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Diversity and Inclusion

Marriage equality will make us feel safer, more included

Today I’m a step closer to being able to call my wife my wife!

Earlier this year my father-in-law Professor Graeme Stewart, AO, stated in his wedding speech to my wife and I: “As a physician and scientist I know that same sex attraction is a simple biological variant. One doesn’t choose it any more than one chooses one’s blood group or to be tall or short or to be right or left-handed. It just happens.”

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Tara (right) and her wife Jess on their wedding day in Byron Bay. 

Being gay is not a lifestyle I chose, it is who I am. My wife and I have had to create a world within society to feel like we belong. We have created a gay friendly bubble to protect ourselves from outside prejudice that might exist. Whenever we choose to leave our bubble we have to assess how ‘safe’ an area or situation is, and we change simple behaviours accordingly, we often have to be conscious of how we address each other, and how we show affection to each other.

Unfortunately this is the way most LGBTQI people have to live in modern society to protect themselves and avoid potential harm and unwanted attention. The danger however of living like this, restricting your social circles, and retreating into gay friendly communities is you can forget the reality that exists in the ‘real world’, you forget about the discrimination that members of the LGBTQI community face who live under different circumstances.

What this “yes” result means for the gay community is acceptance. Knowing that the majority of Australians agree with same sex marriage makes us feel safer, more included, and we feel less segregated, and most importantly we can openly celebrate our love, commitment and relationships with our family and friends like the rest of the Australian population.

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I hope one day (soon!) to unashamedly, call my wife my wife, without having to awkwardly explain our marriage is legal in the state of Hawaii and every country that has legalised gay marriage, and not have to feel ashamed and accept sympathy glances when we attend our friends weddings and the words ‘marriage is between a man and a women with exclusion of all others’ are read aloud.

Today, the survey results show most Australians recognise the LGBTQI community as equal, and now we are just simply...normal.