The fight for equality is ongoing, by Harry Cook

One of the biggest misconceptions about achieving marriage equality was that we now live in an equal society.
Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true that marriage equality at last brought gay people up to par in terms of legal recognition for marriage next to our straight peers, the fight is far from over if we want to achieve a more equal and fairer Australia.

Gay men and women have achieved great leaps and bounds over the years in our fight for equality, however, I feel that more often than not we forget the other letters of the acronym. Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex Australians need to know that we fight as one. The buck doesn’t stop just because we have got our rights.

Trans youth are 79.7% more likely to self-harm, 48.1% more likely to attempt suicide, 74.6% likely to experience depression and 72.2% likely to experience anxiety.

We are far from finished.

I am completely aware at how entrenched shame is within me. While I have fought hard to remove a lot of it, I am able to recognise that the shame I have learnt from society is like a poison that has seeped into my bones. It’s something I will quite possibly be fighting to rid myself of for the rest of my life. This is also why I fight so hard against ignorance. I want the next generation of queer people and the generation after that to grow up without feeling wrong, without hating themselves.

I grew up in a society that taught me to hate myself before I even knew myself.

While things are much better for queer youth than they were when I was growing up, we are so incredibly far from acceptance. As a community we need to work together for every letter in our acronym. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and every other colour under the rainbow needs to feel the full force of our support and acceptance. When one of us falls, we all fall.

It’s 2018 and I still fear holding my husband’s hand in public.

Still.

I still hold shame in myself and the fear of ignorance.

We have got to keep fighting.

Until attitudes change, and ignorance is abolished and replaced with knowledge, we cannot slow down.
Until trans people can feel safe and accepted, we cannot stop fighting.
Until people realise that we are all just humans, desperately trying to get along in life, we cannot give up.
Until I can enjoy the simple act of holding my husband’s hand in public without the very real fear of getting physically assaulted, we have much more left to do.

We have so much more left to do.

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