It will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who follows me on Pinterest that I have spent a great deal of time (some may say possibly too much) thinking, dreaming and planning my future wedding.
I’ve imagined what it would be like to walk down the aisle and see the person I love with every fibre of my being staring back at me, tears welling – overcome by my intense and overwhelming beauty; obviously.
Look, I know weddings are often just expensive spectacles of imaginary wealth, ending in an abundance of debt and some cute frozen cake toppers – I get it, I do (get it?!). I’m okay with being obsessed with weddings but it’s the marriage part I’m really looking forward to.
The commitment to love, honor and cherish another human. Knowing that in this life, you’ve found your perfect match; the one person you can trust with your whole heart and soul to have your back and to take out the bins on a Wednesday night.
A person you can rely on to call you out on your bullshit, support you, stand beside you when times are shitty and to always be your biggest fan.
Someone to go on adventures with, come home to at the end of a long day and to just be still with. A person who grows with you, shares your values and feels connected to you at your very core.
I want to grow old with my partner, to look in her eyes and know that we continued to choose each other; every day – for better or worse.
I want to know if anything was to happen to her or to me that we would be able to sit by each other’s side – no questions asked and that the law would recognise our relationship as it is; two people who share a lifetime commitment, in love.
Apparently the word marriage makes people feel uncomfortable when referring to couples who have the same genitals – who knew?!
They keep asking us to call it something else, to create our own way to commit to each other.
Now, a ring may only be a symbol of the love we share and a ceremony may just be a moment in the adventure that is our life… but if those things held no significance to couples who are legally married in this country already, then no one would get married at all.
I know I’m not alone when I say that I am truly struggling this week and as hard as I try, there’s no way you can avoid it.
Every time I’ve turned on the TV, picked up a newspaper, opened social media or over heard conversations in the street I’ve been hit directly in the gut with bigoted and hurtful vitriol while strangers debate the validity of my love.
It’s true, our community are hardly strangers to discrimination. Bigotry lays dormant in the language we use, in disgusted glances on the train, or the way our families don’t ask about our love lives. We’re reminded of it every time we have to correct people during conversation when they’re misgendering our partner and it hurts not being able to recognise yourself represented in mainstream media.
I’ve experienced discrimination at school, in the workplace, at events, on public transport, within my own peer groups, throughout my family and even – at times – within our own alphabet soup community.
I can’t help but think it has something to do with the backwards way with which our government views our relationships and therefore us as a group of individuals.
Imagine that the effects of the continued illegitimacy of your relationships in the eyes of the law. Or if your fight for equality was reduced to a political talking point by politicians who are toeing a party line.
Tell me you wouldn’t be hurt if someone described the daily struggle to be respected as you live an authentic life as an ‘agenda’ or worse ‘a non issue’.
Now, imagine you’re a young person in rural Australia trying to discover who you are and instead of finding a community of support, you turn on the news to hear strangers referring to children of queer people as the stolen generation. Or, accusing you and people just like you and your fight for equality as being a slippery slope to beastiality and pedophilia.
LGBTQia people do this every day and yet we still haven’t managed to lose sight of the love with which marriage should actually be based.
Let’s be very clear, this ‘debate’ is already breaking the hearts and spirits of a marginalised community little by little – with every passing day.
How can putting our love, existence, acceptance, children, families or relationships up for debate be fair?
Make no mistake, we’re a strong and determined bunch though. We’ve learned how to find our chosen families, rally together in the face of hatred and to be as bright and loud as we can be.
We will continue to stand tall. We must hold our pride tightly in our hearts and be ready to stand up for each and every LGBTQia person who, (as a result of this completely unnecessary waste of money, time and energy) is currently feeling as though their place in this world is of less value than that of a heterosexual person.
I don’t claim to know everything about everything but I do know this; love, is love and we’ll keep fighting until our love is recognised in this country and in every country around the world.
So, what can you do?
Firstly, you must enrol if you haven’t already and make sure your electoral details are updated too.
You don’t have to like, or support the stupidity that is this plebiSHITE nonsense but please don’t boycott or mess with the voting in any way. A Yes vote for marriage equality allows us to show the government how hard we are willing to fight to stand up for our rights and the rights of others.
We must keep talking about the importance marriage equality will have on our youth and our community as a whole on the road to acceptance; don’t allow anyone to silence or intimidate you.
Stay purposeful and on point. When they hit us with hatred, we must show them kindness and love. Do not stoop to name calling or violence of any kind; that’s not what we’re about.
So yes, this is political af but this is also so very personal, not just to me but also to a lot of people who I love.
Please remember that when talking about this issue or to members of the LGBTQia community; we are strong but we are also human and words can carry a heavy weight in the hearts of those who are affected.
To any LGBTQia person or members of our families who feel particularly low this week or in the coming months, please know you are not alone.
The things you are reading and hearing are not a reflection on you but on the people who are spitting such hateful diatribe. We are in this together and together we can make a difference.
PS. please don’t be scared to speak up or out if you need help or someone to talk to.
beyondblue (for anyone feeling depressed or anxious) – call 1300 22 4636 or chat online: https://www.beyondblue.org.au
Headspace (mental health service for ages 12-25) – call 1800 650 890 or chat online: https://headspace.org.au
Lifeline (support for anyone having a personal crisis) – call 13 11 14 or chat online: https://www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service (for anyone thinking about suicide) – call 1300 659 467
Switchboard 1800 184 527 (3pm-Midnight 7 days a week)