Image for OPINION: I wanted a plebiscite, but not anymore

OPINION: I wanted aplebiscite, but not anymore

A fortnight ago I would’ve told you that I was coming to terms with the national plebiscite on marriage equality – that I was readying myself for the fight ahead. As an aspiring pragmatist, one who cautiously flirts with the idea of political centrism, I was willing to put aside any discomfort or feelings of unease, so long as it meant achieving marriage equality by early next year.

When debating matters of the heart, the temptation to be selfish is perhaps understandable, if not important to resist. It’s easy to look at one’s life and observe only the ways one might personally benefit from marriage equality. I could become engaged to my long-term partner. My gay uncles could finally get married – perhaps before my grandmother passes away. A victory at the plebiscite would taste so good – not only in the free-pouring alcohol that would surely follow, but in knowing that we had risen to the occasion and had won.

It’s been a humbling lesson – taking a step back and realising that this isn’t about me or my relationship. That it’s so much bigger than my personal experience. Listening to members of the trans community who feel deeply that they’ve been discarded and erased in the ongoing process of debate; those who fear they’ll cop the brunt of societal backlash to future reform, as has been seen recently in the United States. Listening to parents of young trans and gender-diverse children, who dread the schoolyard retaliation a national platform would not only validate, but encourage. Those in rainbow families who tearfully refuse to be held accountable to the ignorance of millions of Australians they’ve never even met.

Ever since I won my first race in under-12’s little athletics, I’ve enjoyed what I consider to be a healthy competitive spirit. It’s what drove me to overcome the bullying I faced daily throughout school. It’s what drove me to not kill myself when doing so felt like the only viable option. It’s what made me, dare I say it, excited by the prospect of tackling a plebiscite – of meeting our opponents head-on and coming out victorious.

I wanted that moment, but I wanted it for me. I wanted it because it came to represent so much; every time my voice was drowned out, every time I felt defenceless, every time I was attacked or demeaned, every time I was made to feel worthless.

But this isn’t about me, and I reckon that’s the most valuable lesson this whole plebiscite mess has taught me – that our ongoing fight must continue to reflect the values, concerns and opinions of our entire LGBTI community, not just those at the forefront of the campaign.

Tunnel vision is informally defined as “the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.” We can’t continue to pretend that marriage equality is narrow enough a subject to be considered in such a way – not when doing so means turning a cold shoulder to the possible repercussions faced by so many others in our community.

Samuel-Leighton Dore is the incoming editor of SameSame.

Comments

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Profound

Profound said on the 12th Sep, 2016



This issue doesn't affect them due to them being transsexual so why should they think that trans issues would be there.

Shaun Caleb

Shaun Caleb said on the 16th Sep, 2016

Well put Sam, especially about the need--as I interpret your words--to be altruistic. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly under the law; and rainbow people should not have to pay a price of entry like we have on so many other issues.

For me, marriage would be a symbolic gesture: next time someone yells 'faggot' at me or snickers when I hold my bf's hand in public, at least I know I'm equal under the law...sort of.

Shaun Caleb

Shaun Caleb said on the 16th Sep, 2016

Profound--I hope you aren't serious?

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 16th Sep, 2016

Well put Sam, especially about the need--as I interpret your words--to be altruistic. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly under the law; and rainbow people should not have to pay a price of entry like we have on so many other issues.

For me, marriage would be a symbolic gesture: next time someone yells 'faggot' at me or snickers when I hold my bf's hand in public, at least I know I'm equal under the law...sort of.

Terms like 'rainbow people' patronise and infantise people of diverse sexualities and genders.

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 16th Sep, 2016



Considering the marriage equality debate has predominately been focused on gay identifying cis-gender men and lesbian identifying cis-genderwomen, it's not surprising that transgender/gender diverse people don't come to mind when marriage equality is discussed.

Shaun Caleb

Shaun Caleb said on the 19th Sep, 2016

"Considering the marriage equality debate has predominately been focused on gay identifying cis-gender men and lesbian identifying cis-genderwomen, it's not surprising that transgender/gender diverse people don't come to mind when marriage equality is discussed."

MrAsh for me that's been the single biggest destroyer of the equal marriage debate--cisgender white gay guys trying to make being lgbtiq socially palatable, throwing trans people, people of color, anyone with non-traditional relationships under the bus to get our way.

Sept77

Sept77 said on the 13th Oct, 2016

"Profound--I hope you aren't serious?"
I don't know that he/she's wrong here. Marriage equality is about making marriage between two people regardless of gender. Most transpeople identify with the gender binary. There's nothing stopping transfolk from partaking in debates or getting themselves involved.
"cisgender white gay guys" - yes, people getting involved. Don't shame people for willing to stand up, do the work, and make things happen. Don't make it about race. Be grateful that there are people there willing to work, willing to fight, willing to petition and organise and rally. Does it matter that they're white? That they're cisgender? Is anyone saying "non-white-skinned people, women, and trans aren't welcome" - and does anyone feel that way? Do what we've always done as a community and work your way in.
If cisgender white gay guys all shut up and fucked off, nothing would happen.

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 13th Oct, 2016

"Profound--I hope you aren't serious?"
I don't know that he/she's wrong here. Marriage equality is about making marriage between two people regardless of gender. Most transpeople identify with the gender binary. There's nothing stopping transfolk from partaking in debates or getting themselves involved.
"cisgender white gay guys" - yes, people getting involved. Don't shame people for willing to stand up, do the work, and make things happen. Don't make it about race. Be grateful that there are people there willing to work, willing to fight, willing to petition and organise and rally. Does it matter that they're white? That they're cisgender? Is anyone saying "non-white-skinned people, women, and trans aren't welcome" - and does anyone feel that way? Do what we've always done as a community and work your way in.
If cisgender white gay guys all shut up and fucked off, nothing would happen.

