Q&A with local wrestler and Western Rainbow Award recipient Chris Gooden


    By Daniel Brace

    Chris Gooden is well known in the west as the owner and friendly front man of Seddon Deadly Sins, which is more to Chris than just a cafe.

    Chris lives in West Footscray with his partner, Michael, and has lived, worked and contributed to the west for over 20 years. 

    In your opinion, what’s so good about the west?

    We’re not Brunswick. The west was cool long before Brunswick. We’re so cool, we don’t have to try hard to be cool. 

    You were/are a wrestler. You’ve competed internationally and were Vice-President of the Melbourne Wranglers, the gay wrestling team, for seven years. Why wrestling?

    Originally it was because I wanted to go to Paris to the Gay Games. Yes, that is as gay as it sounds. Actually, talking about language, I really prefer the word Queer. I’m not really into labels. So Queer sort of covers everything. 

    What I learnt when I started to wrestle was the physical confidence and discipline that goes with martial arts. The mission is not to hurt your opponent but to win by ‘technical superiority.’ Which sounds pretty cool. Also it keeps me fit. And I like the outfits. 

    How is it being gay, or queer, or part of the Rainbow Soup that is LGBTQIA+ in the west these days do you think?

    A little while ago, the cafe sponsored a prize for GenZine which was the creation of a group of young people who wanted to promote gender equity, expression and diversity. They won a Western Rainbow Award for their publication and I am really proud of them. 

    I was in the closet until my early 20’s and it’s so refreshing to see these young queer kids being proud to be themselves. I admire them heaps. 

    Oh yes, congratulations on your Western Rainbow Award recognising 20 years of contributing to community. I noticed you did a double strut down the rainbow catwalk to collect your Award. Slay queen! 

    Thanks. It was an awesome night. I only wish I had practised my slutdrop before the awards night. I’m fine to drop, it’s getting up that’s the problem. 

    I know what you mean. I’ve reached that age as well. 

    You have put a lot of effort into genuinely creating community, you just have to step inside Seddon Deadly Sins and you feel the warmth. Is that a response to something in your life?

    We are at the other end of the spectrum of food experience to the impersonal drive through or anonymous home delivery services. We need connection. Even when we’re just getting a coffee, connection is really important. 

    I had a customer who had been coming for a decade. Quiet guy, friendly but kept to himself. Didn’t see him for a while. For 12 months. 

    A maxi-taxi turned up and it was him. He was on his way to palliative care. But he wanted to stop in and say goodbye. 

    Connection is everything. 

    What could we do better in the west?

    Believe in ourselves more and be more visible. You are what you see. So be your authentic self in public. Be proud. If our young people can do it. So can we. 

    What is your favourite food joint in the west (apart from your own)?

    Harley and Rose for pizza. Great pizza and it’s a stone’s throw from home. 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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