Australian Government: Thanks for the Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite

by Tara Fitness

… and thanks for the friends I lost too.

It’s been just over six months since the Australian Government legalised same-sex marriage. I know so many people were ecstatic that we’d finally been given equal rights, and I was happy too. But more than that, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief… relief that it was finally over. I think many others felt the same.

I was lucky enough to have spent the entire time — from the announcement of the Plebiscite to the legalisation of same-sex marriage — in the United Kingdom. I feel I was protected in a way and to some extent, I felt ashamed that I was able to avoid some of what my community was experiencing every single day.

But despite being half a world away, I couldn’t escape the bigotry or the hate.

Live, Love & Never Forget

I will never forget what the Liberal party did to us by choosing to have a plebiscite, despite the ongoing warnings from mental health experts, LGBTQI+ groups and even the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

It was government-sanctioned discrimination…

It was government sanctioned abuse against our human rights…

All under the guise of free speech and freedom of choice.

While I will be forever grateful for the community who supported us by voting yes, and the politicians who enacted our long deserved human rights into law, I will never forget that it was years too late.

I will never forget that we were allowed to be emotionally abused by individuals, institutions and organisations.

I will never forget that we lost many beautiful human beings because they were not strong enough to cope with months of insults that we should never have faced.

But what’s done is done…

We can’t take back the plebiscite, nor can we undo the damage it caused. We can only learn how to cope with it as we move into the future. Six months on, it still hurts. To be honest, this has been hard to write. I don’t like to think back to the end of 2017. But I wanted to write this post because I believe the best way to overcome a negative experience is to find a positive. It doesn’t change what happened, but it might just help us sleep easier.

So, from here on in, I will be forever thankful for the plebiscite because it gave me these three things:

1. The right to marry the woman I love, not just in her country, but in my own too.

2. The knowledge that I am supported by so many people in my life… many more than I expected to support me.

I know for some, I was enough of a reason to change their long held beliefs; beliefs they’d never questioned until they were asked to vote. The plebiscite started that conversation.

3. The chance to identify who doesn’t deserve to be in my life.

I discovered there were people in my life who would happily take from me when it served them, but when it came to the most important part of my life, they didn’t feel I was equal to them. These people deserve nothing from me, and they will get nothing from me… except this.

A message for the trolls

To the people who screamed NO… You didn’t JUST hurt me.

You hurt my family…

You hurt my friends…

You hurt the people who love me unconditionally; people who don’t deserve to be hurt simply because they love someone — sound familiar?

Every time you said an LGBTIQ+ person was not deserving of marriage; you told these people their child, parent, sibling or friend was not good enough.

Every time you said ‘protect the children’; you told these people their child, parent, sibling or friend was a paedophile.

Every time you screamed NO, you showed your ignorance, your selfishness and your heart full of hate… and you sprayed that hate towards 61.6% of the Australian population.

And for that, I feel sorry for YOUR children, parents, siblings and friends. Because if you can hate more than half of the community for who they love, it’s only a matter of time until you find a reason to hate everyone around you.

Sit with that…

Or don’t…

You’re not my problem anymore.

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