Last week I asked my partner once again, if I could write about her and I and share our story. She finally said yes, and I breathed a big sigh of relief. And yet, even writing this has me filled with nerves and hesitation.
You see, for the past year her and I have been hiding a huge secret… There has been fear that people will judge us, misunderstand our relationship and ultimately doubt that the love between us is genuine and real. We have feared we would be ridiculed and judged for our choice to be together.
Why? Because both her and I were once in heterosexual marriages. Mine for over seven years, hers for 10.
We both had nasty marriage breakups, and somehow, together in our brokenness, we found each other and all our broken pieces somehow fit together and have made us whole again.
Between her and I, we have three beautiful daughters all aged 6 years old, and it was our children who initially brought us together through their friendship at school.
I never in a million years pictured myself in a same sex relationship. But then again, never did I picture myself a suddenly single mother when my daughter turned five.
Our relationship has been one of the most incredible, beautiful and natural experiences of my life. I fall in love with her daily and thank my lucky stars that we found each other. I feel so fortunate to finally be in a relationship where I am respected, loved, cherished and valued as a human being. I have finally found my soul mate and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want to share my happiness with all who know us, I want people to know that her and I are finally happy.
I don’t want to constantly be questioned if we are ‘seeing anyone’ or if we have boyfriends… I don’t want to have to lie and say ‘Oh, I’m happy being single right now’. It’s not the truth, I am in a relationship with a beautiful woman and we are sharing our life together and raising our daughters together – The only difference this has to being in a ‘hetro’ relationship is the fact we are both female.
That’s it. BIG DEAL. The way I love, who I want to be with and how I choose to have sex or who I may wish to marry one day shouldn’t be anyone else’s business.
But sadly it is.
I’ve personally never had a problem with nor judged the LBGT community and I believe love is love – I always have. But for me, this vote is so important because it now touches my life in such a big way. I never knew just how hard these people had it when going through ‘coming out’.
I never truly realised the burden of the secrets they must hold inside in fear of being looked at like a freak, like they were abnormal or even doing something wrong and unnatural. I never understood how heartbroken they must feel not being able to be authentic without criticism.
I never truly understood it, until it became me.
My partner and I moved in together earlier this year and we’ve used the ‘single mothers unite’ facade to cover the fact we were really moving in together because we had found the greatest love we’ve ever known in each other and that we wanted to share our lives together.
But although her and I are now living together and at least being able to be ‘us’ behind closed doors, the frustration of having to live a double life outside has been at times, almost unbearable.
The sadness I’ve felt when I haven’t been able to hold her hand in public has eaten away at me daily. The internal desire I have to be truthful about our relationship has not been because we need others to validate our love. What we need is to be accepted, our love be respected and even celebrated.
I have not seen one card in the hallmark section that reads ‘Congratulations on becoming Wife and Wife / or Husband and Husband. Why? Because we as a nation still can’t seem to wrap our tiny minds around marriage equality.
Some of us still can’t fathom the fact that maybe, just maybe being gay isn’t a sin or an offence towards some God of yours, that maybe as humans we all deserve the right to love whoever we fall for, and we deserve the choice weather we then wish to marry them or not.
Slowly but surely, my girlfriend and I have told a handful of our friends and family. Each of their reactions has been shock, but happiness for the both of us. But there have still been people we haven’t told in fear of judgment.
They have guessed that we are in a same sex relationship and have called us horrible derogatory names, they’ve stalked, harassed and intimidated us. They’ve called us bad mothers for raising our children in this kind of ‘environment’.
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All this, because we simply love each other.
My partner and I are both dedicated to our children, we never overstep the mark when it comes to respecting each other as individual parents and we are totally on the same page with wanting to raise strong, resilient, respectful and caring young ladies.
We came together and moved out of our tiny separate apartments into a big townhouse, with grass to play on and a beautiful space for them to grow up in. We both have an amazing relationship with each other’s daughters and they are happy and thriving in our household.
So why must people be so cruel. Why? Why is our government hell bent on not allowing ‘people like us’ to have the same respect and acknowledgment of our love that any other heterosexual couple would have?
I will tell you this, one day I want to marry this woman. I think I would have already asked for her hand in marriage had this been legal in our country. Why are people who have never even met us allowed to condemn us and in turn dictate how we live our lives?
I voted yes. Not just because this now directly affects my life and my future, but because I don’t want this to affect my daughter’s future. She should have the right to marry anyone who she wants be it male or female.
It has been incredibly eye opening to see people’s true colours with this postal vote and I cannot begin to tell you how many of my friends have gone on rants about why to vote ‘no’, I have been gob smacked and quite frankly, I have questioned these friendships and wondered that when they do in fact find out that I am in a same sex relationship, will they accept me? Or will they cut me out of their lives.
It is not a nice position to be in. I want to be free. Australia is supposed to be such an accepting, supportive, free spirited, ‘say it how it is’ country and yet we are sadly still so far behind when it comes to equal rights.
Voting yes, is simply saying that people like ‘us’ deserve the same rights as anyone else. After all, we are all human, we are all searching for love... and once we have found it, we should be able to cherish it, hold it, for better or worse, in sickness and in health and celebrate this love with the union of marriage if we so choose.
We all deserve that choice. And I hope one day, I’m able to get down on one knee and propose to the love of my life somewhere in this beautiful country that I call home.
But for now, all I can do is wait.