Being gay and working on a remote mine in the West Australian Pilbara is a unique and often funny experience.
The site I work in is one of the most remote in WA, it is 1,980kms from Perth and the nearest town is 290kms west, or a 8 and a half hour drive. In Summer temperatures range from 37 - 52 degrees, the flies are incessant, snakes and dingoes are regularly sighted, the spiders do bite and if you are lucky you will never see a scorpion. On the information guide before you commence it is underlined in bold that this site is "by no means for the faint hearted"
To work in any remote site there are a few personal attributes that help you get through the 12 hour shifts and being away from home for anywhere up to three weeks. Add into the mix of being gay and attracted to a lot of testosterone fuelled rough miners and you can add "good self control" as well.
The population where I work is around 700 people, 90% of them male. Law of Averages says 1 in 10 men are gay. On a remote site that's more like 1 in 50-70. Working up here, my 'Gaydar' dropped out, just like the internet often does, and where I'd like 4G with as many bars as possible, I'm often left with 1 dot and 'no service'.
Gay guys in the remote site where I work at are very well blended in. They either do not want anyone to know, or it is just not an issue for them, or they don't identify as being gay - more bi-curious and in an open relationship they just haven't told their wife about.
If you log onto Grindr you'll be lucky to find 4 profiles within 20kms, and they are all a blank screen or torso shot. You can pick the real torso shots from the fake ones by the shockingly dated quilt cover in the background on a small single bed room with walls the colour of last decades nicotine. Not that I stayed long on Grindr, my profile says "Partnered, looking for mates" and it was like being blacklisted. I've been with my partner 13 years and I didn't want sex, I just wanted someone at work I could go the pub with and not have to watch what I said, I mean having girlfriends at work is great, but really, they don't want to know you get cock more often than they do.
The walls in the rooms are paper thin. It's awesome when your neighbour is watching porn and having a wank, cause I can hear their breathing intensify just before they blow, then the loud moans, then it goes quiet, some steps into their bathroom, tap goes on, you hear the towel shuffle against the wall, and they walk back to their bed. On the flip side, I farted so loudly late one night my neighbour must've got a fright cause I heard him fall out of the bed. There is no privacy, so when two guys do want to hook up, they find other places to get together; a secluded laundry block, an old lookout where no camera's can see a head bobbing up and down while the driver of the parked ute relaxes with his hands confidently behind his head, or a sporting venue.
Two guys were recently caught having sex in the squash courts. They were both believed to be drillers. The official report read "Well, one was drilling for something and the other was climbing the wall like a gecko". Someone asked a girlfriend of mine in Admin if I was one of the guys, and she laughed saying "You think he'd ever step foot in a squash court??" Even my boss knew it wasn't me, stating "Id expect you to be caught somewhere much more public like the carpark in front of the airport terminal"
You see, there lies the crux of what it's like to be gay on a remote site, no one cares, except the gay guys who don't want anyone to know. There are heaps of jokes flying around about the sex in the squash courts, and not one of them is about it being two guys. I mean yes, they made a racket, one of them scored immediately after a serve and his balls hit the wall... however the most anyone can say is "Good on them for getting some action up here"
Btw, if you don't know what a gecko looks like going up a wall, google it, it's actually a pretty comfortable position.