Category Archives: Equality

R U OK?

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Today is R U OK day. It’s a day where we can put borders on our profile pictures that say “R U OK?” and share statuses to prove that we’re always listening. Somewhere in that, is an attempt to dispel stigma associated with not being OK.

Most of my friends on Facebook aren’t psychologists or counsellors, so I don’t tend to write about it on social media when I’m not travelling well. I absolutely have friends that I know I can shoot a message to if I need support, and vice versa. I absolutely have friends that I know without a doubt would walk with me every step of the way to seek out help. First stop for me is generally my GP.

My GP is pretty good at helping me out when I’m not able to say that I’m OK. She’s equipped to manage that messy side of my head. And she’s able to help me get the help I need when R U OK profile pictures don’t really cut it.

I know this sounds pretty jaded. And to be honest, I’m feeling pretty jaded. I know that a lot of the LGBTQI community in Australia can’t say yes, I am OK at the moment. But who is equipped to actually help us? Not just do the whole “Sending hugs” or “Inbox me, babe” stuff, but to actually help?

Reach Out has published a resource regarding self care, and where to go for support if you need it. You’ll find it here.

It makes me very angry that already, those postal surveys have started arriving in mailboxes across Australia. You can tick yes or no. Then you post it back. And just like that, you get to make a decision regarding the lives of the community I am a part of.

Just like when I got to vote about your relationshi- oh hang on, that didn’t happen.

Just like when Howard asked us if we’d like him to change the marriage act – oh, wait, that didn’t happen either.

I’ve read lots of posts about the Church wanting to protect marriage because the Bible. They’re concerned about religious freedoms. I don’t think religious freedoms include being able to serve in a church if you’re gay, or being made to feel welcome and equal, but they do extend to being able to put money in the collection plate.

Look, I don’t agree with their argument, but I do understand how they’ve arrived at it. But I’d hoped that the overarching themes of love, grace, mercy and compassion would be resulting in a different slant on social media comment sections. Ultimately, it’s really unlikely churches are going to be forced to conduct weddings when both parties are of the same sex. It’s not like churches have a track record of respecting and accepting gay couples as equals, so why on earth would we want to celebrate our love there? I’ve particularly been impressed by the logic that drives them to say that children need a mother and father, which is helpful for single parent families; and that marriage is for creating children, which is helpful for couples who have found themselves unable to have children.

I have Christian friends who are some of the boldest supporters we have.

The No side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be labelled homophobic bigots.

The Yes side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be equated to paedophiles.

We’ve been put into a position where suddenly, the extreme opinions and voices have come out to play. There have been no protections on this debate up until yesterday. But it’s worth keeping in mind that every single thing you have said in this debate, you actually have to be proud that you said it when this is all over. Every comment you have made regarding another human being – you have to be OK with yourself when the dust settles.

Therefore maybe it is helpful that today is R U OK day. People die from this kind of stigma. People die because they feel alone or because they feel like there’s just no point. We have a mental health crisis in Australia – a crisis that could use all kinds of funding. In the past I’ve written about my own experience with mental health; I’ve shared how I’ve gotten through. And each time, it’s come back to the first step of going to my GP and getting help.

Because help is out there.

To Australia’s LGBTQI community, I’m sorry this is happening to us. None of us wanted this – to be made public property and to be at the heart of a huge amount of wasted funding. And in honesty, there are churches out there that really do live out the Bible, so if you are that way inclined, seek them out. If you’re not, head to your GP. Or check out the resources in the link above.

We’re a strong community.

We’re resilient.

We’ve fought when we shouldn’t have had to.

We’ve risen up with love.

We’ve stood up for love.

We have many allies.

We have people for us.

It may not be what we want, but eventually, somehow, it’ll be OK.

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Uninvited

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When we were kids the ultimate trump card was the birthday party. My birthday was, and still is, in December. If any of my friends or classmates in primary school wronged me in the months leading up to my birthday party, the simple threat of “You’re not invited to my party anymore” soon corrected the situation.

Deprivation of access to something that was going to be good. Refusal of entry, and power to make the decision that would deem someone invited, or not invited.

I am not invited.

