LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY Stories

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Millie

Since the announcement of the YES vote for marriage equality, the world feels a little different.

Less of a vote for people to marry the ones they love, more of a litmus test of the Australian people's views on the right to equality for LGBTIQA+ people.

Equality for me is about feeling like I belong in a society that respects, accepts, celebrates and includes everyone for who they are, without prejudice and discrimination.

We are one step closer to creating a happier, more harmonious world!

Thank you to all who voted YES! 💛🏳️‍🌈💛

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Beth

Equality, to me, is respect.

It's respecting our differences and respecting our life choices even if there's disagreements but I don't see a lot of that today. Equality is recognising that we are all different and that it doesn't matter because we are also alike in more ways than you could count. Growing up, I was taught to respect others and I do so today but it gets harder to show respect to people who clearly have none for me. I barely had anyone to talk to except for the social outcasts like me back home in a small country town called Hamilton. We didn't want to rely on anyone because it was obvious no one cared about or respected us. I came to Geelong alone and unaware of how much would change in a few short months. I found friends that care about me and accept my differences. I found what it really means to treated equally and to be respected.

Respect and equality go hand in hand because without one, the other would not be enough to ignite change. I feel that people who do not want equality are just wary of something different taking over their lives. I joined Geelong Rainbow INC. to encourage people to embrace new things as I have. Because without change I would have probably spent the rest of my life as a social outcast with no one to care about me. If more people opened up to that ideal, then maybe their conscience would tell them that change isn't always easy, but it can be better for the world.

All it takes is a little respect on both sides.

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Vanessa

Equality is eliminating the "us" and "them".

Allowing my girls to grow up in a world without labels...

And the legal recognition to marry my beautiful fiance without the prejudice of someone telling me that my love for another isn't equal.

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Pamela

Equality is about all consenting adults having the right to marry, if they wish. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion, or what goes on in people's bedrooms! It is a birth right to love and be loved.

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Josh

Marriage equality isn’t going to change everything. Hatred will still exist, and there are still other prejudices in society that need to be overcome to reach true equality between LGBTQI+ people and our neighbours. But with marriage equality, we can create a less hateful country, a society where everyone has equal opportunity to express who they are, without fear of being shamed or ridiculed – an opportunity which we all deserve, no matter who we are.

My hope is that LGBTQI+ kids growing up won’t have to face the same struggles I did to accept who they are. People against marriage equality always say “think of the children”, but in reality these are the children we need to be thinking about.

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William

If for no other reason that equality itself must exist, it will be for the kids like myself who have never been able to be told that they will marry, or that said love will never be recognised. This plebiscite has hurt too many people and it's rhetoric has harmed the most vulnerable of the LGBT+ community. I have seen far too much self harm and degradation to people who do not deserve it. I have had too many friends and loved ones succumb to the hatred and bigotry of others. So, at the end of the day, I ask to all those who consider otherwise, not only to vote YES for the same sex couples of Australia, but also for those kids and young people who are not here anymore, and were never able to see their wedding days blossom.

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Katie

Marriage is important to me because I value what it holds at its heart - formal recognition of commitment to love, partnership and persistence.

As long as marriage is the highest form of legal relationship recognition, it should be available as an option to everyone.

Marriage equality will send a strong message to the LGBTIQ community that we are welcome, equal and valued in our society.

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Jarrod

Seven years ago my sister, my brother, and myself all met our respective partners and fell in love. My sister met a man who helped her grow in ways I never would have imagined and I love the kind, conscientious people that they've both become together. My brother met a woman who is just as funny and crazy as he is. And I met a man who I think is the perfect complement for my introverted, geeky, anxious self.

We all love our partners the same, but only two among us siblings are allowed to make the ultimate commitment and get married. What does this mean? Is my relationship worth less than theirs? 😞 It's not fair!

Australia is meant to be the land of the fair go. Please let my relationship be treated the same as my brother's and sister's and get your yes vote in as soon as you can!

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Edina

Equality is not having to choose between the person you are and the person that others will accept.

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Heidi

As non-binary lesbian, I have experienced discrimination in a number of forms throughout my lifetime. I have been threatened and mocked in public bathrooms for not fitting into the traditional female aesthetic. I have had strangers feel entitled to approach me in the street and demand to know my gender. Despite my identity having no effect on anyone’s life but my own, some people feel that they should be able to ‘discuss’ my right to function within society as if I am less of a person. As a result of this, I have developed a tough skin – but I shouldn’t have had to.

We are all equal and it’s about time we’re treated as such – regardless of our gender or sexual identity, where we were born or what colour our skin happens to be. A marriage certificate isn’t going to fix everything, but in the words of Macklemore, it’s a damn good place to start.

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Tias

I don't get it. We have all of these legal definitions for what constitutes a legal adult in the eyes of the law; and yet when it comes to marriage, 50% of people are legally not deemed options. I don't understand why a seemingly arbitrary line like this determines whether or not my friends whom I care about can marry another legal adult in the eyes of the law just because genders don't line up.

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Graham

Having lived in Canada and other countries that allow same sex marriage I have seen first hand the impact allowing this can have. It goes beyond commitment, it opens up their lives to the same rights as all couples and means a great deal. Love transcends gender. My relationships and those of my friends I feel are not different, they shouldn't be treated that way.

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Nikki

As a child I used to dream of one day having a fairytale wedding. I would never have envisioned that my dream would end up being just that, a fairytale. Marriage equality would give me not just the opportunity to have a 'fairytale wedding' but also the opportunity to marry and commit myself to the person I love.

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Chris

I moved here from Scotland. Essentially I left a country where I had the same rights as everyone else to come here to be treated differently. This has been my predominant thought throughout this campaign.

