Search #QandA on Twitter and the first thing you see is this:
“Nothing but respect for MY president,” alongside a beaming picture of Australian comedian and actress Magda Szubanski.
And, on last night’s Q&A, Szubanski was just that. A leader for, not just the LGBTIQ community, but Australia as a whole. She gave the simplest, most accessible explanation of why marriage inequality in Australia makes no sense.
She also shut down any attempts at fear-mongering from conservatives: No, gay and lesbian people aren’t looking to take over the country.
— Sally Rugg ????️???? (@sallyrugg) October 23, 2017
The perfect anecdote came when ‘No’ campaign spokesman Karina Okotel suggested same-sex couples should be allowed to have civil unions, but that marriage should be kept between a man and a woman.
“You can’t change an institution that has always existed without there being consequences,” Okotel told the panel.
We’d like to remind Ms Okotel that witch burning was also once an institution. And that women weren’t allowed to vote in a practice that had, once too, “always existed”.
But we didn’t need to remind her. Szubanski was there.
“You’re sending a very clear message of ‘equal but different’,” Szubanksi said.
“It’s like the Brownlow medal. Someone wins the Brownlow medal, they win the Brownlow medal. But then you say to a gay player – assuming there is a gay AFL player that: you win the Brownlow medal but we’re going to call it the ‘civil acknowledgment of your very excellent effort’.”
The crowd erupted in applause. But she wasn’t done.
“Believe me, this is coming on the tail-end of the oppressions we’ve been through and, I don’t want to come across as a whinger but we have to acknowledge the history of this,” Szubanski continued.
“What it would mean to us to be fully acknowledged… I don’t know if you can really understand after the bashings, the discriminations, the discrimination in employment, the murders. This isn’t just out of the blue. It comes within an historical context.”
“How would you feel if Sri Lankan people were told that you can’t be married?”
The comedian also shut down suggestions that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to an erosion of how Australians view men and women and traditional families.
“It’s not like there’s an army of us who are going to take over. We just want to have the same rights and protections,” Szubanski countered. “We’re not asking 100 per cent of Australians to enter into same sex marriages.”
“The other 90 per cent can keep doing what you’re doing but it’s not like you can breed us out of existence – we do originate mostly from straight people. There does seem to be a constant number of roughly 10 per cent of same-sex attracted people.”
Finally, Szubanski had a message for the church. Remembering, the actress was raised a Catholic and, as she's said previously, her late mother's acceptance of her daughter's sexuality was because of her Catholicism, not in spite of it.
"I’m the one in my family when I buried my parents I organised every detail of the masses, I wrote the orders of service, I put the pall over my mother’s coffin," Szubanski said she told the church.
"Why is it your right to determine — fair enough, in your domain, you do what you like. I don’t want to tell anyone else what to do — but why should you have the right to tell me or any other person, straight or gay, what they do in the civil domain? That’s not your domain."
And that right there, is the 'President' we're all after. #MagdaForTheWin
A message for Malcolm Turnbull about the same-sex marriage plebiscite.