Why I'm Voting Yes
(Foreward: Whilst I in no way want to make the issue of marriage equality about myself, as somebody in the public eye who has been a part of the LGBTI community and therefore has a lot of queer followers, I've felt a responsibility to speak up and share my thoughts on the current situation we find ourselves in. In saying that, while I may not understand your pain and frustration, please note that I am with you and I support you 110%.)
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to get married.
I wanted the big fancy party, the flowers and candles, the pretty white dress....but more than that, I wanted what my parents had. A unbreakable, unwavering love that has last the ages. A love that has survived a slow and horrific disease with no cure. A disease that has sucked the life but never the love out of everyone around it.
So when I was little, I had a wedding scrap book. I would spend hours meticulously cutting out pretty pictures of dresses I loved or elaborate hairstyles I wanted and very carefully glued them down on to the paper. I'd write very detailed notes in bright pink crayon such as "veil as long as this but no beads" and dream about the day my darling Dad would walk me down the aisle.
Interestingly however, when I first realised I had feelings for someone of the same sex at 16 years old... the thought process didn't play out how I had imagined.
For instance, I was more nervous about telling my most recent ex-boyfriend than my parents.
I was more terrified telling my best friends than I was to walk down the streets holding my new girlfriend's hand.
I also went through a process of grieving a life I had always wanted, but now felt as though I'd have to sacrifice. I wasn't going to get my big white wedding. Sure, I could still become a mother but it was going to be a far more complicated, long and expensive path.
I felt stupid and shallow but looking back, that was one of the toughest parts about accepting the fact that I may be gay- accepting that my life might not look the way I had always imagined it to.
Today, as I tick the yes box on the marriage equality survey and practically run it to the letterbox...and as we see this debate play out all over our social media feeds and televisions screens, on our radio stations and even written in the fucking sky, I've been forced to reflect a lot about my own journey with my sexuality and boy, what a rollercoaster that's been.
As I popped my vote into the letterbox and crossed all my fingers and toes, I thought back to my younger self. 16 years old. Rocking some kind of Avril Lavigne inspired look. So confused. So ashamed. So lost and alone, even when surrounded by people.
Imagine if I could go back in time and tell 16 year old Tully that it was okay. It was actually not even a big deal. That she didn't have to give up any of her dreams. That she could still stand at the end of that aisle in her beautiful dress and marry the woman she loved and nobody would bat an eyelash.
That, in fact, it didn't matter whether I ended up with a man or a woman, as long as we loved each other, we could legally bind ourselves together for the rest of eternity. That it's all the same, either way.
Would that have made me feel braver about coming out? Would I have felt less terrified? Less judged? Would I have not kept it a secret for so long, battling internally for so many years trying to figure out exactly how I felt and why I felt it and why it was different and why couldn't I change it?
I've had Macklemore's "Same Love" featuring Mary Lambert on repeat for a few days now and every single goddamn time, I end up in tears.
The line that sticks with me the most: "And I can't change, even if I tried...even if I wanted to."
Re-read that line. Let it sink in. Take it literally. Do you "no" voters understand that? Because to me, that is what it feels like to be lesbian/gay/bi-sexual/transgender/intersex in it's very purest form.
We can't change. Even if we tried. Even if we wanted to. This is who we are. We were born this way. And are you really going to hold that against us?
Are you really going to stop us from marrying the person we love? From creating loving families with beautiful, open minded children who will NEVER feel like they have to sacrifice anything because of who they may or may not fall in love with. Who will never make anybody feel like an outcast, just because of their sexuality or their gender.
I've written on my blog before about my own journey with my sexuality, and my on-going confusion and frustration with trying to fit myself into a nice, neat little box.
As it stands today, it's been over four years since I've dated or had feelings for a woman and if anybody asked I would identify as a straight female...however with my track record, who bloody knows who I'll end up with!
Something I DO know however is that I AM going to wear a big stupid fucking white dress and I WILL walk up a long bloody aisle holding my father's hand surrounded by the people I care about most whether the government deems it legal or not.
Whether there is a handsome man in a suit or a beautiful woman in a dress waiting for me at the end.
In saying that, having the basic human rights of the LGBTI community- of my best friends, my ex-girlfriends, my old housemates, my co-workers, my neighbours....reduced to a stupid fucking ballot on an A4 piece of paper that isn't even legally binding, has broken me.
It has absolutely broken me this week.
I have been crying on and off, engulfed in the horrific "no" campaign. Inspired by the "yes" campaign. Invigorated by the touching stories of rainbow and heteronormative families and communities rallying around this very important issue and heartbroken at the stories of the young and impressionable queer kids who are taking this unfair, unnecessary and extremely toxic public debate to heart. Some of whom may even take their own lives, lost in the negative fog and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This isn't me taking poetic license, this is reality. This is our Australian reality, right now.
The marriage equality survey isn't about politics. It's about fundamental human rights. It's about legal rights. It's about equality. It's about love.
Love has no gender. It has no preference. Love is love.
Please, I urge you to vote "yes" in the marriage equality survey. If not for yourself, or someone you know then for scared and confused, 16 year old Tully.
For the terrified queer youth who don't understand why they're different, or why it matters or what it's going to mean for them in the future.
For Peter and Bon, a committed couple for over 50 years who never got to see their union legalised.
For every single god damn beautiful rainbow person in this country.
"A certificate on paper isn't going to solve it, but it's a damn good place to start."
For anybody who feels a little lost or alone, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or check out Queerspace.
For more information on the marriage equality vote, and how you can have your say, head to Australian Marriage Equality.