Yesterday morning at 10am I was sitting in part of a huddle with my coworkers, our eyes glued to a set of TV screens in the Mamamia office. We were waiting, like millions around Australia, to find out the fate of the same-sex marriage postal survey.
My heart was in my throat waiting for the decision to be announced, as I recalled the upset around me when Clinton wasn’t declared the next President of the United States and quietly hoped we wouldn’t face the same upset. I’m in a heterosexual relationship and not a member of the LGBTQI community but I’ve always been a supporter of the ‘yes’ vote.
When the postal vote landed in my mail box I quickly filled it in and returned it the next day. I wanted to have my say and I wanted my vote to count. I've always wanted their community to be afforded the same rights that I myself have because like many of us proved yesterday, I believe that love is love.
When the landslide 'yes' win was announced I was ecstatic as the Mamamia office erupted in roars and cheers and claps. The feeling of a great big positive shift was almost instantaneous. I sent messages of support to friends and co-workers. I shared smiles with people wearing equality t-shirts in the street. I went on social media and liked all of the stories, all of the memes, all of the videos and all of the messages.
But what I didn't do was post anything myself. No words, no memes, not even any rainbow emojis. I chose to share my happiness of the result in other ways. There's no real reason why I didn't post and there was no conscious decision not to.
Yet it wasn't until I read an article questioning Australian celebrities and why they didn't post, suggesting they may be closet 'no' voters, that I began to reflect on my decision. There their names were. Iggy Azalea. Skye Wheatley. Nadia Bartel. "Could they really be 'no' voters?" the article questioned.
In that moment I began visiting the pages of my friends and family to see if they themselves had posted. Some had, some hadn't. Some I knew were definitely 'yes' voters. I then wondered if people were doing the same of me. Were those around me watching my page? Secretly questioning if I had voted no because there was no glimpse of a rainbow emoji? Silently judging me for my choice not to?
I felt bothered by the fact that my vote seemingly didn't matter anymore and that instead the attention had shifted to my reaction to the news and how I chose to display it on social media. In a way, I didn't feel like it was my news to celebrate. Of course I was thrilled, but there were millions more Australians more deeply affected by it than me. I was merely a supporter and spectator in a much larger arena.
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Put simply, it's not a time for analysis of reactions. How I reacted to the news of the 'yes' vote may not be the same way that you did and that's okay. It's not a time for us to look around and question if there are 'no' voters in our vicinity. It's not the time to look for clues and question 'did they' or 'didn't they' vote a particular way.
We know there are 'no' voters out there. The results tell us that. It's likely we work with them, or buy our groceries from them. It's likely they're our friends and our family. We all know a 'no' voter whether we want to admit it or not. And that's okay as well. It's not the time to pull out our fingers and start pointing them out to the people around us.
It's time to celebrate this moment in our history that we were all lucky enough to bear witness to. A moment I'll remember today, tomorrow and far far beyond. A moment that I'll ramble about in old age, a moment I'll tell my children about, as I explain that I was around for one of the most incredible decisions in Australian history.
And that's what we should be talking about today, not the presence of rainbow emojis or lack there of.
Did you share on social media after the 'yes' win?
Valentina Todoroska is the Deputy Editor of Mamamia. You can follow her on Facebook here.