In a couple of hours, the result of this thing will be announced.
I was trying to explain this to Daniel last night. About why I feel scared. He sees things in very black and white terms, and his opinion is that it doesn’t matter what the result is anyway, because all the matters is what the few super rich people who support the politicians want. And while he may be correct about it “not mattering” in the whole non-binding part of it; and possibly also correct in that those rich people who talk into the ears of the politicians may influence any possible legislation that they try to make… it does matter.
It matters to me, and so very many people. Not the law part, but the “opinion” part.
If you remove any religious arguments, because we are a secular society; and you discard anything that is related to child-rearing, because in the 21st century parenting happens in many different forms and many of them are not a formal marriage between a man and a woman…. then you are left with the simple fact that marriage is a legal state which confers many benefits and which de-facto relationships have been clearly demonstrated to not give you… and some people are allowed the privilege of this status and some people are not. Fixing that should not be a matter of opinion.
We just want it done.
But in forcing this opinion poll, we are now forced to have a loud and public record of what the entire country thinks about gay people and their families. You can’t avoid the result, because it will be everywhere.
But what if we don’t want to know? Sometimes you purposely don’t ask a question if you don’t want to know the answer. Of if you are worried that the answer might be something you don’t like or can’t handle, that might hurt you or make you sad or angry or anything else. Sometimes it is easier and more peaceful to just live, and surround yourself with like-minded people and shut out all the others.
That choice has been taken away here.
I don’t think I’d be ready to ask, if it was up to me.
That’s why I’m scared. Because I don’t feel ready to know the result.
It’s a yes from me.
By this point, a week before the end of voting closes, I’m really kind of fed up of the whole thing. Actually, not ‘kind of’.. I am fed up. It’s exhausting experiencing all of the things that one is prompted to feel when seeing people energetically and eagerly supporting and encouraging others to support the Yes campaign, and it is exhausting and disheartening and frustrating experiencing all of the feels when you see some of the incredibly mean-spirited and outright false stuff that the No campaign are saying in their attempt to convince people that they’re right. Even more frustrating and incomprehensible is that people actually seem to believe some of the patently ludicrous stuff they are putting out there.
And while I want to hope that change will happen, I have waited for too long and seen too many people say and do cruel and damaging things to LGBTQI+ people and their allies for far too long to actually believe that it will. Seen too many times where it seems like a problem has an obviously better and more humanitarian solution and people keep choosing the other thing. See the reality that the government could have just fixed this without having to spend a fuckload of money on a non-compulsory, non-binding opinion poll that’s given all the people who hate gays the opportunity to shout their propaganda as loudly as they want and it’s fucking fine because it’s their opinion and they have a right to campaign for what they believe and you have to respect that. But they didn’t.
And actually, no. I don’t have to respect your opinion. I respect your equal right (somebody fetch Alanis) in our society to have and even express an opinion; that does not mean I must respect whatever opinion it is that you hold. There’s a big difference. Further to that, while I agree that you can have your opinion and even that you should be able to express it without fear of persecution, I don’t believe that your right to do it means that you should do it. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all. Shortcomings in the rabbit’s grammar aside, isn’t this still a valuable lesson to hold and practise? Just because something is your opinion does not give it some kind of sacred status that absolves you of the basic obligation not to hurt other human beings with your words and/or actions, nor can you rebrand false information as an opinion to magically make it a truth. Lies are lies, there is no ambiguity about it. They are not “alternative facts” or “opinions,” and trying to claim that they are is clutching at straws trying to justify your lies in order that you don’t get called out for it.
But when it all comes down to it, I just simply do not understand why the prospect of two people who love each other being able to marry each other is such a threat to some. It changes exactly nothing about any other existing or future marriage or relationship, it only makes a difference to the (potential) spouses in question and their nearest and dearest. I saw one person claim that she was going to vote no because one of the reasons people were saying you should vote yes is because LGBTQI+ people and young ones especially were at significantly greater risk of experiencing depression or attempting suicide, but getting married is not going to change that so it’s really not a good reason to vote yes. How can a person be so willfully and blatantly disingenuous? Of course getting married is not a cure for mental health issues and no one is fucking claiming that it is. What it does do is helps to remove part of the reason people end up feeling that way in the first place, i.e. that they are continually shown that they and their relationships hold less value to the community than those of straight people.
Anyway. It’s not like I’m saying anything new or even unique. Millions of us feel the same way and millions of us have two more weeks to wait to see how this shitshow turns out. And then to see what the inept twats in our government are going to do with the outcome of this not-sticky shitshow. It’s such a festive time of year.
Here’s more I wrote earlier on the topic.
Having been a while since we last travelled to the old land, there were some things we noticed and others we had forgotten about. Some good, some less so..
- People seem to be smoking everywhere. I’m not sure if there is actually a greater portion of the population smoking, or it’s just that they do not have many of the laws regarding public smoking that we do. (Ok. Googled. There are slightly more people smoking there, but only a percent or two.) We hate it when we come out of a shop or something here and get hit in the face by the stink of someone smoking just far enough from the entrance. When it’s anywhere outside in public and the shopping areas are open street malls… it sucks!!
- Also, there are shops everywhere for electronic cigarettes/vapes, and you see people using those walking along the street too. I know that people do have them here but I’ve only ever seen Neil using it and that is at home. Possibly because Queensland prohibits using them if the liquid contains nicotine, and isn’t that kind of the point of smoking? So maybe people just don’t bother. So that was kind of strange to see.