In 2017, the common and socially acceptable (and expected) thing is to create a Facebook event for any gathering. We don’t tend to bother with sending invitations, and we certainly don’t stand in the playground with a circle of friends around us as we shuffle through a pile of envelopes, calling out the names of ones chosen to attend said social event.

The reason for this? Well, Australia Post has lost the ability to deliver postal items in a timely manner. Just last week we sent a parcel via Express Post, which has still not arrived at the destination it was sent to. Express Post is, as the name suggests, express. Essentially, the approach I (and many others I know) tend to take is, if it’s important, email it or message it via social media, or courier it. If it’s kind of not really important, or there’s no other option? Then post it.

This morning, our Senate rejected a plebiscite regarding same sex marriage, or as some call it, marriage equality. Or, as I call it? Marriage.

This means that a postal vote will occur. It was cost an estimated $122 million. It is not compulsory to vote, and the result may not be binding.

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I could make a list here of things in Australia that could benefit from a $122 million injection of funds. Health, aged care, education. But the thing is, I don’t know enough about politics to actually talk about those things in an educated way.

But what I do know about is what it feels like to be not invited to something. And to rely on the postal service when it comes to important deliveries.

As a gay woman in 2017, I feel a bit like the government has a pile of invitations at the moment, that they are shuffling while they clear their collective throats before calling out the names of people who are invited to partake in marriage. And I know my name is not on one of those invitations.

You see, the very moment I uttered the words that confirmed my sexuality, I lost my right to marry the person I would eventually fall in love with. In Australia, marriage is deemed to be between one man and one woman. Not two men. Not two women. One man. One woman.

So when you don’t have one woman in your relationship, or when you don’t have one man in your relationship, you are not allowed to be legally married in Australia.

 

We’re about to enter into what is already a pretty nasty period of parliamentary debate. Already, the Australian Christian Lobby has referred to the children of same sex couples as “the stolen generation”. There are going to be words flung around and opinions shrieked. Name calling and finger pointing. And outside of parliament, I anticipate that things will be worse.

The people I see at Tafe will be able to vote on my right to marry. And they won’t all be thinking that I should have that right. The people I see at work will have a vote. The people I stand in line with at the checkout, the people who have just moved in next door. Strangers and friends and acquaintances. They’re all going to have a say on whether or not I should be allowed to be legally married.

And to be honest, it scares me. And I’m out, I’m OK with who I am. Imagine if you were not OK? Imagine if you were still in the closet, waiting to find out if you were safe or not to come out?

My gut reaction, I’m ashamed to say, has been to act out of fear. To try to look less obviously gay. To think twice before holding hands in public.

But then I remembered the ones who are struggling with who they are. Who are still keeping quiet about their truth.

And I remember that at the heart of this, is, quite simply, wanting my love to be recognised as equal.

And so, the answer is not to hide it away.

The answer is to keep loving.

With the postal vote, yes or no, I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I don’t know how vehement people will be in voicing and acting out their disapproval. Am I going to be yelled at? Called names? Physically hurt? Because of who I love?

can’t know. But I have the assurance that I am loved. And that’s what I will rely upon.

And hopefully, as those invitations are shuffled and reshuffled, and voices cleared and names read out, I will one day hear my name on the Invited list.

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Two

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Two years ago, I was waiting.

The surgeon was running late.

I got a call from my sister, who was quite worried about things.

Beloved was by my side, the queen of my army of supporters.

And we waited.

Finally, I got wheeled off to surgery.

Drifted off to sleep, and woke up with a brand new ankle.

The original injury happened around seven years earlier: I’d fallen down a flight of stairs, severing the ligaments that support my ankle and gravelling off the end of one of the bones. The surgeon I had to see at the time looked at my body, looked at the xrays, and said (and I’ll never ever forget this) “If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not”.

So, for the next seven years, I broke my ankle. Again and again. Or twisted it. Or sprained it. And it got worse and worse.

Then I saw another surgeon.

This man, he became one of my heroes.

He took one look at my ankle, gave it a tug and watched how that pull had no end point except for when my skin got too tight.

He told me how he would fix it, and when.

On surgery day, he was running late.

