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Questionable Deeds : Making a Stand for Equal Love - Michael Burge

Questionable Deeds

Making a Stand for Equal Love

Paperback Published: 14th September 2015
ISBN: 9780994388704
Number Of Pages: 272

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One random night in 2004, Michael Burge's long-term partner, choreographer Jonathan Rosten, died suddenly while rehearsing a show. In the midst of the ensuing grief, Jono's relatives started the secret and devastating process of disenfranchising Michael from his position as Jono's next of kin.
With his name removed from Jono's death certificate, Michael found himself unable to wrap-up his de-facto partner's affairs; in a legal, ethical and financial 'David and Goliath' battle that was none of his making.
Exiled from his own life, facing grief, depression and suicidal thoughts, Michael eventually found the courage to fight back.
Along the way he came face-to-face with his own demons, and those of the generation that faced HIV/AIDS and the ensuing legislative no-man's land which saw many de-facto couples disenfranchised by homophobic families.
Through asserting his right to grieve the loss of his partner, not only personally, but on a public and legislative level, Michael's story offers a rarely heard, surprising and honest voice for all Australians dealing with loss.
Set against a country coming to terms with the human rights and responsibilities of same-sex equality, Questionable Deeds offers one man's argument for marriage equality and why it's a no-brainer for any 21st century nation.

Industry Reviews

"A tough but ultimately triumphant and deeply satisfying read. It touches on themes of grief, denial and injustice. The ending is uplifting." - Mary Moody

Why Australia must have marriage equality


I've long been a believer in same sex marriage. My attitude has always pretty much been one of love is love and therefore you should have the same rights, no matter who you love. After reading this book it becomes more than apparent why equal rights to marriage is not just desirable, it's essential. One little bit of paper, a bit of paper I have somewhere in my house and barely think about, would have saved Michael the grief of being made a non entity in his beloved husband's life on top of the grief of losing him. One. Piece. Of. Paper. Questionable Deeds is raw. Michael pulls no punches, hides nothing from the reader. His grief is devastating, leaking out of the pages as he struggles to understand what is happening and why. His anger is palpable, driven by his confusion about events he should have control of but doesn't. His skill in extrapolating his experience to the lives of those around him and his subsequent drive to make sure his story is not someone else's shows you the true measure of this man. The attitude and actions of Jono's mother and brother astound me. Try as I might, I cannot wrap my mind around why you would want to deny such a large part of your child's life. I struggle to understand people who feel that a gay child is a failure - either of the child or the parent. A child who has no compassion, no empathy - that is a failure. A child who meets and builds a life with someone they love - that is a success. Michael is a bigger person than me as he at least tries to understand Jono's mum's point of view and actions. His final decision in how to end the impasse amazing. I'm lucky enough to know Michael. We live in the same community and have had a handful of conversations and interactions which have been thought provoking and insightful. It's always a bit daunting reviewing a friend's work, but reading Questionable Deeds was a great privilege and has simply confirmed for me the principled person Michael is. Questionable Deeds should be read by anyone who has any doubts as to the importance of same sex marriage. The existing laws are not enough - they didn't help Michael. One piece of paper that hurts no one, but could save someone from an incredible amount of pain is all we need.

Brisbane, AU


A book that needs to be read.


If you have ever questioned the importance of marriage equality, the necessity to recognise the relationships of same-sex couples, you need to read this book. If you have ever wondered why so many people are standing up and asking, demanding, that marriage equality is recognised in Australia, you need to read this book. If you want to know what happens when a family tries to erase their son's life partner from legal documents, denies their relationship, and even their son's sexuality, you need to read this book. This book is an emotionally difficult read. Michael's writing is raw, blunt, and honest; sometimes shockingly and gut-wrenchingly so. Reading of Jono's death and how Michael tried to navigate the following weeks will have you reaching for tissues. After that, be prepared to be angry and appalled by the behaviours of not just Jono's family, as they try to erase Michael from Jono's life and his death, but also the attitudes and behaviours of people who professed to be friends of Michael. And yes, there is also friendship, of the truest kind. Friends and family who quietly and actively gave Michael the love and support he needed to stay on his feet - even when he no longer wanted to. There is honesty in this book. Honesty wrapped in the truth, the lies, the grief, the slow journey to acceptance, and the finding of a new life, love, and home. This is not a work of fiction. This is Michael's life. This is a telling of what happened in the weeks, months and years after his husband died, and the legal and emotional battles he fought for acknowledgement of the validity of their relationship. This is not an isolated incident, and this is not Michael's story alone. This happens to same-sex couples, too often and too frequently. Same-sex partners are disenfranchised by families at times of grief, illness, loss, and the families are supported in their actions by the legal system. Some things have changed in the years since Jono's death and Michael's subsequent fight for recognition. There are some legal rights for same-sex couples. But, there will always be in-equalities in the legal standing of same-sex couples until marriage equality is recognised in Australia.




5.0 2


ISBN: 9780994388704
ISBN-10: 0994388705
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 14th September 2015
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.81 x 12.9  x 1.45
Weight (kg): 0.27