Tanya Plibersek writes exclusively for Mamamia on one very important reason why we must continue to push for marriage equality.
On Monday, I met with former AFL player, Lachlan Beaton.
Lachlan grew up in country Victoria. At the age of 14 or 15 he knew he was gay.
Lachlan told me that for years he felt being gay was wrong. He felt like an outcast. He was afraid that if he came out, he’d be disowned, that people would stop loving him.
To escape his torment, Lachlan started drinking too much. He suffered from depression, and even contemplated suicide.
Read Lachlan’s story in his own words: “For years I felt like a lesser human. I hated myself.”
No young person should ever feel like this. No one should ever have to feel like this.
It’s heartbreaking, but the sad truth is that Lachlan’s story is not that unusual.
Indeed, the facts are alarming.
Same-sex attracted young people are six times more likely to attempt suicide.
And LGBTI young people experience higher rates of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and homelessness.
Lachlan came out at 26.
Since then, he has been an inspirational advocate for LGBTI mental health, and for marriage equality.
Thanks to the work of people like him, community support for marriage equality in Australia now stands at more than 70 per cent.
Despite this, in a chaotic meeting earlier this week, Tony Abbott’s partyroom decided to stand in the way of marriage equality.