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Mischana

I have spent the majority of my adult life in relationships with women, but when I was 30, I walked holding hands with a man for the first time in my life. I passed a sweet old lady who gave me a look of “awwww aren’t you two sweet,” and I realised that I had never experienced that smile before. Not ever. Any interaction with a stranger in regards to my previous relationship had had to be braced for.

My wish for Australia is for everyone to feel safe holding hands with the person they love, no matter who they are or who they love. Now having experienced being perceived as both “straight” and “lesbian”, the differences are a million tiny moments that can wear you down. I know how tired you are, but hold tight to each other. We are nearly there. And whatever the result next Wednesday, you are not alone. That result has nothing to do with our worth. In the words of my beautiful friend Ben Van Tienen: “All we can do is shine as fiercely and brightly as we can, and know that every time we can get one new person to share our vision, we must celebrate. And even if marriage equality isn’t achieved this time round, it WILL happen, and all we can do is keep trying.”

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Alisha

 

My mum and stepmum have been together for 30 years next May. It's utterly ridiculous that the gender of who someone loves removes their rights to basic next of kin, inheritance, and other legal statuses automatically granted through legal marriage.

I want to have those legal connections to the woman who helped raise me since I was 6 years old. I want my son to know that his grandparents are just as valid as citizens and as a couple as anyone else. And I want other gaybys and rainbow youth to grow up in a society that respects them, that treats them as equals, and I think that marriage equality can be a big part of that.

I've been waiting 30 years. Love is love. Get it done. ❤

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Mishka

I really wanted to use this moment to send a positive message to any undecided voters; to encourage them to vote compassionately, with love and good will in their hearts.

I wanted to be positive, but I have reached the limit of my patience.

I am utterly exhausted by this demeaning, dehumanising ‘debate’ about people like me. We are not pawns for political bargaining. We are not ‘queer friends’ who serve as tokens of feigned tolerance, while our ‘friends’ simultaneously expound some version of ‘separate but equal’ and demand that we be content with that compromise. We are not here to argue about semantics and nomenclature. We should never have to apologise for who we love, or who we are.

So I stand here, now, expecting all of Australia to do the right thing: to unreservedly accept that we deserve precisely the same amount of respect, dignity, and legal rights and protections that non-LGBTIQA+ citizens already take for granted.

We are not debatable.

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Jordana

Equality is having the freedom to live your truth. No one should be deprived of something so deeply personal.

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Rachel

Marriage equality is needed. Full stop. I've hidden the fact I identify as bi from so many people, from friends, colleagues, for fear of their reaction. When you've lost friends before because of who you are it's very difficult to ever forget and I always fear it will happen again. I shouldn't have to hide my dating history, or get so panicked and anxious about telling people something so fundamental to my personality. I think marriage equality will help to show people that love doesn't care about gender. No one should have to think they’re worth less because of who they love.

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Felice

Equality is a human need. All people have the right to receive the exact resources they require for the happy, healthy and safe life they deserve. I am a panromantic demisexual non-binary femme who is disabled by society's attitude and not by my unique body. If you look past the thesaurus description, I breathe, feel and bleed.

Equity is my goal because I am not the same.

I am me.

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Ruth

For me, marriage equality means acknowledging the common, human desire for love and companionship. A couple's choice to signal their commitment to each other in marriage is a beautiful, wondrous thing. Denying anyone the opportunity to do it is just plain wrong.

I desperately want to stand next to my best friend on his wedding day, and see him marry the man who is his long-time partner and the love of his life. It is heart-breaking and unjust that he can't have one here in his country, our home. Everyone should be able to marry the person that they love - love knows no bounds.

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Becky

We have been sold a lie that there is one ideal way of being human and that if you stray too far from that model, then you aren't entitled to be treated as the equal of those who adhere to it. If you're too fat, too loud, too disabled, too brown, too old or too young, if your religion is too different to the Christian norm or your English too far from the standard, if you are too ‘queer’ in any way - then it is entirely your own fault that you are treated differently.

It's not.

Civil rights like marriage aren't there to protect just one type of person, they're there to protect all of us, and we cannot let the discomfort of some with the beautiful spectrum of human difference dictate who is - or is not - entitled to respect or protection under the law. Equality is something we can all expect, regardless of who we are or who we love, and therefore is Lady Justice, like winged Cupid, painted blind.

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Gavin

Weddings are great - what’s more fun than getting dressed up, eating someone’s favourite food, having some drinks and busting out your most terrible dance moves with your most loved family and friends? It’s a joyous occasion, but it’s more than that. It’s a celebration of love between two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. I don’t understand how that can ever be a bad thing.

I believe in marriage equality because everyone should have a chance to celebrate their love for their chosen person, regardless of their sexuality.

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Holly

As someone who identifies as bi, equality to me means that I can give the ultimate gift of love and commitment to whomever I fall in love with and having that relationship recognised as equal not only in the eyes of the law but socially as well.

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Kirrily

Equality is being able to be and express the way you were born to be, without fear of judgement, exclusion, ridicule or harm. Equality is having your love, your identity and your relationships as being recognised, equal and valid in the eyes of Australian Society and it's laws. Equality is having yours and your lover's rights and wishes respected and honoured when it counts the most, ensuring that you and your loved one are looked after if adversity strikes. Equality is being able to love your dear and and proudly call them your husband or wife.

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Cayla

Whether or not I marry is between me and my love. Our equality shouldn't depend on your opinion.

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Jack

I want my friends and family to have their relationships valued equally and to be able to celebrate their love without the fear of discrimination. They deserve to be happy.