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Best of 2017: Postal survey ends don't justify means

  • 10 January 2018


I woke up anxious. I got on the train and met my sister and we talked about what the result was going to be. My sister was sure of a yes; I wasn't so confident.

'People thought Hillary was going to win and the UK was going to stay in the EU,' I reminded her. My sister bought me a dyed rainbow rose from Flinders Street Station, 'for the symbolism. So you'll have something physical of this day.' I smiled at her and twirled the rose over and over on the way to the tram.

In an article for The Age, Premier Daniel Andrews told LGBT+ people to 'keep standing up and speaking up ... keep telling us what you go through day-to-day'. For me, I've been doorknocking, calling, gone to rallies and written articles. I've been living my life; finishing one university program that I loved and applying for another one, checking in with friends, dealing with my mental health. I'm happy to report there were days that I didn't actively think about the postal vote, though most days I did.

When I wasn't thinking about the postal vote, I thought about how on Manus, there are 400 refugees who are still without water and food. I thought about Indigenous Australians still are fighting for recognition and how this year the Elijah Doughty demonstrations had hundreds of protestors while the same sex marriage rallies had thousands. The LGBT+ community didn't want this vote to happen, but I still feel guilt all the same that the same sex marriage debate has overshadowed these issues.

Every day, in the back of my mind, I thought about queer youth and marvelled how they could even be upright, let alone go to school or take exams. According to ReachOut, the user rate of youth hotlines has increased by 20 per cent in the last few months. I thought about how almost every LGBT+ person I talked to said how they felt like they are back 'in the closet' or 'in high school'. How I felt the same way.

So standing in front of Melbourne's State Library, I was near tears as the minutes ticked by. Five minutes, four, three ... the live stream that the yes campaign had set up kept glitching, so we only heard snatches of what was being said. What if it glitched on the announcement? A few people around us made jokes about 'bloody Turnbull's NBN'.