So two years ago, I was waiting.

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I didn’t know it then, but that surgery saved my life. It certainly altered the path of my life. It took another surgery on my calf, a procedure on my Achilles and a shit load of physio to get me walking correctly again.

Exactly twelve months after I took my first steps, I did my first fun run. The Variety Santa Fun Run, raising money for the Variety children’s charity. I got slightly lost on the course and did an extra kilometre, but I did it.

Since then, I’ve done at least one fun run a month. I’m not sure on what the final tally is, but I’ve collected a swag of finisher medals and shirts and bibs.

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So far this year, according to the app I use, I’ve clocked up almost 800km. Just me and that repaired foot. And I still, still, get that buzz of joy every single time I start.

It’s not until you’ve been unable to do something for so long that you realise how much you love it. Love the freedom that being functional offers. Love the sense of achievement that one step after another brings. It’s been hard though. Realising that the barrier that I had for so many years no longer exists.

It’s so hard to explain, the fullness of the emotions that surround this day. Grief, for the years spent just… unable. The joy at these new days – and yes, even after two years, they’re still new days. The sheer amount of time I lost, not able to do stuff. The things I avoided. But now, the almost daily surprises I get when I do something that I couldn’t do. Or when I jump on and off beloved’s truck tray, then realise that I stuck the landing.

I stick the landings now.

In November, I’ll be back where I started with these fun runs. To finish off the year of fun runs, I’m taking on the Variety Fun Run again. I’d love it if you could throw in a buck or two, to help Variety help kids in need. Here’s the link for my profile.

It’s funny. It’s joyful, but it really is a sense of sadness about those years spent thinking that the first surgeon was correct; that I didn’t need or deserve surgery because of my body shape.

Well. I’ve fucking shown him.

But I know, without doubt, that I couldn’t have done it without that new surgeon, beloved and my beautiful army of supporters.

Thank you.

 

Five

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I just did a very small amount of research to learn what milestones the average five year old child should be closing in on. Now, we all know there is no average child, and that these things should be fluid to allow for individual quirks and development, and so on and so forth. But hang in there with me. This is the site I went off, if you’re keen.

The milestones are in four categories: social, communication, cognition and physical. At five years old, kids should be:

  • wanting to please their friends, and be like their friends
  • showing concern and sympathy for others
  • speaking clearly and telling stories
  • counting to ten
  • copying shapes
  • using the toilet independently
  • balancing on one foot

… as well as several other key things.

Now look. I don’t know how much I agree with this list. I’ve met adults who struggle with some of them, and childhood seems to be such a small window, doesn’t it.

If I had to write a list for what I’d want five year olds to be able to do, it would look kind of like this:

  • know who you are, and what you like and what you don’t like – but be open to trying new things
  • know that even though some things might seem scary, with people you trust helping you they might not be so scary after a while
  • be able to be as independent as you need to be in given situations
  • be able to play on your own happily
  • be able to play in a group happily
  • treat people, and yourself, nicely
  • be excitable and silly and roll on the grass at every opportunity

Beloved and I are celebrating five years together today.

When she left for work this morning, I told her our jobs today were to come up with a list of five highlights. Here are mine.

1. Beloved is able to grow her love for other people. She never seems to have an empty love bucket, and she shares that stuff widely. When we meet new people, she welcomes them openly. When we make new friends, they are friends for life. She’s like the Magic Pudding, but with love.

2. When she laughs she laughs loudly and it cannot be contained. It’s frigging awesome. The people around her start laughing and then she laughs more and it carries on and on. It’s just the best.

3. When I broke my leg on the cruise she tried to not get off at the different ports, because she didn’t want to leave me. I made her get off, but to think she’d prefer to shove me around in a wheelchair instead of seeing some beautiful islands blew me away. And she didn’t bitch about it, didn’t complain – the broken leg didn’t bother her one iota. Not because she didn’t care, but because for her, it was more about the being – not about the doing.

