This past Saturday saw thousands of passionate protesters march to the ALP National Conference in support of LGBTI marriage equality.
It was one of the most truly diverse gatherings of people I have ever witnessed, and I feel so blessed to have been a part of this 10,000-strong group.
While the result wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for (the labor party has supported a conscience vote instead of a change in party platform) it is still one step closer to our goal.
For those who couldn’t attend- you missed out. I took a couple of snaps on the day, so please enjoy, and I hope to see you at the next rally held for LGBTI marriage equality.
This Saturday, December 3rd will be a huge day for marriage equality.
People from all over the country will be gathering together in Sydney to voice their support for a more progressive, more inclusive Australia.
A rally has been organised to coincide with the Labor Party’s National Conference. This is the conference in which all ALP members will finally get together to discuss marriage equality, and consider whether it should change its national party platform to support marriage reform and equality for the LGBTI community.
This rally is the big one!
We need as many voices and as much support as we can get. We need to show the ALP that we mean business, and the best way to achieve this is through large numbers. So bring a friend (or two), a family member, or a friendly passer-by and head to Hyde Park this Saturday at midday.
Rally at 12pm, Saturday 3 December, Hyde Park North (Sydney). We will be marching to the ALP Conference in Darling Harbour.
Im currently attempting to come up with something witty and funny for my rally poster, and am failing miserably. For those uncreatives like me, here is a little inspiration:
Every year, my best friend D grows a moustache to support Movember, an initiative that raises funds for men’s health issues in Australia.
D is half Chinese, and pretty much hairless, so growing a mo is a pretty big deal.
The first year he tried, he grew a total of TWELVE long, whispy hairs, and I spent the entire month of November holding back my laughter at his refusal to shave. Five years on, with the help of some mysterious shaving techniques (and probably a little bit of ageing) he amazingly perfected the ‘business man’.
This year while D is on an overseas hiatus, I will also be taking hiatus from Movember. I will be supporting another moustache-themed charity, Fauxvember.
Fauxvember has been started this year as a protest against Movembers continuous support of a Jeff Kennett-headed Beyond Blue. I wrote about my anger with Jeff Kennett’s homophobic comments earlier this year.
Long term Movember supporter, Adrian Hempel, has created Fauxvember sharing similar frustrations;
“We have some serious concerns about the leadership of its largest benefactor in Australia, beyondblue.
We’re disappointed by recent statements made by the chairman of beyondblue, and are concerned about the impact these have had on large numbers of people affected by depression. Specifically, gay men and lesbians, and problem gamblers, all of whom are at much higher risk of depression than the broader community.
We’re also concerned about his conflicts of interest, given that he’s also the president of a football club that receives millions of dollars of revenue from poker machines, as well as being chairman of Amtek, a company whose primary business is the sales and service of poker machines.
Under these circumstances, we don’t feel comfortable raising funds for beyondblue, but we still want to give our support to the causes that work to improve men’s health.”
Fauxvember will be raising funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, the Black Dog Institute and the National LGBTI Health Alliance.
Last week, St Murphy shared a touching insight into why marriage equality is important to him. It has inspired me to tell my own marriage story, and the reason behind why I support LGBTI equality.
You can see St Murphy’s marriage story here
When my mother, K, met her partner, Y, I was two and a half years old. Y always recalls, at 30 years of age, it was in this moment that she truly believed in love at first sight. Within three weeks of this first meeting, we had all moved in together, and were living in a tiny flat in the Inner West, Sydney.
I’m going to be really honest with you, growing up with lesbian parents hasn’t always been the easiest ride. Throughout the years my family has been confronted with numerous examples of discrimination. From under-the-breath homophobic comments in the supermarket queue, to an outright accusation of child molestation, (because obviously a lesbian woman raising her non-biological child must be a pedophile); I have heard it all. I can recall a time in high school that I was told by a visiting representative of a major church in Sydney that I was ‘living in a house of sin,’ and that it would be beneficial for me to leave my home. I was 13 at the time.
During that awkward stage between childhood and teenage life, I would let these types of comments deeply affect me. I spent so much of my time hiding who I was and where I came from, because society told me that normal was good. I was so embarrassed of where I came from, and greatly envied those who grew up in heteronormative families, where Dad worked a 9-6, and Mums life was spent taxiing around their 2.5 kids.
As most of us do, I’ve come to realise with age that differences are the things that should be celebrated. That raising a ‘traditional family’ isn’t actually important, but that raising a loving and stable one is. At 23, I have supported countless friends whose seemingly ‘normal’ parents have struggled through infidelity, separation, mental illness and divorce. Time and time again, these friends have expressed their envy of the commitment and love in my family. Time and time again they have told me, ‘you just don’t know how lucky you are’.
More than ever, I realise now that the family I tried so desperately to hide is actually the thing I am most proud of. And all I can do is thank the world for blessing me with two of the most compassionate, committed and loving parents in the world.
And its not because they are two women, but because they are two genuinely wonderful human beings.
Earlier this month, I was volunteering at WA Pride Day, and I felt absolutely blown away at the large amount of beautiful families and children that poured through the gates. And it really made me think: we need to make this easier for them. We need to stop holding on to these outdated ideals of what the ‘perfect family’ should resemble, and realise that, like it or not, we have already moved passed that. Family has already evolved.
Current legislation in Australia tells society that a heterosexual relationship is more worthy than a homosexual one. It tells us that a persons basic rights should be based on something as miniscule as their sexual preference. It tells the country that my family is second class, and that my parents commitment and love over the past two decades does not deserve equal recognition to that of their heterosexual peers.
