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Why Marriage Equality Matters…

September 12, 2017

It’s been bugging me a lot lately the debate about same-sex marriage.  I don’t mean the part where it’s fundamentally humiliating in this day and age to have to beg people for the right to be treated equally.  And not the part where it’s just a ridiculous amount of public funds to be wasted on something (that essentially has no legal consequence) when there are schools, hospitals and an ever-increasing amount of elderly Australians who direly need the money more.

 

But the thing that really has been upsetting me the most is the passivity of a lot of the people around me.  The friends and family members who, whilst likely to vote ‘YES’ on the non-legally binding marketing survey postcards currently being mailed out to them, seem content that quietly and privately ticking a little box on a piece of cardboard is enough to show support for the loved ones around them who have spent their lives being told to be ashamed of themselves for as long as they can remember.

 

Still, if they’re voting ‘YES’ then why does it feel inadequate somehow?  I’ve had countless arguments with my own mother about it and it frustrates me because I know she genuinely doesn’t understand why it almost feels like a betrayal that she doesn’t care *more*.  I mean – if someone was saying my little brother couldn’t marry his girlfriend, she’d be the first person marching down the street and knocking on every single door she could until she ensured the whole suburb understood about equal rights.  Heck, if that were the case I’d be right there marching alongside her.  Most of us would fight to the death for our loved ones, so why don’t they feel compelled to stand up and fight for us?

 

And it occurred to me that part of the reason why is because none of them truly understand what growing up gay is like.  I mean, this huge part of who we are and what shaped us is something that a vast majority of us kept secret for many years (and some of us still do).  We never talked to them about what it was like growing up being told that we different.  We never talked about what it was like being told who we love is wrong.  We never told them what it was like going to school each day being afraid of getting the living daylights beat out of us because of the way we were born.  We never talked about how lonely adolescence was for us because we couldn’t kiss who we wanted to kiss or date who we wanted to date.  We probably never made them acknowledge how much they contributed (whether implicitly or explicitly) to that very fear that, at any time, we could be kicked out of our own homes forever for nothing more than just being who we are.  And most of us have never told them what it was like to spend every single day contemplating killing ourselves because it was easier than living in fear.  Heck, most of us have never even said that out loud to ANYONE.  Thankfully, most of us eventually find a way to outgrow that feeling when we venture out into the adult world – but some of us don’t.  Some of us never make it that far.  So while we contend with all the other battles you all face surviving the challenges of childhood – whether it be being ‘too fat’, ‘too ugly’, ‘too unpopular’ or ‘too slow’ – we also have to battle an entire decade (if we’re lucky) of that daily battle about whether or not we want to live through another day.  One that often stretches far into adulthood for an unimaginable amount of you still.  The thing is – if you look around right now, the chances are good that someone sitting in your office, or across from you on the train, or in your very own home is STILL waging that mental war in their head, even in adulthood, because they are still too afraid to come out and live their life the way they actually want to.

 

But mostly I wonder if people realise how lucky they are to have that person sitting across from them at all.  And I guess they probably don’t, because they’ve never really been told how many times that person almost took their own life growing up, because they grew up in a world where we say that being gay is not okay.  And I wonder if the rest of you that have a family of your own realise that there is a one in ten chance that one of your own children is probably going to silently struggle with this very same impulse every single day that we let this sad excuse for a debate wage on.  It may just be a marketing survey about marriage equality, but it’s really a referendum on whether hard-working, decent, everyday Australians should get equal rights to go along with the equal taxes they pay and the equal responsibilities they have.

 

Cute Pic of me and the dog writing this. He’s not gay, but I’d support him if he was..

 

And for those of you sitting there with someone in your life who made it through the daily torment growing up gay in Australia still is to this very day, then take a second to appreciate that they are still there, and that they decided to stay.  Because most of them had to do so on their own.  And you’ll never know how close you came to not having them in your life anymore at all.  So be grateful, and help try to build a better Australia where future generations don’t have to feel this way.  Chances are, you probably weren’t there to protect us when we needed you to back then.  So BE HERE NOW and fight for us.  BE ANGRY.  It’s not too late to make a difference…

 

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