Would Same – Sex Marriage Be A Start?

I’m a real scatter – brain when it comes to the same – sex marriage debate, so bear with me if you can.

I read this article that was linked on the Christian Democratic Party website before. Now of course, the CDP vocally support the traditional definition of marriage. No surprise. This article, though isn’t written by any member or supporter of the party, but Serena Ryan, a broadcaster who hosts the LGBTQ station The Standard on Omni Radio and Radio.net. Although she says that she supports same – sex marriage, Ryan argues that that’s not the main issue surrounding LGBT equality. Issues she raised included:

  • LGBTQ youth homelessness
  • Mental illness in the LGBTQ community
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • LGBT domestic violence
  • Lack of services equipped to assisting LGBT people

Ryan’s right. The legalising of same – sex marriage won’t solve these issues. I’d also add a few others, adding the “plus” of LGBTQ+ into the equation. Same – sex marriage alone won’t:

  • Eradicate bi – erasure and bi – phobia
  • Won’t prevent transphobia
  • Won’t prevent ignorance toward the asexual community
  • Won’t prevent the coercion and harassment faced by members of the asexual community or even other members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Won’t end the negative stereotypes faced by members of the LGBTQ+
  • Won’t prevent discrimination WITHIN the LGBTQ+

So, let’s face it, if the plebiscite in Australia went through and the Government (whoever won the next election), and they stuck to their promise and same – sex marriage was legalised, it wouldn’t fix all the struggles faced within the LGBTQ+ community. However, I’ve got to say, I can see merit with the pro same – sex marriage debate. Same – sex marriage would make same – sex couples equal in the eyes of the law. Same – sex couples will be able to make their commitment public, front of family and friends (well, hopefully). Is it a stretch to say that the legalisation of same – sex marriage may put issues such as same – sex coupled domestic violence out of the shadows? If same – sex marriage was legalised and made public, willl it make mental health organisations more likely to brush up on their skills and expertise in dealing with LGBTQ+ properly? I don’t know, these are just my thoughts.

What do you think? Would the legalisation of same – sex marriage be the start of dealing with other issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community?

Special Pride AFL Game?

I heard last night that AFL’s St. Kilda Football Club (a.k.a. the Saints), have put in a request to have a “Gay Pride” round when they play against Sydney Swans. Melbourne’s The Age the St. Kilda Football Club had lobbied league bosses to play the round to stand for equality and fight against homophobia. This was inspired by Jason Ball, the first openly gay footballer. His team, the Yarra Glen. have played such games, where they give out a rainbow coloured trophy, for the past two years.

When I first heard about this on 2GB last night, to be honest, I was underwhelmed. Usually when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, I’m usually choking back tears until they roll down my cheeks. But last night, nothing. Well, nothing but maybe a bit of scepticism. Look, I’ve argued before that because of the AFL’s national reputation and how it’s a cultural phenomenon in Australia, that players and codes standing up for social issues like racism and Aboriginal recognition (e.g. the “Reconciliation Round”), plus it’s condemnation of violence against women is understandable. But such a divisive issue such as gay marriage? The caller who bought this to the attention to Andrew Bolt and Steve Price on 2GB last night who raised the topic and said that he didn’t need “education” or be “lectured to” at an AFL game.

Here is where I guess I worry. I worry that these pushes of such strong political issues, only alienates people. I fear that people, out of being so fatigued, will eventually turn a blind eye to LGBTQ+ issues (if they haven’t already). I fear that same – sex marriage opponents (some of them anyway), will finally spit it. And when all hell has broken loose, the people who are just fatigued by the whole same – sex marriage debate, even if they aren’t necessarily opponents, will give up the fight to combat issues facing the LGBTQ+ community such as suicide, bullying, harassment, being kicked out of home (for young people), etc.

All I’m saying is, give people breathing space. For platforms like AFL or NRL, don’t alienate supporters. Just back off and give people a chance to enjoy the game without any politics or sociology being thrown around. I mean, football is usually on Friday night or the weekend anyway. Isn’t that for a reason?

I’d be falling over if I saw football players having a purple, grey white and black trophy.

What do you think of St. Kilda’s decision next year? Too far or do you agree with it?

My Experience Speaking About Asexuality On Social Media

Let me say this from the outset, I know that for many LGBT+ people worldwide, coming out can be downright dangerous. Many LGBT+ people can face harassment, bullying, family abandonment, ‘corrective’ rape, spiritual abuse, etc. I get that and in no means minimising that because for too many people it is still a dark reality.

Having said that, for the past couple of months, this week in particular, I’ve posted a fair bit of asexuality awareness pictures from groups and pages and the response I’ve received has been all positive. I’m really, really pleasantly surprised about that. I’ve even posted one on coming out as a member of the LGBT+ community

B.                                              image

For those who can’t read the text, it says:

You don’t come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, ps sexual, transgender, etc. you come out as yourself.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m super, super lucky with the friends and family I have. That’s not to say that posting all this stuff or actually writing/ talking about asexuality and LGBT+ topics in general haven’t made ms nervous. The voice inside my head hasn’t always been positive (quite the opposite actually). Will the nerves stay away complete,y? Probably not. But it has given me the courage to be more open and honest about asexuality and related topics. I’m willing to answer (reasonable) questions if need be.

