Gays: An Inconvenient Truth

In recent times, a long-time friend of mine has noticed that I post a lot of gay stuff on my Facebook.  I’m going to call her F.

F uses this piece of rather obvious information as evidence that I’ve changed, and I’m not the same person she used to know…

I accepted her criticism, and accepted F’s statement that I’ve changed. Because it’s true. I’m more outspoken, more active, more confident in myself and more comfortable in my own skin.

I apologised for changing.  I regret making that apology.  We should never have to apologise for growing.

What I don’t think F realises is that she has changed in the 10 years we’ve known each other too.

My friend is straight.  Recently, her child started school – a Christian School in one of the “God in every part of the curriculum” senses. Which is fine.  A bit surprising, but fine.

Since this happened, My friend has been spending a lot more time being involved in the church, from where I sit it seems to have built her confidence and given her a feeling of acceptance, and both of these are good things!

But she’s also started complaining about how much gay stuff I post, that “I’ve become my sexuality” and more.

Recently, on one of my posts about gay marriage, she wound up commenting that kids shouldn’t be exposed to homosexuality, that they should be able to retain their innocence.  When queried about whether they should be exposed to heterosexuality, in that case, she said something along the lines of  “heterosexuality to a point, but homosexuality, no.” (this is from a few days ago and I can no longer find her comments) She expanded on this saying that her child shouldn’t be exposed to “sex, gay, or porn” early on.  Essentially, there was no kissing, or any kind of public display of affection for gay couples, no matter how benign, so that she didn’t have to explain “gay” to her child.  

Being told I have to be less “me” around her child? hurts.
Being told that she views my very nature as similar to “sex… or porn”? Hurts. 

All of this brought home to me that gay parents, on top of the usual “my child is going to school for the first time” jitters, also have to deal with how the kids are going to react to their child having two mothers or two fathers, how the other parents are going to react to their child having two mothers or two fathers?  I have asked myself on more than one occasion “is it fair for a child to potentially cop flack just because I love men rather than women?  Should I really have children?” And my answer is: “Yes. My children will be part of a new generation where gay is not taboo, and they will be loved beyond measure.”  How do I know gay won’t be taboo?  Because I’ll be influencing that generation.  I’ll be teaching my child about the intrinsic goodness of all human beings.

When I get a husband and a child or two, and send my child to school, would my child allowed to talk to F’s? What if he mentions having two dads? Or would my child’s day to day existence threaten F’s child’s innocence? Would F’s child be allowed to come over and play if our children like each other, or would my home life threaten F’s child’s innocence?
What about seeing Dylan Jr, my husband and me in the street after school?  Would that threaten F’s child’s innocence?

In this country, you have the right to bring your child up based on your religious and personal values. But that right ends when it impedes my right to go about my life in a way that would be deemed entirely appropriate if I were straight.  If you’re pressed to explain, couldn’t you just tell your child “Dylan Jr’s Dads love each other like Daddy and I do” and leave it at that?  If you’re in the anti-camp-camp then perhaps “Dylan Jr’s dad and his friend live together in a  life of sin.” or whatever little hateful thing floats your boat.

So no. I won’t turn off my “gay” for the sake of your child.

There is nothing more or less innocent about being gay than being straight, and we, GLBTIQ folks, shouldn’t have to bear a day-to-day burden for uptight straight people’s discomfort.  And we won’t.

 

 

 

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Conscience

Well, I know how you all love to look at my gorgeous face…  So I made another video!

This time, I’m reciting a poem I wrote about our politicians voting on Marriage Equality and the Liberal/Labor stances on the issue.

Conscience: Written and spoken by me (Dylan Carmichael):
The leaders of our capital L parties, so great,
Both are straight, and so
They vote on rights they will never use in their life.
And yet, they are rights they already have.
To have and to hold the person they love in the eyes of the state,
Something to which nothing else can equate.
A right granted simply because the one they love is different to them.
A right withheld simply because homophobes hum, haw, and hem.