4. I have a collection of photos of my beloved bending over. She might be looking for a DVD, or weeding a garden, or putting shoes on – any time her bum is up in the air, I take a photo. And every single time, she looks at me with the same expression on her face. Shock, and a kind of bewildered “Again?” look. I tell her I am going to make a Beloved Bum Calendar but I haven’t (yet). But this is the thing. She seems to enjoy my quirks, my humour, my strange little heart. And she’s made me see that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as bad as I used to think I was. So I will continue to photograph her arse. Because it makes me laugh, but not as much as the expression on her face when she hears the camera snap.

5. Finally. Beloved has been through so much with me. Surgeries. The Aspergers diagnosis. My stubbornness. My lack of flexibility when it comes to achieving something. My over-parenting of the fur babies. My frustration with her technology skills. But she keeps on loving and she keeps on adapting and she keeps on telling me it’s OK. And with her next to me, it usually is.

My list of milestones for a five year old are pretty much a summation of our relationship.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

They came to dance

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13428361_1084188311627816_6294657720373394192_n Like the rest of the world I’ve been totally horrified and dismayed by the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Beloved and I both are reeling from this act of senseless violence. It’s been constantly on our minds and we’ve talked about it many times.

We’re in Australia, so geographically not close to Orlando. But the people who died, the people who had their life ripped from them: they’re members of our community. And as gay women, the sense of grief is strong.

Imagine.

Sexual orientation is such a deeply personal thing. People spend years in closets and unshared spaces, coming to terms with who they are. Some people never ever come out of those places, the sense of shame or guilt driving them to a life of pretence and half living. And then you find out about a place you can go to. A place where you won’t be stared at. Judged. Laughed at. Brutally beaten. Cruelly taunted. A safe place. A safe place for people just like you.

And so, you go. You meet people. You might dance with someone of the same sex for the first time ever. You might finally say those words – “Yes, I’m gay”. You feel the exhilaration of freedom; the weight lifting from your shoulders as you gaze around and see people who are like you but happy and open and themselves. And in that moment a life outside of the closet no longer seems so scary. You have a community. You have a people. You are part of something bigger and you are totally, utterly safe. And like everyone else there, you dance.

Then it changes.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6 7 8 9.

10.

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23.

24. 25. 26.

27 28.

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43.

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48. 49.

50.

The dance floor slowly empties.

Joy turns to chaos.

Life turns to death.

Freedom turns to oppression.

The closet becomes the only safe place once again.

You hear tears. Worse than that, you hear phones ringing and going unanswered. Worse still, you hear sobs desperately trying to be stifled.

And worse still, you hear silence where there should be no silence, silence where silence is the devastating reality of no further noise.

This is not about religion. This is not about creed or colour. This is not about gun laws or lack thereof.

This is about people. About a community attacked. About the right to be yourself, being snatched away and scrunched up like some used piece of cling film and flung carelessly into the bin.

They came to dance. To dance.

But now, the steps have changed.

I don’t know what to do from here. From Australia the reality is that I don’t know a single person who was at Pulse, and it’s really unlikely that I will ever go there. But I’ve been to gay venues. There’s a pride festival coming up later this year that beloved and I are going to. But the question dangles.

Will we be safe?

We can’t live, constantly scared that our love might flick the switch for someone who has a problem with it. But maybe we’ve had a reminder that we also can’t assume that what is normal for us, for our loved ones, for our community – we can’t assume that everyone is as welcoming or inclusive as we are. Because ours is a community that was primarily forged through exclusion.

For someone to enter that community, to go to a place that is safe for that community, and to singe handedly destroy exactly what it stands for: maybe that is what’s at the heart of the way beloved and I are feeling. That the physical safeness of our safe spaces are so utterly vulnerable.

But our hearts are strong.

And as a community, we love fiercely.

Yes, we will be targeted. Yes, we will be discriminated against. We will be judged. Denied freedoms. Experience shame. We will forge connections and explore life and get to know that person we kept in the closet, and when we come out you can be sure that the Mardi Gras Parade will be storming proudly through our hearts and our heads as each footstep shows that we are not alone and we are not less than anyone else.

We still can’t get married.

But we can love.

And from what I can see, that’s the true safe space.

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Get Stuffed

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Today is Melbourne Cup Day.