I’m confident that asexuality awareness is going in the right direction.

I may may be a rare case. Have you posted anything on social media about asexuality and/ or LGBT+ issues? If so, what’s been your experience?

Coming Out… To Yourself

Another post about ‘coming out’ to probably the most important person… yourself.

“Coming out” is a choice faced by the LGBT+ community; including asexual people. The average age for young people to come out as gay is 17 according to “The Guardian; way younger than pre – Stonewall Riots in 1969.

For asexual people, the main reason for not coming out young is not persecution, necessarily, but just not knowing that asexuality exists for the person’s adolescent and adult life. Internet forums and information platforms, such as Asexuality Visibility and Education Network. (better known as it’s acronym AVEN), have given tech – savvy young people information that may (or most likely), not have been available for older asexual people when they were younger, and hence, they didn’t know about asexuality, and despite probably feeling “different” for most of their lives, they lived traditional “sexual” lives anyway (marriage, etc), probably thinking that there was something “wrong” with them.

Knowing the terminology is one thing. Admitting to yourself that you are asexual, or even your romantic orientation, is another. In the book, asexual vlogger, author and advocate Julie Sondra Decker (also known by her YouTube pseudonym Swanky Ivy), described that while many asexual people are relieved when they find out a term for what they’re feeling, they can also go through a period of sadness and grief as well. As I’ve said before, it can really throw you off. It did to me. All of a sudden, things aren’t certain any more. Coming out as asexual when your in a relationship can seriously change the relationship, or break it up. For a lot of younger people, when they “come out” as asexual, they’re often not believed by family and friends.

There is something that happens way before that, and it’s probably the most important part of the process… coming out to yourself. This can be hard. It can be scary. It can be hard to accept, but it’s the most important part of the process. I truly believe you can only fake something like that for so long before it wrecks you. Even if you decide that there’s no need to come out to friends, family, co – workers, etc, I truly believe that coming to terms with it yourself is really important. Accepting yourself is really important. Not constantly kidding yourself that you’re something that you’re not is, in my view, is crucial. Being authentically yourself, and admitting the truth to yourself can be very liberating and psychologically and emotionally beneficial.

So please, whether you decide that it’s not one’s business and you don’t feel the need to come out to others, give yourself the care to come out and accept yourself. Living a lie is no way to live.

On “Coming Out”

A few days ago, (Monday apparently), it was “Coming Out Day”. It’s a different experience for everybody, I think, even though there probably are somewhat common themes that connect each person, even though they are major differences.

For me personally, I think it’s important to “come out” to yourself first and foremost. And this can be, quite frankly, hard, especially when your self – esteem is low anyway. Of course, with coming out to others, personal safety has to be, unfortunately, a consideration for much of the LGBTQ+ community. Data from both the U.S. and Australia do seem to suggest that LGBT+ youth experience a higher rate of homelessness compared to the general population (some stats I’ve looked at suggest that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT+, even though statistically, they are only about 2 – 10% of the population (5 maybe more accurate).

Talking about safety, it’s not just safety from parents and peers that LGBT people have to think about, but safety from government persecution, even execution. Currently, 79 countries still criminalise homosexuality; apparently, if you add “anti – propaganda” laws, such as in Russia, the number is 79 – 81; eight where gays or people involved in same – sex relations face the risk of execution. Frankly, this issue isn’t talked about enough in the West, (apart from the introduction to Russia’s “anti – propaganda” laws in 2013. Still, even that was brief. My point is, that still, in too many countries and provinces, being LGBT+ runs the risk of political persecution; in some cases that can be quite deadly. Even in countries like Russia where there isn’t a death penalty for gays, there have been reports of gays being tortured.

Another issue that I think is not talked about, even in discussion of LGBT+ issues is coming out later. According to American Psychological Association, most people realise they’re sexual attractions http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.pdf in their teens. However, there are people who do realise they’re sexual attraction later. In this month’s issue of Marie Clare, there was an article (or a small – side column), that featured a woman in her early thirties (33), who didn’t desire the same – sex until she was in her late 20’s, after she’d been married for three years (I think) and had been in a relationship with a man for four more years. How is “coming out” to those people? Is it somehow more complicated? I can sort of answer that (or offer my own perspective). I didn’t suspect I was even different in terms of my sexuality until I was 16, despite the fact that many stats say that 15 is the average age where people realise who they are. It wasn’t until I was nearly 21 when I came to a point where I identified as asexual (and there’s more that have happened after that, but I won’t go on). Now, I’m not one of those people of the LGBT+ community that other people (family, friends, etc), could realise I was “different” and therefore, most likely not straight. As a kid, I played with “girl’s” toys, Until i was about 16 or so, I was very feminine in how I dressed and until 16, just assumed I would fall in love (with a man), get married and have children. When I finally came to the conclusion that I was asexual, quite frankly, it made conversations about marriage, relationships, etc harder when they came up.

There have also been reports of women, who have previously been in relationships/ marriages with men who later find out that they’ve fallen in love with other women. Most of these women that I’m talking about, (from what I’ve heard/ read) do not identify as bisexual and didn’t identify as lesbian before their current relationship/ attractions. I’ve often wondered how coming out is for them. Has anybody had that experience? If you like, you can write about your own experiences in the comments section if you like.