Concerned about causing offence, our politicians commit one instead.
Failing to stand up for those who suffer in the daylight,
After taking away some of their rights, almost a decade ago.

And to those leaders, I say
That the time has come for you make amends for your vote to pass the 2004 Marriage Act amendment.
Atoning for the moment when the conscience so necessary to grant rights today was not consulted in the process of taking them away. On that fateful day, shut out of the chambers, your conscience ignored, overridden, not given any sway.

All that we want to hear is you raising voices together. An answer to our question that will echo through the years, prompting a flood of joyous tears from those of us who just want to marry who we love. Telling our future countrymen, who will hear that this government refused to be lead by Christian fear.

We crave a government who will right past wrongs.
A government whose final answer belongs
where it will be,
Writ large on our nation’s history.

 

eThankfulness – 11 Nov 2012

I’ve been getting slack with this thankfulness thing.

I was talking with my mother when I was in Tassie last weekend, and she told me that something like my eThankfulness is well understood in Psychology to have serious benefits, provided you want to do it.  She told me that maximum benefit is when you write entries in your Gratitude Diary every day, but as long as you do it regularly, it acts as a kind of mental-health immunisation, significantly increasing your resistance to things like depression. She made mention that the only group of people who don’t benefit are psychology students – or rather, people who are being forced to do it.

I feel almost euphoric today!

As you are hopefully aware, faithful readers, in 6 days, the Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally will be over!  I have loved organising it, but next time I take on something like this, I’ll try not to have a house on the market at the same time.  GMER on its own has provided me a list of things to be thankful for:

Businesses being so friendly about putting flyers up.  Many of them lit up and said “Oh, it’s YOU! Yes, I’m definitely coming!”  (Often they spontaneously outed themselves to me too)  Which has been one of the best feelings ever!

The generosity of the group has blown me away too.  It seems that no sooner do I ask for things than I get people saying “Sure! When? How do you want it done?”  From the poster design to walking out flyers.  From T-shirt printing to prettying up Scotties function room, they’ve been absolutely fabulous!

I am thankful to the wonderful woman from the Council who has been handling our rally, and has told me that she’s delighted to come!

I am thankful for the generosity of the Marriage Equality Rally attendees, who have been making this so much easier.

I am thankful for the fantastic reactions of most businesses to my flyers/posters – it’s so encouraging!

I am thankful that my friend has located an amazing new apartment, reducing his stress levels massively (and potentially giving me somewhere to crash in the city)

I am thankful for the opportunity to go and see one of my favourite people in the whole world get married in Tasmania!

On that topic, I am thankful for the wonderful day and the amazing weather.

I am thankful for opportunities to see people I haven’t seen in *years*

I am thankful that this notion which made some sense in my head, and which I felt was doing me good, actually has some basis in clinical psychology, to the point that it has been used as treatment for some things.

I am thankful that I live in a country where this rally can go forward and criticise our government – it’s a privilege that too few in this world get to exercise.

I am thankful for the groundswell amongst the blogger community in getting Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally noticed and picked up! 

I am thankful for the opportunity to have my writing on TheStirrer.com.au – it’s a real honour.

I am thankful for the opportunity to help improve this small corner of the world in this one small way, and feeling like the world is getting behind me to make it a success.

I am thankful, simply for being able to feel thankful for so much of my life.

I am thankful for those World War One soldiers who fought and died for this country, and for all those who have fallen in her service throughout our history.

And so, on this, the 11th of November, 2012, I am extremely thankful.

eThankfulness – 29 Oct 2012

As promised,  It’s time to be grateful!  And let me tell you, I’ve got some doozies this week!

I sold my house! This has been a major stressor for me, mainly because I wasn’t sure I’d have a job after 16 Nov.

I’ve been extended!  My work is now until 31 Dec, which is a small reprieve, but enough to get me into work in Brisbane before I finish, I hope!