This is the image that won the internet for me today:

Source: Marie Claire

Source: Marie Claire

That’s Michelle Payne, the only female jockey riding in the Melbourne Cup and the first female jockey to win. And I love that she used the phrase “get stuffed” in her victory speech. How completely Aussie is that!

I’m not going to pretend to know a lot about the Melbourne Cup, nor about the horse racing industry. But what I do know is that my beloved’s daughter works in this industry, and I know her love and compassion for horses. For me, beloved’s daughter is the closest actual source that I know when it comes to racing and the way horses are treated. Beloved’s daughter might not know how to hang a wet towel and she might struggle with getting rubbish into the actual bin – but the love she has for horses and the expectation she has that they be treated beautifully seem to be in keeping with her chosen field of work.

Beloved and I went to the local pub for their Melbourne Cup lunch do. We went last year too, and I won Best Footwear (my post-op ankle boot). I didn’t win this year. I’m in normal shoes now.

While we were there I was chatting to a woman who worked at a place that sounds like… Parby’s Dies. Just a quick chat. Then I went back to my beloved. About an hour later, I walked past her and I saw her turn on her stool at the bar, and very clearly heard her say, “big girl, big girl, big girl”. I stopped in my tracks, turned around and returned to our table.

I sent beloved to get our drinks.

My thoughts considered the situation.

She’s correct. I am big. But by fuck I’m working on it, every single day. I didn’t retaliate, didn’t make comment on her physical shortcomings. I didn’t go back to the bar. But I also didn’t go home.

I’m working on it, every single day.

And ultimately I would love to have turned to this woman and shout GET STUFFED.

But I didn’t. Because that would be mean. And I am many things, yes – but I am not mean.

I actually found myself feeling really sad for this woman. Based on the things she mentioned in our brief chat, and her own appearance challenges, and that she thought it was even worth saying something like that, and that she lived in a world where making that kind of comment held some form of validity.

So, it’s been a funny old Melbourne Cup day here. But I think we can all agree on who the real winner was:

The phrase GET STUFFED.

Want to feel old? Try this.

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Get your hands on one of these little babies. They are harder to find than you’d think:

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Next, find a group of kids with ages ranging from 6-10. Show them the film canister and ask them what they think it is. They will look at you blankly.

Then, launch yourself on an explanation about the time before we had phones that could take photos. Explain what a camera is. How film works. About collecting all your rolls of film and taking them to the local pharmacy to send them away. Then how two weeks later, you’d get your photos.

You will feel old.

The other adults with you will giggle awkwardly as they sprout new grey hairs, and you might find yourself drifting into a memory of the various pictures that you have been in and taken over the years. The three month wait after your year ten formal, because there’s no point in getting one roll of film developed at a time. The disappointment of paying for a roll of film to be developed and then realising you had your lens cap on and just paid for 24 perfectly black rectangles on high gloss paper.

At 37 I’m realising that I am in a different generation. I was talking to a friend recently and realised that in our rants and cranky disgust we were actually referring to the next generation. Young people isn’t us anymore. I’m one of these people who you see memes about – people who really do think that ten years ago was the 90s, and that music today is legitimately bad (which it is).

I was at Cubs when I was showing them film canisters, and the reason I was showing them was because we were about to fill them with a mixture of bicarb and vinegar so that they’d shoot off into the air with a big loud pop. I’m pretty sure that the resulting pop is what the kids took home, and not some strange story about how their leader used to put plastic strips into little containers and send them away to get paper rectangles back.

But it’s all about perspective, in the end.

Which neatly brings me to this. Edenland shared this a few days ago, and amongst the giggles about rammed asses, the truth of the statement rose up and slapped me.

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There’s this thing that happens in life. You meet people. Some you like. Some you don’t like. Some, you know for a long time. I have a few long timers in my world, and people who I hope will end up to be long timers. But others are only around for a short time. A week. A month. A day even. Someone you nod to on the bus or road rage at when they cut you off. But whatever you do with them, you’re in their life. Part of walking them home. Part of their experience of the world. It’s made me thankful… and more aware not to be an arsehole.

Do you have any film canisters? Dare you to try to explain what they are to a kid. Who are you walking home? Are you improving the journey?