- I went into a shoe shop and I tried on like 8 pairs of shoes. I’ve never had this happen before in my life. And there were lots in my size that I didn’t try on, as well. Amazing.
- You can buy alcohol in some strange places. Like the supermarket. And the cinema. Now I think you can get a glass of something if you go fancy and do Gold Class here, but you can’t just get it at the general snack and drinks counter. Strange. (And I thought Aussies were the ones who had the reputation for allthedrinking?)
- Do they have something against salt? We kept noticing when we had fries from a variety of places that they had practically no salt on them. WTF? As Neil likes to say, if you don’t have salt, your arteries won’t harden and you won’t stand up straight. (And I need that, since I have a problem with that.) Also, it tastes nice.
- I can’t understand how 90% of the population is not suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It starts getting light a little before 8am and getting dark around half past three. That is only 7 hours of light, which is not even that light anyway! I found the strangeness of light patterns made it particularly difficult to have my body orient itself in time. I would wake up and it’s pitch dark outside so I think it must be like three in the morning or something. But then I will glance at my watch and see that it’s actually 7am and it’s just so disorienting. Strangely, I don’t recall noticing the light thing to this degree either of the other times that I have been there at the same time of year. Perhaps because the first time, I was 18 and had just arrived to be with Daniel after six months apart. We didn’t notice much of anything except each other. And the second time we had a 10 month old baby and I was not well.
- Bread clips. Why do you not have them, UK? It’s so freaking annoying to open and close the bag of bread with a bit of tape that gets progressively less sticky every time you do it.
- Cadbury Drinking Chocolate, we likes it. It’s quite different from the Aussie version of exactly the same name. We also likes Galaxy Hot Chocolate. We also discovered that it is quite pleasant to put some of each in a cup and have double hot chocolate. Mmm.
- So many channels on the TV. SO MANY. Not really that much more to actually watch. Though we did enjoy watching the Doctor Who Christmas Episode live on it’s first showing.
- Squirrels! So cute. So, so cute. There were some playing in Allan and Lisa’s garden but I suspect not as many as there could be since Allan doesn’t like them and won’t let people feed them :P And the neighbour has a squirrel feeder. Stephanie did try sneakily leaving some nuts out there but they must not have been the right kind because they just stayed untouched for a few days.
- We drove down to Reading one day, to visit Daniel’s brother and sister and to see some friends. Daniel sent a general invitation out to a bunch of his old friends to meet up with us for lunch and in the end only two were able to make it. One was Melissa (accompanied by her own personal Antipodean/husband Steve who is from NZ) and the other was a guy called Mark that Daniel went to school with. I have never met him before. So he introduced himself and then he said “And this is my husband, Jason.” And I restrained myself from squeeing. Because they are the first really truly legally married same-sex people that I have ever met. And I’ve been waiting a really, really, really long time for that. So that was a small moment that was really special for me.
- Tampons. It was an unfortunate set of timing that both Stephanie and I needed tampons while we were over there. We did each bring a whole box with us but we ended up needing more. So we went to the shop to get them. There were, and I am not joking here, only TWO to choose from.. the supermarket’s own brand and one other brand. All the rest of them were those spring-loaded missile-firing applicator shite. Are British women delicate about touching their vaginas or something? I was really not feeling the luxury of the feminine hygiene product buying experience.
- The passport stamping lady when we arrived in Manchester stamped my passport and Stephanie’s passport and Abigail’s passport and Kristian’s passport but she didn’t stamp Daniel’s. Because he has a Danish (EU) passport and there is freedom of movement between countries for EU people so he didn’t need one. And when I asked her if she could just stamp it anyway, she refused. Big stupid meanie head. The Australian passport stamping man, on the other hand, was quite happy to put stamps in ALL of our passports when we came back when I asked if we could have them. He seemed a bit amused that I was so pleased at his willingness to do this. AU 1, UK 0.
- I saw nieces and nephews and cousins with numbers that I have never seen before and that was really awesome. I liked seeing them all but it was especially cool to see Stephanie, David and Sammy because Sammy is the youngest member of my level of the family tree by far so he is kind of extra special :) And he also has a ridiculously cute baby french accent that could turn anybody’s ovaries to goo. And the other that was a little bit extra special was my birthday niece, Cerys. Who is now 6 years old!
- There are people we saw while we were there that.. it’s likely we won’t ever get to see again. This was the main sucking thing about the trip. Some are getting old, some are sick, some are both. I knew that they were old and/or sick before we went, of course, but it is a little different to see it in person. To see just how much time and illness have taken their toll on them. So while it was lovely to see them, the very visible reminders of their (well, and everyone’s) mortality was sad.
- One last thing. On the plane on the way there, four or five hours away from Manchester. Completely tired, very sore. I was sitting next to Abigail. She was awake after having slept through most of the trip so far and she decided to look out the window. She asks me about a green thing she can see. I somewhat sleepily tell her that planes have various coloured lights on the wings and underside and she can probably see one of those flashing. She didn’t seem quite satisfied with that explanation but left it be and continued looking out the window. Then, a few minutes later. “Is it possible… like, can you see the, um Northern Lights from where we are?” And I sat up very fucking fast and leaned across her to look out the window, because I knew that we were in fact flying up over the far north of Russia and yes, you CAN see the Northern Lights from there!! It wasn’t a particularly intense display and we were approaching the end of darkness by that stage but we still saw them! Bucket list item achieved!