We recently asked our Facebook Followers if they had received their Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote. Most people in Lane Cove have not received the form, but many are waiting for it and from the comments on the page there are quite a few people who want to vote YES. Some people have even decorated their houses, mailboxes and cars with the rainbow flag.
Others have taken a more personal approach. Matthew lives in Riverview and reached out to his Neighbours with the following letter.
My name is Matthew and I’m one of your neighbours. I’m 25, and I had the fortune of growing up in this area. I am also a brother, friend, partner, grandson and everything else that comes with being part of an amazing community and family. I pay taxes & work in student welfare at a local university. I also happen to be gay, and legally, I’m not seen as equal to you.
As you may be aware, soon you and every other Australian will be getting a survey in the mail asking you a simple question; should same sex marriage be allowed in Australia? What’s driven me to write to you is the amount of hateful, incredibly untrue and unjustifiable messages being pushed by some media outlets and lobby groups, the result of which being that I can see every day the pain caused to my family, friends and community.
Whilst I would never tell you how to think or feel, I would like to share my experience with you and hope that I can show you why a YES vote will help me and countless fellow Australians that were born this way, both now and in the future.
Marriage to some is seen as very trivial; but being denied it is a big deal. Myself and my boyfriend Daniel, who I consider my soulmate and the kindest, most beautiful and most gentle person I have ever met, cannot show our commitment to each other through marriage, and I hope one day I will be able to ask him to spend the rest of our lives together. I love him as much as I think any human can love another, and I find it hard that I have to justify that to anybody else, when straight couples have the freedom to choose.
People arguing for ‘traditional’ marriage are arguing for something that was not the same even decades ago. Recent changes to the Marriage Act include no fault divorce, and in 2004, the Howard Government changed the act (without a plebiscite or postal survey) for marriage to be defined as strictly between a man and woman.
Whilst things have improved greatly over the years, still it can be difficult. The ‘coming out’ process never ends – you are always wondering if it’s okay to be yourself at work, in public, around family. I hope you will never have experiences such as having to explain ‘no, we aren’t brothers’ whenever you check in to a hotel, having to laugh along and pretend that it’s okay when someone asks about your ‘girlfriend’ out of fear of their response, or having to fight to prove you’re in a relationship with your partner to visit them when they’re in hospital. Saying ‘yes’ means these things will be a little bit easier, and over time I hope that nobody will have to be afraid to be themselves.
An experience that will always haunt me is the passing of my younger sister’s best friend, in 2008. He was 13 and a beautiful, bright kid whose smile lit up every room he was in. He was gay, and after years of bullying by peers and being in a family that were not accepting, he took his own life. There is no way that this will ever be okay. Whilst I will always wonder if there was more I could have done to help him personally, I also wonder that if we were part of a more tolerant and equal society, if he saw himself as equal and if his community had been there to support him, such a tragedy never would have happened. I have seen the devastation that such a loss causes and I truly hope that nobody will have to go through what he did ever again. Your yes vote will help this happen.
I am always happy to talk over beers and to meet new friends and neighbours, so if you’d like to discuss this, get more info, or just say hello, please feel free to email me. Please remember to vote and post your survey, and I hope that you to vote with compassion and empathy. Let’s work together to make society a more equal place for everybody.
Matthew told ITC that since dropping this letter into his neighbour’s mailboxes, he has received some lovely words of encouragement back from his neighbours. One neighbour wrote:
“Hi Matthew, Thanks for your letter we got in the mail today. I could write paragraph after paragraph in reply but I won’t. I will be voting YES and I assume my husband will as well. I have young children and I have never explained to them the difference between gay and straight because I don’t see a reason to do so, people are people. I have many friends that are in relationships that are female/female or male/male and to me they are simply ‘relationships’ and need no further explanation – that is what I want my kids to grow up with – normal. Just like if we are going to have a playdate with a school friend I never prep my girls about whether the parents are Catholic or Muslim, or black or white, or Asian or Anglo – we are all people. Having said that, when I took my kids to visit my friends at their male only, clothing optional B&B that did require some discussion prior, lol. But, neither of my kids questioned where a ‘wife’ was. Intolerance, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and lots of other phobias are taught, not bred. The recent events around the Lane Cove play Holding the Man were disgusting. I like the think it wasn’t Lane Cove locals that slashed the tyres …. When the votes are counted and the verdict is YES, I shall raise a glass and be grateful that we don’t live in a country full of total dickheads.”
We don’t want people to think that the recent events in Lane Cove around a play that dealt with a gay relationship is the norm. It is nice to think that your kids are growing up in an area that does not discriminate.
Local Natalie Panzarino has been handing out free Love is Love badges in the plaza and people have been wearing them proudly.
Where Can I find a Letterbox?
Once you have completed your Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote you need to put it in a reply paid envelope and post it. Not many of us post letters anymore so you may not know where your closest mail box is (which is convenient if you can’t get to the local post office). You can find out your nearest location here.
Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]
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