Actually the marriage equality debate has been primarily focused on cis-gender white gay men with cis-gender white lesbian/gay women getting the occasional mention and yes there are transgender, intersex and queer people of colour who feel excluded from the marriage equality debate.

Also you don't need to verbally express exclusion to be discriminatory, just the culture and the marketing campaigns around marriage equality reek of cis-gendered white privilege and that's enough to make transgender, intersex and queer people of colour perceive they aren't welcome or not fully included in the marriage equality debate.

Sept77

Sept77 said on the 14th Oct, 2016

How has it been focused on cis anything? The debate as I've seen it - and as I know Australians will have seen it - has been on same-sex couples. How do you know whether they're cis-born or not? As I've said, most trans people identify as part of the gender binary. Those who don't identify with the binary are a small fraction of our minority status, and sure, their voices haven't been heard, and with the push being for two people of the same gender to marry, that will exclude them if they don't wish to take a male or female identity, and I get that, and trust me, at least in my circles of friends, we have discussed this, which is why I support the law change to any two adults marrying - sparing family members of course - which includes those outside of the gender binary. Most Australians still won't even know what 'cis' means, so no, the debate hasn't been 'cis' anything.
Nobody is stopping anyone from partaking in the movement for marriage equality. Nobody is saying that they can't join in because of their gender or gender identity or skin colour. If people people of colour feel excluded by people who don't have a colour - or whatever - that truly is their issue. It's not up to people who don't have a colour to bow down and leave a void for a person of colour can fill. Do you know how hard it is to get people to volunteer to take the reins and do stuff? Any help in a movement should be applauded. Like I say, if the evil, hated, oppressive cis-born people of no colour stepped down, I'm sure that there'd be other reasons why they're still excluding.
I swear, when I was at uni 15 years ago, we had hard enough time trying to find non-people of no colour to get involved in LGBTI activities. We never made anyone feel guilty or oppressive for getting up, speaking, lending a hand, doing the leg work, writing the letters, organising and rallying the troops. As a movement, we've lost our way.

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 14th Oct, 2016

How has it been focused on cis anything? The debate as I've seen it - and as I know Australians will have seen it - has been on same-sex couples. How do you know whether they're cis-born or not? As I've said, most trans people identify as part of the gender binary. Those who don't identify with the binary are a small fraction of our minority status, and sure, their voices haven't been heard, and with the push being for two people of the same gender to marry, that will exclude them if they don't wish to take a male or female identity, and I get that, and trust me, at least in my circles of friends, we have discussed this, which is why I support the law change to any two adults marrying - sparing family members of course - which includes those outside of the gender binary. Most Australians still won't even know what 'cis' means, so no, the debate hasn't been 'cis' anything.
Nobody is stopping anyone from partaking in the movement for marriage equality. Nobody is saying that they can't join in because of their gender or gender identity or skin colour. If people people of colour feel excluded by people who don't have a colour - or whatever - that truly is their issue. It's not up to people who don't have a colour to bow down and leave a void for a person of colour can fill. Do you know how hard it is to get people to volunteer to take the reins and do stuff? Any help in a movement should be applauded. Like I say, if the evil, hated, oppressive cis-born people of no colour stepped down, I'm sure that there'd be other reasons why they're still excluding.
I swear, when I was at uni 15 years ago, we had hard enough time trying to find non-people of no colour to get involved in LGBTI activities. We never made anyone feel guilty or oppressive for getting up, speaking, lending a hand, doing the leg work, writing the letters, organising and rallying the troops. As a movement, we've lost our way.

Sept77 your comment is completely based on a cis-gender white privilege perspective and it's clear you have no understanding of the real issues people of diverse sexualities and genders from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face.

Also as a movement LGBTI has always been about the needs of cis-gendered white gay men first and foremost and this is no longer acceptable.

Sept77

Sept77 said on the 14th Oct, 2016

And BOOM, if there were an argument, you'v just won. "You don't even know what you're talking about, so shut up."
And quite right. It's time for cis-gendered white men to fuck the fuck off and shut the fuck up. It's time for anyone who isn't a cis-gendered white man to take over whilst those who are should put their feet up and sip a well-deserved cup of tea.

wysi

wysi said on the 15th Oct, 2016

You are entitled to your opinion

Carpe-Diem

Carpe-Diem said on the 15th Oct, 2016

And BOOM, if there were an argument, you'v just won. "You don't even know what you're talking about, so shut up."
And quite right. It's time for cis-gendered white men to fuck the fuck off and shut the fuck up. It's time for anyone who isn't a cis-gendered white man to take over whilst those who are should put their feet up and sip a well-deserved cup of tea.

I like a well deserved cup of tea toots. Chuck in a couple of iced vo-vo biscuits and it's all rather civilized. ;)

YRAG

YRAG said on the 11th Dec, 2016

So far we had this issue that the Plebiscite and that was going to be NON-BINDING and I don't know why its going to be NON-Binding for (?) But my point is what if the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull if hypothetically to change his mind to make the Plebiscite to become BINDING instead NON-Binding (?) If the Plebiscite was going to be Binding then would the Plebiscite would still go a head as planned for next year in 2017 or still not at all regardless if its either binding or non-binding (?) Would the plebiscite result would be different if it was binding instead of non-binding (?)

coast_boy_21

coast_boy_21 said on the 11th Dec, 2016



George Christensen and Cory Bernardi won't allow Malcolm Turnbull to amend the plebiscite bill so that the plebiscite result would be binding.