Australian Horror Story

Same Sex Marriage & the Naysayers

It is inevitable that as a gay man in Australia, I’d likely write a blog post on this who Same-Sex Marriage Saga currently playing out nationwide.

Let me just start by saying – as a taxpayer, I’m thoroughly appalled at the amount of waste (monetary and environmentally) caused by the farce that is the non-binding, totally voluntary, postal opinion survey.
I can’t fathom, how elected leaders, who are elected to be the voice of their electorate, are spending $122mil to gauge public opinion to change the legal definition of marriage in this country, that our Elected Prime Minister changed in 2004 to deliberately exclude same-sex couples. (We should be reviewing how that erred on the side of discrimination and an abuse of rights in the first place)

From the Outset, There’s been plenty of cases of people trying to sell blank ballots, collecting ballots and dumping them (usually in progressive, left-leaning suburbs)
There’s no way for the ABS to police this. It’s an anonymous, voluntary vote.

So here we find ourselves, locked in heated debate with the right wing naysayers who have publicly bashed us for the last 100 years (and the rest)
I view most of Australia as somewhat progressive and to some degree, have that laid back attitude the world seems to think we have.
On the other hand, we seem to be stuck in this pattern of electing officials who are borderline crazy & should be sitting on the fringe of society, not be given a national platform to broadcast their intolerance and hatred. Some of them I’m sure could be clinically classified as psychopaths.

These are the very same naysayers who, like Tony Abbott in 2004 (yes, our former PM) described the scale of abortion in this country as “a national tragedy” or his 2IC Barnaby Joyce who is also anti-abortion.
Lets not even start on #RWNJ Cory Bernardi, who broke away from our already conservative-leaning Liberal Party Government to start his own party “The Australian Conservatives”
Great, just what this country needed. Another christian on gods warpath telling us how we should all live, how women shouldn’t have abortions, gays will ruin everything, yadda yadda so on and so on.
People like Bernardi & Abbott do nothing to advance this country. Each time we elect these bigots, who say shit like “I have gay friends, whom I love dearly, but they shouldn’t be able to get married”  on a national stage. We regress back to darker times.
Before long, if these right-wingers have their way. Abortion will be illegal again, Homosexuality would be illegal, Aboriginals will be treated as second class (which considering most of this country already treat them as such, really says something about the direction of this country)
The next morning, you wake up and it’s 1976 again.

There are wider implications at play here. The already over-represented gay youth suicide rate in this country is, to be frank, fucking disgusting.
Mr Abbott – this is a national tragedy.
Heres a few quick stats from LGBTI Health

Screenshot 2017-09-24_10-31-48

These very naysayers don’t think LGBTI youth face discrimination or violence anymore.
Well, you probably wouldn’t know, because you aren’t a LGBTI person.
These statistics speak for themselves.

Discrimination & Harassment:
I can wholeheartedly agree, that every LGBTI person who reads this blog (all 4 of you probably) Have, at some time in the past 5 years, experienced some kind of discrimination, harassment, felt unsafe in public or violence in some form.
I’m not overly flamboyant, but I know for certain that I have felt unsafe because of my sexuality, I have been called faggot by people in public. I have been shoved while kissing my partner goodbye in public.
All of these things go unreported because our police force has a long history of unfairly persecuting gay men and women, or writing complaints off as “not worthy of investigation”
The NSW Police Force has helped normalise this behaviour. Further, they don’t even have their own house in order as evidenced by the appalling treatment of their own in one of Sydney’s gay heartlands, Newtown

Why then, would a member of the LGBTI community bother reporting an incident if they have no faith in receiving due process without bias.

Enabling Hate:
This Postal Survey has effectively brought to the surface, the seedy underside of the Australian psyche. Much in the same way as Donal Trump brought out the white supremacist groups during his bid for the US Presidency.
These hate groups are now given a national platform and airtime, under the guise for fair debate & free speech. These groups are being enabled by the Alt-Right and Christian conservatives, to spread their hate, recruit new members while further demonising already marginalised groups of society.
While all of the nation is focused on the debate – these groups are being empowered day by day. Much like Outlaw Motorcycle clubs, they lurk in the shadows, operating online, trolling the internet & attempting to sway public opinion. But rest assured when this vote is done and dusted, these groups remain, empowered and looking for their next target.
Politicians like Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi, Eric Abetz and the others have no reason to stop them, or publicly shame them. They empower them by aiding their voice of being “Silenced by the Yes” because this bolsters their opinion.

The Silent Majority:
Most of my LGBTI friends are slowly regressing into themselves while this national shit show plays out.
While my profession forces me onto social media, many of my friends have gone into exile both on social media, and in personal life.
We are tired. We are exhausted. We are succumbing to the hatred being directed at us every day.
I am sad, I am beaten, I am down.
I have had so many stores from friends of all ages, Who’s family has publicly declared to them they’re voting “no”. Their friends, colleagues, bosses have publicly declared the same.
Most of us, simply confide in one another, because to show public weakness would be akin to being a ‘snowflake’
There are friends of friends who have, for 50 years, put up with being treated like second-class citizens. They’re angry, they’re angry that we are so close, but so far,
They’re angry that the “no” side is gaining traction playing the martyr.
They’re angry, that for 50 years they have been marginalised and abused, simply for being, but now their opressors are claiming to be bullied into silence, and Australia listening.

It’s not all Doom & Gloom
For every bad post, there’s almost & equal good post.
Many friends have taken to the challenge to rise up and fight for this change.
Sitting on the sidelines, I’ve taken much joy in seeing some of this.
Possible the best, and likely the most viral in this whole campaign, was the use of the word cunt, by a friend, and his mother.
As at writing, on Twitter alone, this has had over 140K likes & 44K retweets

Screenshot 2017-09-24_11-13-42

Andy’s feed is probably where I spend most of my time. His tenacity at calling out the bigots and his absolute dedication to our cause is both unwavering and impressive.
While his colourful language, beautifully delivered is masterful at delivering a death stroke to the haters, he is a kind, loving soul with an absolute heart of gold.
It’s people like Andrew, to whom I look at in awe. Their ability to dedicate time, energy and resources to this fight are the people who will win this for us in the long term.

This is just one of so many good stories, that have come out in this debate. It offers a small comfort that we are not alone, that there a people with big voices who will stand up to those equally big voices on the no side. Who will take everything that can be thrown at them, and return fire with greater amounts of love, logic & reason.
We all owe you a great debt.

Note: It’s currently 36degrees in Sydney. I’m going to the pool. 

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