WARNING: I ramble in this blog post and consequently the point is buried in there somewhere, but this is something I wanted to say and which is important to me, and quite frankly this is my blog and I can say what I want. So there.
Okay, here we go.
Lets start with me.
When I was about nine years old, watching television with my mother, I recall seeing an image of two women kissing on screen. Fully clothed, clearly very much in love, and my nine year old response to this was “ew.”
My mum asked me what was ew about it, and I said I thought that two women kissing was wrong. She asked me why, and I couldn’t think of an answer.
And simply as that, it wasn’t an issue anymore.
Fast forward about five years, and I find myself in the midst of a horrible adolescence, grappling with the fact that what I felt about boys and girls was in fact, very much the same thing. Two years later, I finally found myself able to accept the fact that while I probably wasn’t and would never be fully fledged lesbian, nor by any means was I straight as my friends were. Turns out, there is a middle ground, and at sixteen after such a long time of fighting it, I was happy to accept this and take it on board as part of my understanding of myself.
The two years of horrible, embarrassing, angst filled turmoil of trying to work out what this was and what to do about it, resulted in my becoming emersed in the issues surrounding GLBT people (which for those living under a rock, stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) and this whole community and movement that up until that point, I had been almost completely ignorant of.
Thank fuck we have the internet. I think that without it, my tiny hormone drowned brain would have been driven completely mad.
I learned a lot over this period of time. Just by doing some simple research, just by reading and talking to people and taking the time to learn as much as I could, nearly every pre-conception and idea I had of GLBT people was unravelled and proved to be wrong.
I’ve never been big on the whole ‘coming out’ business. I had a crack at it with my close group of friends, but my awkward blurting out of the truth I thought I had hidden so well turned out to be pointless. They’d pretty much worked it out for themselves. More to the point, they didn’t seem to care. I can talk it up and make more of a big deal out of it, but there is no point.
I felt the same was I’d always felt, just with a better understanding of the parts that made up that overall picture that is me. It was quite gratifying, not to mention extremely freeing to be able to accept that minor detail and still be able to class myself as being completely normal.
Which leads to the reason why I dislike the idea of needing to declare ones sexuality.
As far as I’m concerned I’m an entirely boring ordinary human being. People are like snowflakes (big romantic simile for the win!): we’re all slightly different, but pointing out those differences doesn’t make us more or less special then each other.
So the assumption that having a sexuality that I don’t define as being “straight” makes me more or less of a human then anyone else is ridiculous. It’s like saying wearing glasses makes me different, liking olives, enjoying swimming over running, being a singer, having black hair. It’s one aspect of the bigger picture. It doesn’t make me better, it doesn’t make me worse. It makes me normal.
No one should have to stand up and declare their differences. If they want to, sure, go for it. If that’s what you need to be sure of yourself and bring meaning to your life, then why the fuck not. But for me, needing to declare what makes me what I am is stupid and unnecessary.
I just want to be considered normal, because that’s what I am. No better or worse then any other human on this planet. Bloody lucky to live the fortunate life that I do, but ordinary all the same.
Which leads me to my next point.
The idea that being “straight” is the normal starting point for a persons sexuality pisses me off. It was that idea that put me though two years of hell, trying to wrap my head around the idea that not being straight made me different to my peers, that something completely out of my control was responsible. That sucked.
Suggesting that normal equals “straight” is as dumb as suggesting normal equals being white, or having blonde hair and blue eyes, or speaking English. It’s a ridiculous idea when you think about it. As if that’s the foundation that gets built off. That straying from this model is where that word “different” begins to loom and take hold.
Obviously, it’s a stupid idea and one that should not be promoted in our modern world. Surely we’ve come far enough as a human race, experienced enough, learnt enough from past mistakes and misconceptions to realise that being “different” is actually what makes you as normal as anyone else. That not being straight is actually as completely and utterly boring as being straight.
You’d think that, wouldn’t you.
Ten days ago, I was in Sydney at Hyde park, brandishing a placard and marching as one of ten thousand people, demanding that the Australian government stop discriminating against GLBT people and make Gay Marriage (for want of a better name. Let’s try, equal marriage) legal.