This December 3rd, I will be marching with my fellow equal marriage supporters in Sydney to ask the Labor party to change their stance on LGBTI marriage rights. And it’s not because I believe that marriage is the basis of family, or that people need to be married for the sanctity of a relationship. It’s because I believe in equality. And only full equality under the eyes of the law will bring full equality in the eyes of our communities. And the kids deserve that.
The Marriage Equality Rally will be held on December 3rd, from 12pm. We will be meeting at Hyde Park, and marching down to the ALP conference in Darling Harbour. For more details, see CAAH.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Some snaps from 2011 Perth Fairday, held at Russell Square in Northbridge on Sunday. This was my first Fairday since moving to Perth, so I decided to volunteer my time and spent the morning at the front gate helping to collect the entry fee.
It was quite a bit smaller than the Sydney Fairday I am familiar with, but Perth is so relaxed, and everyone was so happy and friendly, that it really had the feel of a gathering of friends. It was lovely to see so many loving families with young kids around, as well as plenty of gorgeous mutts and a large array of fantastic and colourful costumes.
Although we are still battling for the end of marriage discrimination in Australia, it is important to remember how lucky we are compared to many others in the rest of the world. Before the 2009 same-sex relationship law reform, my non-biological parent was viewed as a stranger by the law, although she had raised me since the age of two. She had absolutely no legal rights as a parent, although she fed, clothed, educated and nurtured me. Although LGBTI non-biological parents are now recognised under the eyes of the law in Australia, this is not true for everywhere.
Rory’s Story really highlights the impact discrimination has on families, and reminds me why it is not only important to fight for marriage equality in Australia, but for LGBTI rights throughout the world.
Last Anzac day, Jim Wallace, the leader of the Australian Christian Lobby, tweeted “just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for- wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!”
This kind of blatant prejudice is becoming more and more frequently associated with Christian morality in Australia today.
As equality supporters we hear Leviticus quoted so often we begin to assume that Jesus ran around preaching homophobic messages and that Moses’ tablets contained an 11th commandment stipulating “thou shall not gay-marry.”
And Christians get their fair share back from us, with comments along the lines of ‘homophobic Christian bigotry’ thrown around constantly on news and LGBTI forums.
There is war going on between marriage equality supporters and Christians, and I feel stuck in the middle of Eve and Steve.
I think we all need to take a second to reanalyze, and ask ourselves the age-old question, WWJD?*
Even if you don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God, you have to admit he had some pretty decent ideals. He was a big supporter of love and treating people in a respectful manner. He said “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12), and disapproved greatly of people passing judgment and criticizing each other.
Jesus hung out with individuals that the majority of society deemed the lowest of low. He made friends with prostitutes and tax collectors, lepers and outcasts, and he treated them all with respect and love. Jesus preached tolerance above all, something that 2000 years later we seem to be forgetting.
While many would like you to believe otherwise, Jesus actually never made any comment on homosexuality. He did however make quite a few about his support of fidelity and loyalty, and was really keen on marriage (but not so much on divorce). And while the bible does refer to casual homosexual relations <insert overused Leviticus passages here>, it never considers long-term, committed LGBTI relationships.
Desmond Tutu, a world-renowned human rights activist, the receiver of a Nobel Peace Prize, and a retired Anglican Archbishop, sums it up best in July 2007’s edition of Vanity Fair:
“For me, I can’t imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted. The Jesus who I worship is a Jesus who was forever on the side of those who were being clobbered, and he got into trouble precisely because of that. Our church, the Anglican Church, is experiencing a very, very serious crisis. It is all to do with human sexuality. I think God is weeping. He is weeping that we should be spending so much energy, time, resources on this subject at a time when the world is aching.”
So lets take a page out of Jesus’ book. Instead of focusing on our differences, lets focus on what makes us the same, what makes us intrinsically human. Although marriage equality supporters and christians opposing reform may never see eye-to-eye, we can still debate respectfully. And remember the values that Jesus supported the most; tolerance, compassion and love.
*WWJD? For those not old enough to remember the early 90’s (lucky you!), this was a popular motto, usually fashioned on hippy bracelets belonging to Evangelical Christians, and is abbreviation for “What Would Jesus Do?”
Its been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve felt really disillusioned lately by the amount of hurtful, hate-filled comments that have been thrown around by anti-marriage equality advocates. The latest one involving Jeff Kennett, the founding chairman of Beyond Blue.
Beyond Blue has for a long time been my Australian charity of choice. My professional background is in marketing and events, and I have assisted in fundraisers for the charity, as well as advocated for them personally amongst my peers, including those struggling with sexual identity-related issues. Last week, Kennett authored an opinion column for the Herald Sun, in which he expressed his concern regarding the stress and anxiety levels amongst Australian children. He stated that “clearly the best environment in which to bring a child into the world is a stable, loving environment in which a male and female are married to each other.”
Beyond Blue is Australia’s national depression organisation. LGBT depression and suicide rates are some of the highest in the country. Why would anyone struggling with sexual identity issues ever want to seek help from an organisation which has publicly declared them as second rate citizens?
Children of LGBT families are not stressed and anxious because of their parents gender, Mr Kennett, they are stressed and anxious because of prejudice and bigotry like this.
New York State Senator Diane Savino speaks on the Marriage Equality bill.
We need more politicians like this in Australia.
Thanks to Guy