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Too many words about same sex marriage

  • 24 August 2017


Lots of words have already been said and typed about the subject of same sex marriage. Too many, frankly. But it seems that the marriage equality debate will not go away nor be resolved easily, though LGBTI advocates have said that the homophobic anti-same sex marriage campaign will be damaging to the mental health of LGBTI people. Of course, the very idea that civil rights should be put to a public vote is demoralising.

Still there’s a belief among some that the Vote No discourse doesn’t actually affect the lives of LGBTI people. The party line from the Liberals has been that it’s a ‘civil debate’. In spite of this assurance, the Victorian Local Governance Association has advised ‘council workers have access to resources to support themselves or members of the community during the lead up to the postal survey’ while the ABC made a ‘trauma toolkit’ and have set up a hotline to deal with the postal vote fallout.

I can speak on behalf of myself when I say it has been hard. When it was announced that the postal vote was going ahead, I felt a deep betrayal with our government, to the point where I was seriously considering abstaining the vote. I celebrated my 20th birthday a few days ago and on the same day I saw a poster saying ‘stop the f*gs’.

I open my social media with apprehension, as it’s a constant stream of retweeted slurs and indignantly reshared articles that diminish the humanity of LGBTI people. Dealing with my anxiety and depression is difficult when I’m being told that I’m not good enough on a daily cycle. 

And it would hurt less if this homophobia wasn’t something that many LGBTI people hadn’t already internalised when we were younger. I remember thinking at 12 years old, 'Oh God please don't let me be gay.' I believed it was a punishment. It took me years to unlearn that self hatred.

This discussion surrounding the vote is also particularly exhausting for LGBTI people because for the sake of a ‘balanced debate’ we are forced to respond to the same arguments that we’ve had for years. If you’ve lived in Australia, you grew up with these prejudices. LGBTI people are not engaging in a choice or an ‘alternate lifestyle’.

Children of same sex couples do just as well as children with opposite sex parents. Marriage equality is just that, the right for two people