Marriage. The recognised union between two people under the law. An acknowledgement of a commitment, of two people in love. A very human concept that for reasons that evade me, holds a special sentimental place in the hearts of many.
Not in my own cold black organ that slowly pumps cyanide through rigid veins. I entirely disagree with the concept of marriage as being an outdated ceremony that is merely an indulgence, rather then a necessity, that is sexist, that is very much yet another traditionally religious instalment in a world that capitalises upon it for all it’s worth (another one being Christmas. We’ve already acknowledged my lacking of a soul, so let’s move on).
The point is, as someone who thinks marriage is kind of stupid, what on earth was I doing at a marriage equality rally?
And there is your answer. That very important word. Equality.
I may have serious issues with marriage, but equality fucking matters.
Lets look at another important word. Empathy.
Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter that I disagree with marriage. It doesn’t matter one teeny tiny freaking little bit.
I don’t want to get married. So, rather then kick up a fuss about it and be that douche bag who expects the whole world to bend backwards to appease my point of view, I’m going to take the simple solution.
I won’t get married.
And to every tiny brained nutter who does disagree with gay marriage, let me give you some advice. If you don’t want gay marriage, don’t get one.
Having this thing legalised doesn’t mean every man woman and degree of sexual identity in between must be partnered off for life with someone who is the same sex as them. What it means is that you will have the choice to. Take it, or leave it. No one gives a fuck.
The third key word. Choice.
Three simple words. Equality. Empathy. Choice. That’s why I put my own prejudices aside and spent four hours on a fucking train to fight for something I don’t even want for myself.
Because it’s the right thing to do.
No person alive or dead is better or worse then anyone else. We are, at the very root of it all, equals. We deserve to be treated as equals.
The Australian government promoting the idea that GLBT people don’t deserve the simple right to chose if they want to marry their same sex partner is promoting that aforementioned idea that we are not normal. In fact, we are less, for something so simple as loving someone the same gender as yourself.
Beyond this outdated, unfair and completely ridiculous notion, refusing to allow a group of people equal rights based on their sexual preference is just giving those disgusting homophobic bigots an excuse to justify their hatred.
Promoting hatred, promoting this idea that we are not normal for something that’s completely out of our control. That is completely unacceptable.
Sexuality is not a choice. The same way I couldn’t choose the fact that I like olives, that I like swimming, that I happen to be able to sing. You can choose a lot of things I your life, and these choices are what make up the sum of your existence. But to be discriminated against for the things that are out of your control, like your sexuality, your race, your gender, your background, and a million other things, it’s not something that can be justified, it’s not something that should be allowed.
So there we have it. Obviously, in Australia we have it pretty good. Despite the fact we are fighting and will most likely have to continue to fight for someone so simple as the right to marry the person you love, regardless of their gender, I am very well aware that this issue goes further and deeper then something so simple as marriage equality.
In my country, you won’t be persecuted for what your sexual preference is. You won’t be locked up for simply loving another person. You won’t be killed for it. Our government won’t label you as someone who is not the same as a straight person, who is not the same nor deserves to be treated the same.
These are however, very much a reality in other places around the world.
The fight for equality, on both a local and international scale, is far, far, far from over.
So, to end this post on a positive note, I’m going to finish with a story. I read this a long time ago, and as soppy as it sounds, I still think about it a lot. I guess, and the degree of sap going on here is literally making me squirm as I write this, but I guess it gives me hope that one day, things just might be okay.
I’m going to go vomit in a bucket now. Enjoy the story.
A man was walking along the beach on day at low tide. As the water had receded, hundreds of thousands of starfish had been washed up on the beach, and were beginning to dry out and die in the sun.
As he walked on, he saw in the distance a girl walking along the sand towards him. As she walked, she picked up the starfish, one by one, and tossed them back into the ocean. He watched her, and as they drew closer, called out.
“Silly girl,” he said. “You can’t possibly save all these starfish.”
The girl looked up at him.
“I know,” she responded. “But I can save this one.” Splash. “And this one.” Splash. “And this one.” Splash. “And this one…”
Have a nice day.