#DearPM: Marriage Equality (30 of 30)

Day 30 and I need a beer

It’s here! It’s the final day of #DearPM – 30 letters, in 30 days, from 30 Aussies calling for marriage equality. Thank you so much to each and every person who took part. I could not have done this on my own.

Also, the utterly brilliant Christian Hull made a video about his submission to this project, and the reply received from the AG’s office:

Now, I purposely doubled up a few days to make sure I was the one who wrote the final response, because I want to talk about the fact that an LGBTI person in Australia currently has to beat tougher odds than their straight/cys peers to make it to adulthood. That’s really shit, and it shouldn’t be the case.

As I say in today’s letter, marriage equality doesn’t solve this issue. But it is the first step, of many to our community finding equality in Australia.

30-of-30

So what did I learn?: Well, I can now write the PM’s postal address from memory; A lot of people really wanted me to put glitter in the envelopes. Seriously, seven emails from complete strangers; and, most importantly, there is so much love and support out there for LGBTI people.

While there are a lot of people who made submissions, there were even more who emails, FB messaged, Twitter DM’d me to say they loved the project, and that they couldn’t wait for marriage equality to be law in Australia. To all those people, I’m forever grateful for you encouraging me to finish the project.

As this is letter number 30, if feels a bit like this:

We came, we wrote, we received a shitty reply.

What’s next for marriage equality? Well I want to set up a call-to-action to everyone in Australia.

Writing a letter and posting it to the Prime Minister, or even to your local member is an important part of civic participation, which we don’t do enough. Often it is the oppressors who are better at rallying to write these letters.

So what can you do?

Take 10 minutes and write a letter, and call on our politicians to listen to the voices of the Australian people, which are too-often ignored. MPs take written letters more seriously. They have to respond to them, or at least pass them to someone to send you a stock response. But if enough of us do something, staff members will feed that up the chain. This is a numbers game, so get out your pen, and write a letter.

Address
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Take care,
Damo

PS. This letter talks about suicide, if you need someone to talk to, call Lifeline:

 

 

 

 

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

14 December 2016

#DearPM: Marriage Equality (30 of 30)

To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,

It’s the final day of this campaign. As a sidenote, it’s also the birthday of the person to whom I first ever came out. And I was so lucky that she was a supportive and kind friend. So today let’s talk about luck.

I’m a very lucky person. I was born in a tiny country town, and from a very young age was easily identifiable as being completely gay-bones. I’m totally comfortable with that now, but 20 years ago, I was terrified. But I was also lucky.

I was lucky because when I came out to my friends at 14 years old, most of them reacted with joy. They were happy that I’d accepted who I am.

I was lucky to have eight siblings who stood up for me, and supported me.

I was lucky because my parents, although incredibly challenged by my sexuality, chose to learn and understand, rather than cut me out of their lives.

And, I am lucky that I always felt supported enough to keep going. My brothers and sisters, my parents and my friends were a great and positive force that told me I was loved, even when I felt like no one loved me because of who I am.

Not everyone is that lucky. An alarming proportion of young LGBTI people will attempt suicide. There are so many reasons for this; too many to mention. And there is no solution that fixes this overnight. But what we need as a country is a distinct cultural shift, something that loudly and collectively states You Are Loved to every LGBTI person in Australia. That will be the catalyst to starting conversations and growing support for young LGBTI people. It is the first step of many, of millions of steps to our community becoming equal.

In a country like Australia, I shouldn’t have to be lucky to be alive, just because I’m gay. But the sad fact is that every LGBTI person has beaten some steep odds to be here today. There are a lot of things you should be doing as the leader of this nation, but today we are talking about marriage equality, because it should have been done already.

Thirty Australians have taken part in this campaign (including me):

  1. Robyn O’Meara
  2. Dave Gaukroger
  3. David Micallef
  4. Darren Ballingall
  5. Amanda Pearson
  6. Cath Clover
  7. Pixie Longhurst
  8. Karly Hillas
  9. Tom Ballard
  10. Gary O’Meara
  11. Lani Watt
  12. Lisa Rufus
  13. Jeremy Sear
  14. Sarah Sargeant
  15. Amanda Clayson
  16. Rebekah Robertson
  17. Cameron McLeod
  18. Lincoln Law
  19. Lucy Holman
  20. Aleem Ali
  21. Alexis Tindall
  22. Naomi Vaughan
  23. Christian Hull
  24. Carly Bald
  25. Jacob Holman
  26. Mario Bernardi
  27. Nicholas Bell
  28. Candice Wilson
  29. Carmen O’Meara
  30. Simon Dunn

That these people took the time to write to you, means they deserve an answer.

Will you, Malcolm Turnbull Prime Minister of Australia allow a free vote in the parliament on marriage equality next year? Will you make marriage equality a reality following the traditional path set forth, that is through a parliamentary vote on the issue? Will you do this as a priority?

We’ve waited long enough.

This is my thirtieth letter in a series calling for a free vote on marriage equality in the parliament, and in your current term. A free vote is the correct way to legislate for marriage equality. You could allow this to happen today.

Yours sincerely,

Damien O’Meara

 

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