The Granite Block

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This post is the result of much thought. And I know this could be a risky post. Not because of the content, but because I know I am writing to some people who might read it and decide I am having a go at them. I assure you, I am not. I’m really not.

I also want to say that I have friends who are Christians, whom I love. The very vast majority of them have continued to treat me exactly the same way as they did before I came out. And even though there are disagreements regarding marriage equality, we are adult enough to accept that people have different viewpoints. We remember in our hearts that we are human and that our history and the value we see in each other is reason enough to continue our friendship, regardless of differences.

And it’s because I know that you love me, that I want to bring this up:

Those posts you share, full of “buts” – they are doing a huge amount of damage.

I imagine that we all have this big block of granite, which represents our faith – in ourselves, in the god of our understanding, in people, in faith itself. When I was gathering up the courage to come out, I looked at my block of granite. I considered the people who I knew could be offended by what I had been puzzling about for years. I considered my understanding of the Bible, of the god I believed in. And in confidence in these things, I spoke those words: “I think I might be a little bit gay”.

For the most part, there was unending support. And when the US announced marriage equality this week, I loved the surprise of seeing Christian allies with their rainbow-tinted profile pictures. I was so proud of them, knowing all too well what they were risking in doing so.

Image by The Naughty Corner, and by that app thing that put a rainbow over your profile picture.

Image by The Naughty Corner, and by that app thing that put a rainbow over your profile picture.

But this announcement from the USA also saw an increase in those “but” posts.

Posts that share content that compares marriage equality to paedophilia, followed with a “but I am not judging you”. Posts that are prefaced with a “This is what I believe but I love everyone”.

That word.

But.

Now, back to that block of granite. I want you to consider what it is like, from this side of things. Having questioned your sexuality for most of your life. Knowing that being true to yourself risked rejection. Violence. Threats. Hatred. Having to consider and double consider what you say and where you say it and who you say it to. Usually, mental health issues, including anxiety, suicidal ideation, depression, self harm and so on. I’m not saying these are unique to the gay community – in fact, most Christians I know experience exactly the same thing with their faith.

This if nothing else should unite us.

When I first came out, trusting in my granite block, that first rejection was like a chisel rested on the granite and was hit by a mallet. And just like that, a chip was knocked away. I’ve been out for almost 5 years now. And that block of granite has changed shape significantly. In this last week, it has taken some almighty blows. But, but, but. Chip, chip, chip.

I could talk to the people who have shared this stuff individually. But I know that I can’t be the only one experiencing this. And also, perhaps stupidly, I don’t want to hurt them.

I could try to glue those chips back onto my granite block, and not let their well meaning daggers stab me too deeply. But I bet you’d still see the cracks on my granite block, wouldn’t you.

Source: freedomtomarry.org

Source: freedomtomarry.org

I expect that what is left is to either give up on my granite block, or write something that tries to explain what it is like, in the hopes that these words offer comfort to other people going through the same thing.

So here goes:

I love the Christian authors who publish articles, but I don’t love that you are flat out mean. I love the Christian artists that create pictures depicting their beliefs, but I don’t love that you are ignorant and cruel in your captions and assumptions. I love the Christian bloggers who are safe to share their faith without fear of persecution, but I really dislike being persecuted.

I love my Christian friends who share their “but” posts, but I wish you could understand the hurt it creates. Just like, I am sure, my rainbow picture hurts you. Just like my orientation hurts your faith. I get it. I really do. But please, before you hit “share”, consider the impact those words are going to have on all people.

Because really, what we are disagreeing on, is love.

And in the world we have in 2015, to disagree on love is a tragedy.

Colour Me Rainbow

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Like the rest of Australia I awoke to the beautiful news that the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favour of marriage equality throughout all of America. And I’ve opened up WordPress on my computer to blog about this, and there’s a rainbow banner. And I’ve had rainbow profile pictures beaming out at me all day on Facebook, and post after post on Instagram celebrating and tears and smiles and laughter and beaming and finally finally being able to say I do and 54 years of waiting, for these two:

Congratulations, Jack and George. Source: time.com

Congratulations, Jack and George. Source: time.com

And I’ve watched as one by one, my friends have tinted their profile pictures with rainbows. I’ve grinned stupidly at the joy and the tears on faces captured by media.

