It’s been almost two and a half years since I published this post about same-sex marriage. The post went viral, shared hundreds of thousands of times both in Australia and overseas, and you know what the most remarkable thing was? Not one person, not one, commented or emailed or tweeted or messaged to say they disagreed with same sex marriage. Each time a media outlet in Australia commissions a poll about same sex marriage, the results are overwhelmingly in favour, but still, here we are, caught in a mire of filthy, stinking political bullshit.
Some really terrible things have happened to me and my family this year. Hugh broke his wrist on New Year’s Day, and it all seemed to go downhill from there with my accident and resultant periods of hospitalisation, surgery and long, slow recovery. Then my Mum recently became seriously ill, and I felt the weight of the world pressing right down on top of me. But I have been absolutely blessed by the support of dear friends, in particular Shauna and Duane. They have both been there every step of the way this year, making sure Dave and Hugh and I are OK, offering reassurance, providing a listening ear and a reassuring hug through many awful days and even more awful nights.
As it happens, these two friends of mine are in same sex relationships (obviously not with each other, because that would make no sense). I feel absolutely SICK at the thought of this debate about marriage equality having a negative impact on them and their families. Love is love. Love for friends, love for family, love for partner, love for kids – every individual’s experience is unique, but in essence the same, because we are all human. I don’t love anyone better, or more meaningfully, or with any more passion because I’m a heterosexual human, and I don’t deserve any more rights than anyone else just because I was born this way.
People – my friends, people I love, people I don’t know, men, women, children – are being hurt by these debates about how they live their lives, discussions about which rights they are deserving of and which they are not, public statements so ignorant they be laughable if they were not so hateful.
Duane is strong, confident, outgoing and comfortable in his own skin. And since I have known him, he has kind of pushed on through this whole marriage equality debacle, water off a ducks back and all that. Except late last night, the water having turned into a tidal wave and his duck drowning not waving, Duane posted this on Facebook, and has given me permission to republish it here.
This is going to be my last post on the topic of marriage equality before I disengage completely from the discussion. And it’s going to be rambling and prickly as finally, I’ve had enough. I am exposing some vulnerability here (which doesn’t happen that often at my age!) by admitting that this decade of public discussion, and specifically the last few years of ‘the Australian people have a right to vote’ on the validity of my personal life, does make me feel humiliated as a person. Yep, it does.
To be clear, I’m not ashamed – not at all, I love my life and who I am. But I am constantly humiliated that something which is personal and private has become so politicized and pushed into the public arena. How did we get to a point where our entire country is being asked to (and some are demanding a right to) vote on my personal life? Without even trying, every day I hear and read all manner of comments about my private life and people’s opinions on it. And it all serves to remind me that this LNP government, and the Labor government before that, and the LNP government before that have made direct decisions which have led us to this point – a point where it seems to have become ok that my private life be open to scrutiny, judgement and commentary – and as a country we’ve let this happen.
That is what Australia has become. It’s scary and repulsive. Stop and ask yourself how violated you would feel if an element of your private life became a daily news piece for a decade – and even worse, that your government decided the whole country should vote on it. It actually does my fucking head in. And for all the back patting and congratulations that will no doubt go on in Canberra when this does eventually become law, I for one won’t forget how the last few governments have made me feel, which will make any kind of result bittersweet.
So please, if this all goes ahead make sure you are enrolled, cast your vote on my private life, do it with love – and reflect on how truly offensive it is that you are being asked to do so, and remember that feeling next election day. It goes without saying – if you vote no, we no longer have anything to talk about. Ever. Immediate unfriending. I’d say sorry for being cranky, but right now I just feel like saying fuck you. More importantly though, I do want to say thank you infinity to the many people in my life, and in the world, who make me forget about all of this ridiculousness – sincerely, thank you.
The main reason I can’t keep engaging on this topic is because, unexpectedly, thinking about this whole concept and the pressure of having your country judge and vote on your life brings back a flood of memories of homophobia across my life, and I spontaneously cry! I’m an emotionally stable person, and J and I are in a stable relationship, and it makes me worry for those other people out there in the same situation who don’t have this stability and support. So I will ask, if you do know any other gay people, reach out and check they are OK, please.