I’m angry at the world right now. I could do with a hug. Or a stiff drink. Or a phone call from a friend. Or all of the above.
During my lunch break, I called my dad to vent my frustrations about the Liberal Party’s stance on marriage equality. I was distressed. Dad could tell. But he said something out of the blue that brought a strange sense of comfort.
It was an analogy that sounded like an oblique thought bubble at first, but meant so much.
He told me he was looking through the telescope at 2.30am the other morning. He said: “You know what I noticed? The shadow of the earth was on the moon. Our shadow is covering the moon. All of the bad things that are happening in the world are that shadow.”
My dad can see it. Why spread more darkness in this world? It sounds so simple, but it’s so true. Of course, we are living in Australia and not a war-torn part of the world. We are privileged. But we also have a duty to one another to make life lighter wherever possible.
And yet all I’ve felt this week is dark. This week, the Liberal Party decided once again that my relationship (10 years and counting) doesn’t deserve the dignity they get to enjoy by default as heterosexuals. By dragging the “issue” of marriage equality to a $122m voluntary postal vote, the government has opened the floodgates for a torrent of hate speech directed at LGBTI people, who are all just trying to live normal lives.
As a gay person, I feel pretty vulnerable. The torrent of crap being hurled at the LGBTI community has already started. Anti-gay groups are printing pamphlets to drop into your mailbox spreading lies about rainbow families and trans people. Tony Abbott is rallying for people to vote “no” to beat “political correctness”. Bronwyn Bishop is freaking out about polygamy (which has nothing to do with two people getting married).
I’m not one for playing the victim, but DAMN this is a kick to the guts. And we’ve had a fair few throughout our history as fabulous queer folk. This is not “civilised debate”. It’s the very definition of unAustralian. It’s Advance Australia Unfair.
And while I’ve spent a large part of this week in a face palm, I’ve taken comfort from my straight friends who are standing up for me.
Right now, I want to be reassured that I have allies. I want to know that my straight friends are joining me in this fight, and that they’re spreading the word to their friends and family members and anyone else who could possibly help get that “yes” vote through.
I want to hear people having conversations with their nanas. Telling them about your gay friends. Tell them how amazing those friends are. Most straight people are much more accepting than people like Cory Bernardi and Lyle Shelton like to give them credit for.
That leads me to my central question: What do I want straight people to be saying to me right now?
For starters, don’t say: “But why don’t you just get married in New Zealand?” That’s not cool.
But what is cool is this: one guy I know on Instagram dropped this beautiful message on my page: “I’m straight and I totally agree with this 100% you should be able to love who you want and be treated equal.” I loved that.
One of my partner’s straight, married mates called him to say, “If you and Adam ever need to talk, I’m here.” That is also cool.
One of our close friends, a Muslim mum of two, wrote on my Facebook: “These are human beings, law abiding citizens, many of whom do more good for society than a vast number of the majority. Why are they denied a right taken for granted by a majority? Because God won’t approve? God spoke when God created them, as good human beings. Adam & Nick with you every step of the way! #Equality will prevail, Inshallah!”
“With you every step of the way.” That is so cool.
And a good friend of mine offered this piece of very sound advice: “Find the thing that you’re comfortable with, whether it’s a conversation with a friend, sharing an article on Facebook, getting up onstage and yelling. Whatever it is you’re comfortable in doing, just be part of the change.” So cool, so true.
And of course, there’s my dad’s comment about the shadow of the moon. That is more than cool. It’s lyrical. It’s humane. It’s laced with a hope that we can change that shadow.
So please, straight people, be kind. Be loud. Be there. Show up. Be that person who contributed to another’s happiness. Be like my dad and be full of love.
And if you want to make a difference beyond just lending an ear, chip in to The Equality Campaign’s High Court challenge against the postal vote and tell your friends to join the fight on Facebook.
And make sure you or anyone over the age of 18 is enrolled on the electoral roll (254,000+ people aged 18 to 24 are missing from the AEC). Enrol here.
Let’s make it a ‘YES’.
If this story and the themes in it bring up any issues for you, contact Beyond Blue.