Everyday life as a second class citizen.

It’s a day much like any other. I woke up far too early and got myself to work on time.
About half an hour into the work day, I overheard a conversation in the open plan outside my office door between the team leader and some of his minions, talking about how long to live with his girlfriend before he proposes. Each of my apparently straight colleagues has some level of response from “not until I’m good and ready” to “I waited x years before I married my wife.”
And I got angry. Angry that this perfectly normal conversation is a conversation that I have no right to enter into, no position I can justify, no position that I can hold for my life.
It brought home to me (again) just how heterocentric our society is, that it doesn’t factor into the conversation that there’s a question about being able to get married.
These people have been nothing but supportive of me and my push for Marriage Equality. They’d be horrified to find out they’d made me uncomfortable in any way. They just didn’t see that talking about something as normal as proposing to their significant other might have any impact on the people around them.

And really, should they? It shouldn’t have any impact on the people around them. It is only through the failings of the Howard Government, Rudd Government, Gillard Government, Rudd Government #2, and now the Abbott Government that it does cause concern, angst, and frustration…

So yet again I have to ask… Why? What do/did these governments gain from prolonging the discrimination against me and my community, when it’s already seen as inevitable? Is there a rational reason politically for the delay in reform? Do the polls suggest that they’ll lose significant votes by legalising it? I don’t think so. Is there significant financial backing within the parties from anti-marriage-equality sources? Maybe, but both of them? If they can’t provide some understandable rational reasons for their refusals to legislate Marriage Equality, we get back to homophobia as the real reason for the delay.

So to the government today, and the opposition too, I say: Your abstract fear and concern actually makes my life concretely more difficult every day. How can you as my representatives continue to do me harm by voting down this legislation every time it comes up? How do you sleep knowing that the prejudice of about 50 of you actively harms around 800,000 Australians directly, as well as their families?

That’s right. Only 50 people in Australia need to grow a conscience in order for Marriage Equality to succeed.

I can only hope that insomnia is rampant in Canberra.

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2 thoughts on “Everyday life as a second class citizen.

  1. As usual Dylan – you have hit hard and truthfully. I do not understand the issue either. I do NOT understand the current Federal Governments seemingly desperate NEED to counter the ACT’s Bill to make all HUMAN BEINGS equal – particularly when – as Abbott himself said – there are apparently much more important things to concentrate on rather than equal opportunity and basic human rights for all….. and still we fight….

    • Given the last minute amendments excluding intersex people and those unable to successfully change their gender marker, as well as the symbolic-only use of the term (it’s so much like real marriage that a couple already married in Canada proposed again under the ACT law), I’m not terribly excited about the ACT’s legislation. That said, I think Abbott and the Coalition need to offer real marriage equality federally if their reasons to strike it down are *not* homophobia based…

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