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I originally posted a version of this on my Facebook page, but I thought I’d share it here on the blog too…
Fellow Aussies, please please please vote in this upcoming plebiscite for marriage equality (especially if you want to say ‘yes’). It sucks and we shouldn’t be wasting our money and our time and be told to use snail mail when quite frankly a lot of us younger folk hate it, but we can’t boycott it. We just can’t. Because even though this isn’t even binding, we need to make a very clear statement to the ‘no’ campaigners and to our government. That anything less than equality is bullshit and we as a people will not accept it.
There are some bigoted people out there. Some people who are hateful and small minded. These people will probably never change their minds. We need to rise above them – cancel out their votes. We might not get through to them but we need to have conversations with our loved ones – ask them their intentions, their reasoning, explain ours. Because for every extreme bigot out there, there are some well meaning people who might not have thought it through or who despite being otherwise quite lovely people, may be planning on voting ‘no’ out of fear or due to a misguided loyalty to a religious/family background that if they are really honest, they do not themselves completely live by any longer but are scared to step out of line with.
I feel like those are the people we need to try to reach. We all think we feel confident that most of Australia will support marriage equality, but we can’t be complacent. I have heard so many people tell me recently that they thought for sure that their partners, parents, siblings or friends would vote yes, only to have a conversation with them and find out that they had assumed incorrectly. This is a non compulsory vote, so the loudest voices will win. I want love to win. Not fear or complacency or hate.
The reasons I will be voting for equality are:
1. Think of the children! Think of your children. Who might they be one day? Maybe you might not believe that them being gay would be ideal, but if you would love them no matter what and never want them to feel like second class citizens if they ever came out to you, then vote yes. Do it for them and for every other gorgeous child out there who will grow up LGBTQI – they don’t choose their sexuality, they are born that way. How would we feel years down the track knowing we voted against our own children? Or our dear friends’ children who we adore and have known forever?
2. My friends. My amazing friends. A lot of them are not heterosexual. I grew up with these people, attended uni with these people, have cared about these people for most of my life (often long before their ‘coming out’). I can’t stand the idea that I can swan about with my wedding ring on and make jokes about married life, while they don’t even get a choice. Sure, not all of my gay or bi friends want to get married but FFS they deserve the right to choose. How can you look these people in the eye if you snuck off to the mailbox and voted against them having equal rights?? Or if you didn’t stand up for them by bothering to put that shit in an envelope and send it off? You’re no friend. I know that seems harsh, but seriously!
3. Plain empathy and a passion for social justice. I am not queer but I have experienced discrimination. Racism (both overt and casual). Sexism. Being treated as just a little less. Being talked to loudly and slowly and like I’m stupid. Hearing my race or my gender being referred to in ways that are designed to let me know I’m ‘less than’. Internalising that as a young person and starting to believe it. That feels like SHIT. And I don’t want anyone to feel like that about the things that make them them. The things they cannot change. As a society, we need to do better than that. For everyone.
4. Love is always better than fear or hate. ALWAYS. So if more people in our nation are allowed to express that love with a fabulous celebration and commitment to each other, then why the hell should we stand in their way? Our world could do with more of that.
5. The legalities. I want gay people to have the EXACT same legal rights as straight people. I mean come on. It’s just awful that in this day and age, that’s not happened yet. It’s not rocket science.
I don’t claim to have every single fact on the matter but what I won’t do is make up fake statistics or abuse anyone for their opinions. What I will do is speak on the things I do know: love, equality, understanding, empathy, friendship, family.
Everyone deserves that much.
Please vote. Please vote yes.