limp like a ninety year old, distracting the hillbilly and raise my unnoticed foot, crushing his pride and jewels in the same blow. He coughs in pain and swallows his ego back down his throat, tears welling in his eyes. He falls with a single high-pitched squeak. A round of applause thanked me for the performance and I must say that I am satisfied with the outcome.

Marco drops his jaw in disappointment, creating an opening for an explanation.

“Three time junior boxing champ Marco. Number one taxi driver isn’t the only trophy in my cabinet.” Marco’s mouth hangs ajar, sucking air. I throw a hand up for acknowledgement. “Who wants to be driven by the best in the city?” Miss Madeline is swampted with charging hopefuls. “It’s okay, I can handle the pressure.”

I leave with a final salute to Marco, a solitary middle finger.

No One Reads Profiles

By Daniel G Taylor

The latino’s name was Carlos. The flag on his profile was Colombian and he was in Australia studying marketing, and he was pathetically unreliable.

They’d met for a first date a week ago and were now trying for their second. The first time had failed because Carlos had been asked to do a double-shift at a Spanish restaurant. Tonight, Jason had already spoken to Carlos before he’d caught the train to the city and the latino had said he was on his way. After Jason had been waiting fifteen minutes, he called Carlos and got no answer. He was about to give up when the phone rang and Carlos said he couldn’t come into the city tonight because some friends had come over. Sorry.

Jason saw then that the dating world hadn’t changed much since he was in it a decade ago. How had Anthony summed it up? No one reads profiles.

To read the full story and many more visit Gay E-Books

Daniel’s Short Biography
If you like school-of-hard-knocks stories, then you’ll love this one.

By the time I started to lead a charmed life as a professional writer at 18, many people dubbing me a “prodigy”, I’d already had enough troubles to fill a memoir. I got to enjoy my success for two years before I was struck down with bipolar disorder.

The trigger for my first manic episode was a relationship breakup, partly because I was an idiot and partly because my freelance writing wasn’t producing “real” money.

So I became interested in business and over the years and spent a long time learning how to run a successful business. This led to me becoming a copywriter and studying marketing.

Along the way, I fulfilled a long-held dream to work in a bookshop and with the business acumen I’d attained, I quickly rose to assistant manager and to be one of the top salespeople in the store.

Daniel is still a freelance writer and journalist. To contact Daniel email


By Melissa Norris

I was a façade before she found me, a mere shell of the person hiding inside.

Looking at these photos, now all I feel is pity for the girl I used to be. Before I met her, these bare images were my life. I spent so many hours altering them, trying to discover who I really was. I leached the colour and searched the jagged shapes left behind for a hint of my true self, a reason for my feelings for her, she who was just like me, and others of our kind.

Back then I was too afraid to look her in the eyes. The girl in the photos, my old self, was just the same. I never looked straight ahead but tilted my head to the side, my gaze at an angle, sometimes even looking away. Secrets lay behind those eyes and despite the intensity of my gaze, my inner self begging to be let free, nothing but words could ever come close to dragging my true self out into the open; nothing but words could be powerful enough to counter my fright, and until they emanated from her lips I wouldn’t have known they existed for me, but there they were: I love you.

In those early days when she looked through my photo album she wanted to know why I wasn’t smiling. There was a slight curve to my lips, a hint of pleasure in my eyes, but my expression was full of fear and vulnerability so deep that it begged to be covered up, hidden inside. I was a million things but none of them were happy. Every image was a façade, a lie.

Now there’s a new picture hanging on her wall. It’s of two girls with open hearts, two girls sitting in each other’s arms, two girls in love. Now as I look upon that photo with pride I remember what she said to me when I was still finding myself, back when I first tried to deny my feelings for her. She told me it didn’t matter what they thought or what they said about me. Love is love in all its many forms and ours was just as powerful. She told me I was all she needed to be happy. I told her she was all I needed to no longer want to hide.

Now as I look at this photo hanging on the wall I see myself for the first time: my real self with a truly happy smile brought out by the love that she provides.

Author Biography

MELISSA NORRIS is a journalism and creative writing student who believes that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with equal respect and rights.

Through writing she hopes to help to break down the stigma surrounding homosexuality and to foster empathy and understanding for same sex couples.