I’ve been published via Gay Marriage Rights Australia – Apart from being very chuffed about actually getting a mention from them, this brings me to thing-I’m-thankful-for number four…

Records have been *obliterated*  My previous “most views” statistic for a single day was 166.  Today’s article views on Age Of Consent in QLD are sitting at three times that!  Thank you, fantastic readers, for getting me to that height!

My work’s major project for the year is finally hitting some goals!  We’ve started rolling out our new system, and I’m so proud of my team!

I have a room for the time between my house selling and a Brisbane job starting!  It just dropped into my lap!

I got to go see the Rockhampton production of Hairspray on opening night!  It was a great night, and I loved it!

Finally, this week I go back to Tasmania for the weekend to see my fag hag extraordinaire tie the knot with her long-time partner.  I’m super-excited about that! 😀

What are you thankful for?

eThankfulness – catchup edition – 23 Oct 2012

It’s been a while, and I’ve been busy – the rally and all, y’know? – but I told myself that I was going to take time out each week to reflect and be grateful for things that happen in my life, small or large.  I haven’t been doing that, and I’m sorry.  Not an apology to you so much, my readers – the personal reflections of this blogger saying “thank you” into the void for personal situations are probably not what draws you to my blog – but I regret for myself.  The simple act of saying “thank you” for various things is tremendously cathartic, and puts the negative in perspective frequently and regularly.

Thank you, parents.  You’ve been there for me recently to haul me out of difficult situations, though half the country separates us.

Thank you, friends. During what I have to say is one of the most stressful times in my life, you have kept me laughing, smiling, and have reminded me so much and so often how wonderful my life really is, in so many ways.

Thank you, B, for reminding me how peaceful it can be to go and lay on the beach, be disconnected, and do nothing.  It’s a lesson I’ve needed to re-learn.

Thank you, NRG, for your unique blend of work and social opportunities.  You are the best place I have worked so far in my life.

Thank you, world, for irrational and spontaneous laughter.  It is truly amazing stuff.

Thank you, Kris May and Mackay Rally organisers and participants, for inspiring me to organise a similar event in Gladstone – I doubt it would happen without you.

Thank you, Gladstone’s queer community – I’ve had so much support from you over the last few days with the rally, I’m amazed!

Thank you, Margie, your tireless efforts with my property are truly appreciated.

Thank you, person who held the door for me when my hands were full.

Thank you, world, for leaving me in a situation where my concern is how much and when my house will sell, rather than whether I’ll have food or a roof over my head.

For these things, and so much more, I am truly thankful.

eThankfulness – Mackay Edition – 7 Oct 2012

So, Yesterday was the Mackay Rally for Marriage Equality (MR4ME) and so many amazing and awesome things happened I am so thankful for!

Travel – my car tyres are shot – not a big issue, and getting resolved on Tuesday, but the timing was terrible.  I certainly wasn’t going to get to Mackay in Suzi May (My Suzuki Swift) this weekend.  My workmate Tony heard the Rally was on and offered to drive me!  I was amazed, flabbergasted, and so very pleased that he would do that.

Accommodation – Courtesy of the aforementioned Tyres, and Real Estates not taking credit cards, I was an eency bit broke.  I posted on the MR4ME Facebook page, and within about an hour I had a response from someone I’d never knowingly interacted with, saying “Come stay with us!”  – I certainly couldn’t have afforded accommodation even if the rates were normal, and in Mackay they’re apparently ridiculous!

Weather – The weather on both days was absolutely incredible – a beautiful drive up and a fantastic drive back, with a great time in Mackay in-between.  

Turn-out – There were between 190 and 250 people in the rally, it stretched for a city block, and we had to wait every time we crossed a road.  We also had Senator Claire Moore (Who voted for marriage equality in the senate) address us and march with us, and the local Greens candidate Jonathon Dykyj as well!

Mr4ME Ralliers

MR4ME Taking up a block

Opposition – was invisible.  We had talked about (been told) how to handle it, but didn’t need to implement the tactic of ignoring the opposition.

