As a young queer woman, the failure of our leaders to deliver marriage equality is a victory for the homophobia that’s prevalent in all our lives.
The plebiscite was always only a distraction, a deferral; but a humiliating and divisive one.
Again and again we’ve seen the results of unchecked bigotry writ large in headlines across Australia.
Just last week our hearts broke once again at the news of 13-year-old Brisbane school boy Tyrone Unsworth taking his own life after relentless taunts over his sexuality.
It was yet another troubling reminder for young queer people that being ‘out’ is still a dangerous identity.
Year 7 student Tyrone Unsworth. Source: Facebook
Australia has rightly condemned the bullying that led to this tragedy, but my fear now is that this commendation of homophobia and hate will once again dissipate.
My challenge to the community, and Australians everywhere, is that if we if we are to be a community that condemns homophobia and violence on the basis of who someone loves, we must provide protection and dignity for all those persecuted for it.
There are over 70 countries that criminalise homosexuality, a handful of which still hold the death penalty for such 'crimes'.
It is estimated that there is up to 175 million people living in these environments worldwide.
Their experiences are unimaginably horrific, yet the number of successful asylum claims based on sexuality is only in the thousands.
Seeking asylum is never the same, nor any less difficult, for two people. But for queer refugees, the experience is that of being twice condemned.