Been in the Sydney burbs house sitting and with added cat and fish feeding duties which is not all that exciting and so last Sunday I made an effort and went into the city hoping to get some good pictures at a ‘Vote Yes’ march. That been of course the same-gender marriage thing again. I took a few hundred pictures most of which are useless as I anticipated they would be given the location (between very boring high rise buildings) and time of day (excessive contrast between sunlit and shaded areas) but was hoping the LGBTQI event might create opportunities for some good human interest pictures. That didn’t work out all that well either because for the greater part the marchers were all white middle class young adults with a few bringing along the kids. Not sure the march would have convinced a single ‘No’ voter to vote ‘Yes’ if that was the intention because where it failed was in not putting forward a reason why a person who believes marriage is between a man and a woman should change their voting intentions. Stamping your foot and screaming ‘Not Fair!’ is not a valid argument as many children find out when they try it on their parents.
I’ve been over this same-gender marriage thing more than enough already and will maybe just post some pictures when I get around to sorting and processing what is worth salvaging but there is one I think speaks in support of Ginsberg’s piece I published here recently in which he argues amongst other things for the need to deal with the sexual rights of teenagers. Something the mainstream LGBTQI have run away from out of fear of rejection by the conservative hetero majority. I took the picture below in a railway station as I waited for the train back to the suburbs. I had to be quick because the kid frequently repositioned the sign between bouts of whatever he was doing on his phone and therefore the less than perfect quality of the snap shot.
We understand from what he has written on his placard that he is thirteen and wishes to marry a male — and edit, my flatmate set me straight on who this Chris is, an actor apparently, but the point remains — end of edit. Anyway, there you have it, out in the open that young teenagers make choices, identify as gay and fall in love. None of this can be swept back under the carpet which means that limitations on what can be said in debate, written or represented in the visual arts is useless and this all encompassing taboo is even dangerous given that youth have discovered – and I have this from sources and NOT from my own research – other platforms where their expressions of sexual desire are, let’s say, welcomed and eagerly encouraged.
Of course legislation is needed but by itself it will not resolve this issue. We also need intelligent and informed discussion and up-to-date sex education. I hear already those who would say that a strict environment in which kids are ‘kept innocent’ is the way to deal with what they would describe as sexual promiscuity in children and to them I would reply that research carried out by a NYT journalist some years ago found that half of all boys working as under-age male prostitutes in New York are from fundamentalist Christian families. Makes sense – in a conservative religious family a same-gender-attracted child quickly learns that receiving love from those he or she loves depends on he or she accepting to self-hate in silence and isolation. They will seek out their kind but are likely to do so in a self-destructive way because that is how they have learned to express and interact with their sexuality. I can remember myself growing up under those circumstances and thinking back it’s a miracle I survived to adulthood. I used to fantasize about been able to bring a boyfriend home and receive the same approving reception as I did if I came home with a girl. I liked girls but most often the relationship failed because of my lack of physical interest. I could manage a half-decent performance – I think – but only when drunk and at a time when I was still young enough to be less fussy about what was in the bed.
OK – blabbered on a bit more than planned but there is just one final thing I want to add and it’s the reason why I will vote ‘Yes’ in this postal plebiscite despite as all who come here know, having reservations based on the possibility of a backlash caused by a lack of clarity on issues such as the rights of the child in same-gender families and lack of discussion about how all this will change the institution of marriage. A major concern of those intending to vote ‘No’.
With regard to the institution, same-gender marriage will – possibly – reshape marriage into an institution based on the celebration of love between two equals and not on child raising and property. Same-gender marriage presents an opportunity for heteros to also rethink their marriages, most of which fail, and therefore same-gender marriage could benefit all of society.
The second reason for my ‘Yes’ vote is that as same-gender-attracted people we have fought and won many battles and now that we have started this one, we can’t afford for the sake of younger gays like the boy in the picture, to lose it. Even if I still think it is strategically risky and it might have been a better idea to win this debate in factory lunchrooms and by the water bubbler of city offices before asking the public for a decision. The fact of homosexuals having to ask the heteros for their approval also doesn’t sit comfortably with me. Anyway – blessings to all and vote with your heart.