I’m celebrating the joy that my friends, regardless of orientation, have at this ruling. I’m thankful for each of their little rainbow faces. I’m building hope that one day, this will happen in Australia, too. I’m imagining the parties and the text messages and the hugs that are lasting a little longer, and the tingling of anticipation between couples as they wait to see if a proposal is around the corner for them, now it’s legal.

And this is all just about love. It’s just love.

And we’re celebrating it.

And it’s the best thing in the world.

I love this, by Mary Lambert. You might get a bit of dust in your eye or something.

“I can’t change, even if I try, even if I wanted to… My love, my love, my love… She keeps me warm.”

Peculiar

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It can be quite a difficult thing, equality.

Because it suggests that things are, well… equal.

One thing that always challenged equality when I was a kid was sharing. I was (and remain) good at sharing, however I’d often forget to include myself in the equation. I remember, or read about, the solution to this being that one sibling cuts up the item to be shared and then the other siblings can select their sections of the thing to be shared first. This works well with things like cake or chocolate; less effective when it comes to pets or clothing.

It’s Tuesday and I think it’s Monday, or Wednesday. For some reason my brain won’t accept that it is Tuesday. Maybe I had something I was meant to do today, which I have forgotten about. Very likely. We’ve got one of those trashy magazine shows that try to present as news on in the background, and I’ve just realised the story is about farmers wanting wives. The same television channel is also screening a series at the moment that takes two strangers, applies a heap of psychology and crossed fingers, and marries up two strangers.

Now, this blog post isn’t going to be another one of those “let me and my beloved get married”. I’m not questioning the sanctity of the marriage that is being protected. I’m not challenging the validity of these weddings, nor am I asserting the validity of long term, committed relationships between people of the same sex.

What I am writing about is that feeling. That feeling you get when someone says or shares or posts something on social media that applies to you, and your gut just drops and your heart speeds up and you feel a little bit targeted. And you want to rant and point and yell UNJUST or explain that you’re not a criminal and you’re not the same as a paedophile or a bigamist, and you just want to marry the woman you love, even though you’re a woman too. You want to arc up, and say that letting people of the same sex get married is IN NO WAY the same same as allowing an adult who is sexually attracted to a child to marry.

One is a crime. The other is not.

And I’m fed up of being made to feel like I am committing a crime, simply by loving.

Here’s a quote from a particular post that was shared. In this section, the writer is answering the question “What is the point of marriage?”. Strap yourself in:

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Did you get that? Marriage is to breed, care for kids, be faithful, and protect women and kids from men, who like to have sex without consequences. Gay people can’t make babies or commit to each other, therefore shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

The person who wrote this is male. Apparently, women and children need to be protected from him. This creates in me some concern, especially given he lives local to me, and has regular access to women and kids via his church, his daughters and their children. The original post was shared many times, and I found myself reading it one morning last week while I was on my nebuliser. Shared by one of my friends.

So we come to point of this particular post. 

I’m all for having different opinions and views and ideas and beliefs.

But I’m also in favour of sharing them respectfully.

I know that people tend to have extreme views when it comes to marriage equality. You’re either for it or against it. You either think it’s no big deal, or that it will result in an increase in paedophilia or beastiality.

But I can say that I have never shared or written a post that has targeted people who think differently to me regarding the issue. I have never likened them to sex offenders. I have never questioned their ability to be faithful, or to parent, or to love. I’ve treated them with respect.

Because we are in a world that needs more respect.

Over the weekend, a mate of mine was bashed by eight males. My friend was targeted because he is gay. Again, local.

So, I choose to act in ways, including on social media, that doesn’t stir up hatred or discrimination or dissension. That could be because I’m a decent person.

Give it a go. It’s not hard. It revolves around thinking about someone other than yourself for five minutes. And you just might find that presenting your opinion in a respectful way actually adds credit to your opinion. Makes people want to consider the content you are trying to present.

But if that does prove to be too hard? I’m still going to feel hurt. And I have a hunch others will, too. So try this method:

Source: themetapicture.com

Source: themetapicture.com