I heard the news that the Liberal and National Party coalition voted 66 to 33 to vote as a block to oppose marriage equality.
That means two thirds of the people in that room (the majority of them), don’t think that my love is equal or worthy, and so they deny me the right to get married.
This country’s leadership is sending a clear message out to me, to the population and to the world.
They are sending a message that the miraculous love that my partner and I share is somehow lesser because of our chromosomes.
Our leaders (voted in by this population) have once again reinforced prejudice and bigotry and hatred and oppression.
Our leaders that have just told all the struggling kids out there that what they are feeling is somehow wrong, and will only ever be lesser, and not worthy.
They have just given their support to those bullies and those haters that would hurt and defile and damage us because of who we love.
They have just told me, and they have just told all those struggling kids, that they will never support our relationships, or our lives, or our loves.
They have just told me that I am lesser. I am not equal. I am not worthy.
It hurts. And it’s not fair.
It’s weird, and strange. There’s a bit of me that’s a 40-odd-year-old woman, a medical specialist, someone who has worked long and hard to help others, someone who is out and proud and happy in an extraordinary relationship saying ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s them being losers and bigots, I am married according to the laws that I believe in.’
And yet inside me there is also someone who, for most of my formative years, knew somehow there was an intrinsic and unchangeable bit of me that just wasn’t built right. A secret. A bad thing. Something to hide. Something to make me feel wrong and dirty and ashamed; and that if I let anyone know I would be banished and ridiculed and laughed at and bullied.
And time passed, and I did let out that deep dark dirty secret.
And I was ridiculed and bullied and ostracised and hurt.
And so I grew up. And I changed.
But that scared frightened and ashamed person is always there.
And that scared and frightened and ashamed person has just been ridiculed and hurt and called lesser and not worthy yet again, for just ‘being’.
And I don’t just mean by the leadership last night.
There’s hateful and harmful stuff being screamed out from those who oppose my existence, and I can’t help but hear it with the ears of a scared kid.
Do our leaders really not know the pain they are causing? Do they not know, or do they just not care?
I wish I lived in a world where success was judged on the way a country treats the poorest and the most vulnerable of society, rather than by the wealth and power of the wealthiest and the most powerful.
I wish I lived in a world where our leaders cared about the pain and the hurt they caused. I wish I lived in a world where human rights were put first.
But I don’t.
I live in a world where the wealthiest and the most powerful stand high and tall on the pain of others, and where privileged straight white men in suits get to say that my love is not equal or worthy, and so deny me the right to get married.
Rachel Heap, Mullumbimby