I’m trying very hard to remain civil and eloquent.
I’m trying very hard to remain hopeful and positive.
Both are proving extremely difficult.
Because, once again, my country’s leaders have told us that, in the eyes of the law, LGBTQIA citizens are not equal. That we are not worthy of the same rights and recognition. That, despite being the last developed English-speaking nation holding out, despite years of evidence that it will not be the ruin of society, despite the vast majority of Australian citizens being in favour of equality, they continue to resist extending the basic right of marriage to all Australians, and will continue to resist it until their dying breaths.
In the past, when politicians have made homophobic remarks, dismissed the marriage equality movement or expressed ideas so incredibly ignorant that it’s hard to believe an adult actually said those words, I have tried to laugh. I’ve laughed at the idiocy, at the archaic nature of our politicians, at the ridiculous stubbornness of ageing men desperate to keep us in the past.
But it’s becoming harder to laugh, harder to remain hopeful in the face of such clear and constant reminders that for all the campaigning, debating, awareness raising and polling, that our leader simply do not care about us.
Some would argue that this is a matter of opinion, that everyones entitled to their position and entitled to stand by their beliefs. But I say, when your beliefs and your opinions are hurting people you are in the wrong. And this hurts. The affects people’s lives. This tells people they are lesser. This kills. Your intolerance and resistance to change is hurting and killing people. LGBTQIA people are at an increased risk of assault, of mental health issues, of suicide, and you are actively enabling that by telling them they are not worthy of the same things you are worthy of.
They say it’s not personal, but that, with respect, is bullshit. Politicians are ignoring the voices of the people and clinging to their own outdated agendas, forcing their beliefs on the rest of us because they happen to find themselves in positions of power. They are hurting us, and telling us it’s for our own good, and I am finding it so very hard to stay positive.
If I fall in love with a man, I will be able to stand before the law and bind myself to him. I will be able to make a commitment recognised by the law and the government, and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. My relationship will matter.
If I fall in love with a woman, I won’t be able to do any of those things. Because as far as my country is concerned, my relationship will not be equal, will not be worthwhile, will not matter.
If I fall in love, I want it to matter.
Forget that every other developed English-speaking nation has legalised it. Forget that clinging to outdated laws is making us the laughing stock of out allies. Forget the supposed separation of church and state, or the evidence that same-sex relationships don’t hurt children and won’t lead to legalised bestiality. Forget that the meaning of marriage has constantly evolved over the centuries and that laws are constantly rewritten and that this debate is exhausting and that Holy Catholic Ireland got there before us –
This is hurting us. I can’t laugh about that anymore.