I don't even know what to use as a heading for something so integral and so baffling to me. After watching Sally Rugg's speech (here) at the Equal Love Rally for marriage equality, I got thinking about the completely avoidable tragedy that people in love, cannot marry under the law here in Australia.
It is backwards, it's out-dated and it's just ridiculous. To me, it's ridiculous but to those same sex couples out there, it's incredibly painful. Incredibly disheartening. Incredibly gutting. She spoke of two very integral elders of the LGBTIQ community, Peter de Waal and Peter Bonsall-Boone aka "Bon", have been integral at fighting to have homosexuality removed as a mental illness and as a crime. Bon died yesterday.
As a straight person, I could go and get married...tomorrow. There is a TV show where contestants get married on their first date. What an absolute kick in the guts to those like Bon and Peter - that have been in love for 50 years - forever separated by Bon's passing, without having the comfort and ability to have been wed.
It's a joke. A very unfunny, discriminatory, disgraceful joke. I personally choose not to marry because to me, it's evidently more of a political process than of one of love. As Sally Rugg said, love isn't enough. It wasn't enough for Bon and Peter. It's not enough to love someone. It's not enough for the heterosexuals to just stand by in blissful ignorance while the LGBTIQ community suffers, gets cast aside and dismissed as irrelevant.
I will admit firsthand, that I have been passive and inactive in the face of the plight of the LGBTIQ community, not at all without empathy or concern but definitely less involved in something that has the potential to be swayed by action. We, as straight people who have the right to do something so ingrained in our society as to wed one another, have a voice. We have the potential to start that conversation. Because even indirectly, without it actually affecting us as individuals, it affects us as a community which infiltrates us as a whole. We may not be gay or transgender or have a different sexual orientation or gender identity, but we are surrounded by those that are. It is our responsibility as human beings to join the good fight, the fight for love.
It's never been more apparent to me, this unfair struggle, than since I became a parent. My privileged eyes have been opened wide to the struggles of parents, particularly gay parents. I had the honour of meeting a lovely same-sex couple, Alee-Jane and Carly who conceived their son Oakland via IVF. Watching their story from afar prior to meeting them and seeing the way they were treated having a mixed race son, made my jaw drop in utter shock. The lengths they have had to go to, the conversations they have been forced to have, the completely inappropriate words that have been cast towards them on their journey as parents, disgusts me.
Carly is phenomenal. She is fierce like a lion, but comes across timid and slightly shy. Alee, also, seems shy and a bit reserved, but once they realise I am genuinely interested in their journey from a mother's point of view and that of a friend, they open up and share some of their story with me.
Not only has Carly had to defend her choice of an African American donor (given that most Australian donors stipulate their deposit is not to go to a same sex couple), she has had to endure the pain and heartache of endometriosis and infertility. She has suffered infant loss, miscarrying a child she fought so hard, and so long for. She has endured judgement, invasive questions from strangers and has been subject to the wrath of keyboard warriors and internet trolls worldwide. She is one of the most active parents I have met, taking her son to sensory play classes, a wonderful obstacle course backyard and a chicken coop to teach Oakland about sustainable living and caring for animals.
Alee Jane works unimaginable, back-breaking hours as a tattoo artist on the Gold Coast. She works extremely hard, going well over the hours she is actually paid for to provide people with unique and original tattoos. She becomes animated and effervescent when she talks of her plans for Carly for Mother's Day and her son's upcoming second birthday party where she's taking all her loved ones on a cruise to celebrate. Alee Jane has collaborations in the works for Trans Rights and may have something in the pipeline with us, Modn Apparel, in the very near future (watch this space).
Carly gives her full heart into raising Oakland while managing all of Alee Jane's bookings, blogging for other parenting websites as well as her own raw, honest and hilarious blog, Perils of a Passable Parent. She speaks engagingly of her journey to motherhood, something so relatable but rarely portrayed warts and all.
Seeing Alee and Carly with their sweet son Oakland was an experience that felt intimate, and honorary. I could not think of a more fitting family for my 'HEARTS NOT PARTS' campaign. Whether you are infertile, or don't possess the required organs to conceive a child, doesn't define your ability to be a parent. Alee Jane, though not blood related, is every bit as much of Oakland's mother as is Carly, who carried him in her womb.
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