This week I went to my local early-polling station to vote and saw my name on the Senate ballot paper. I have to admit, it was a buzz. Just under three years ago my friend, Jason, told me he wanted to start a political party. I laughed. A lot. Crazy, I said. Impossible.
Clearly, I was wrong.
There’s a lot riding on this election for me and my family, and certainly for the LGBTIQ community more broadly – but whatever happens on July 2nd – this journey has been extraordinary and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I have met the most remarkable people and witnessed things that will stay with me forever.
On IDAHOBIT day this year, Michelle, a six foot, three trans woman gave a speech to a room full of senior AFL officials; really, it’s hard to imagine a more straight, white, male audience. Michelle’s speech was clever and funny, challenging, but not threatening, and perfectly pitched. The audience didn’t quite know what had hit them and I am absolutely sure they left wiser and more understanding than they arrived.
Late last year, a friend asked me to address a group he was facilitating for LGBTIQ Christians who had struggled with faith and sexuality. Many of the people there were very young and their stories were harrowing. They were bold and brave and fighting back, but by the end of the evening, I was almost overwhelmed by the sense of sadness in the room. You can’t legislate against this sort of thing and change is a long battle, hard fought.
Then there was the awesome young Sarah, who sat in my office and shared her experience of transitioning at school. Sarah had the most remarkable self-awareness and I was blown away by her courage and self-possession. I couldn’t help thinking how little I knew about myself – or anything much at all – at her age. When she’s older, she told me, she wanted to be an advocate for her community, but at sixteen she already is.
In March, I sat in the studio audience of Q&A listening to the trans community being trashed on national TV by Lyle Shelton and his friends. There were trans people in the audience desperate to speak and challenge the misinformation that was being aired, but they never got the chance. The whole thing was ugly and harmful and wrong.
And when the controversy over the Safe Schools Coalition erupted, Jim, the Principal of an Independent Anglican school, spoke publicly in support of the Safe Schools Coalition. He shared positive stories on Radio National and wrote an opinion piece for the ABC’s The Drum about how his school had benefited from being part of Safe Schools. I was reminded again that sometimes support comes from places you least expect.
But the best part of this journey for me was undoubtedly sitting around my dining table once a month with a group of smart, experienced advocates plotting how to change the world. Whatever happens on Saturday I’m inordinately proud of everyone who’s sat around that table and what we’ve achieved in the last three years. And it is a cliché, but we couldn’t have done it without you. So Thank you to all our members, friends, allies and supporters; to everyone who came to an event, volunteered, donated, liked, shared, or tweeted. And thanks to Sarah – for everything.
So here’s my plug. The number crunching boffins say that one Senate seat in Victoria will likely be won by an independent or micro party candidate. That means you can vote for me and Jason knowing that you will not be bumping a Greens, Labor or Liberal candidate. We will look like this on your ballot paper: Remember ‘X marks the spot’.
And if you’re still not sure about the new Senate voting rules, this should help.
And this two minute clip ‘Think of the Children’ is why I so dread a plebiscite on marriage equality.
Finally, this was sent to Scout (11 years old) by her best friend Greta. (EEGREK is an uncle)
What more can I say?!
Have a great election day!
Deputy Leader, Australian Equality Party