The Walk itself – a great way to seem Mackay’s CBD, My friend Tony and I headed the column.  I’m very proud to be up-front on this issue.  (That’s me with the Rainbow “=” sign)

Tony and I head the column

The energy – it was fantastic to be with that many people all passionate, all supporting the one cause.  I loved every second of it!

The people – We had a great after-march party at Mackay Metro Market – a funky cafe with great food and great atmosphere on River St.   Check them out if you’re in the area!  I met so many fantastic people!  In the above photo we see Jen – self proclaimed fag hag who moved from Sydney to Mackay, just looking for a gay to call her own.  I met Kris May, the organiser, who I’ve interacted with a bit on Facebook.  I met Robin Lockman, a well-known Mackay Gay Rights activist, (and it was fantastic because *she* recognised *me* – I’m starting to feel like I’m a recognised activist! or at least a micro-celebrity…).

Probably for me, the people I really want to say thank you to in this post the most are Cheryl and Morrie.  This amazing couple put Tony and me up for the night, sight unseen, and showed us around some of the beautiful places Mackay has to offer!

 

MeTonyAndCheryl

Cheryl’s the one in the middle, in case you needed some help with that

MorrieTonyandMe

And her fantastic husband Morrie.  These two wonderful people took us in, showed us amazing hospitality, and showed us around, asking for nothing in return!  Cheryl and Morrie, you are the best!  Get in touch with me any time!

What else am I thankful for… so so many things, far too many to list!  The Mackay trip has left me euphoric and hopeful for the future!  Thinking very hard about staging a Gladstone Rally in the near future!  Oh!  One thing I *am* thankful for that doesn’t centre around the rally so much, my new Real Estate agent.  She showed my house yesterday after I left for Mackay, and called me about 3 today saying “I noticed your porch light was still on. Are you ok? Do you need me to feed the dog or anything?”  I turned her down as Tony and I were just leaving Mackay to come home, but that’s a level of service I would never have expected!  (For those of you who are looking for an agent, She’s Margie Richards from PRD Nationwide – Gladstone.  If you’re selling your house, this is the woman you want!  I only wish I’d listed with her sooner.)

Marriage Equality Amendment 2012 defeated.

Sadly, I write this article to announce that the same-sex marriage bill introduced by Labor MP Stephen Jones was defeated in the lower house this afternoon.  42 votes to 98…  The ACL issued a seriously mis-titled media release (ACL welcomes end of marriage debate) today in response.  “I would like to thank the Opposition for keeping its election promise and for all those members of Labor who, as a matter of conscience, voted to ensure that marriage remained between a man and a woman,” Mr Wallace said. “ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said it had been a long debate and he believed the vast majority of Australians were keen to move on”.  This is true.  We are keen to move on.  We want you to stop perverting democratic process and permit this bill which has majority public support to pass.  This is not the end of the marriage debate.  In fact…

Debate continues over the Marriage Equality Amendment (No 2) 2012.  I’ll be doing another highlights/lowlights article over the next couple of days…

A little more encouragingly, Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has resigned as Abbott’s personal parliamentary secretary after incredible (and justified) backlash over comments that legislating for marriage equality could lead to demands to legalise bestiality and polygamy.  The Liberal leader stated “They are views that I don’t share.  They are views that many people will find repugnant,” and that Bernardi had made “ill-disciplined comments” and “had compounded the offence by repeating the comments on radio this morning.”

The result of a conversation between Bernardi and Abbott?  Bernardi’s resignation as secretary – he still holds his Seat in the Senate.  Credit where credit is due however, Bernardi’s departure has created enough space that it requires two members to fill his shoes.

Abbott further states that “While I have consistently advocated a position that the Coalition should keep its recent election commitment to maintain marriage as a union between a man and a woman, I will not tolerate comments that are offensive to people in same-sex relationships,” and that “While the Coalition has a policy position not to support changes to the Marriage Act, the Coalition has a proud history of opposition to discrimination in any form and as Leader of the Opposition, I will not have this record undermined.”

Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald for having the best of the Bernardi Story in one convenient place!
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