Last week, Australian comedian and out lesbian Hannah Gadsby penned a heart-breakingly honest post on her Facebook page, sharing her struggle with emotional and psychological issues that are a direct result of witnessing the Tasmanian debate on legalising homosexuality in the 1990’s. Hannah spoke of her fears that a marriage equality plebiscite will cause similar harm to the young LGBTI Australians who will witness the hate.
“I learnt how to close myself off and rot quietly in self-hatred. I learnt this because I learnt that I was subhuman during a debate where only the most horrible voices and ideas were amplified by the media. These voices also gave permission for others to tell me that I was less than them, with looks, words and on one occasion, violence.” Hannah wrote in the post. On Monday night, Carrie and Waleed and Steve on Channel 10’s The Project interviewed Senator Penny Wong on her concerns about a plebiscite. They spoke over her, ignored her points and even offered a lecture on the path to achieving marriage equality in this country. The straight people lecturing the lesbian. It was a breathtakingly ignorant and arrogant display.
The following night, in the face of intense social media criticism over their treatment of Senator Wong, Carrie and Waleed allowed Christopher Pyne to speak unchallenged about the plebiscite as the only way forward for marriage equality. We all know this is completely untrue. As Penny Wong pointed out the night before, “remember that the conservatives in the Coalition have made clear even if a plebiscite were to succeed they wouldn’t vote for marriage equality anyway.” The Liberal Party are framing the argument for a plebiscite as being about everyone’s right to a say about this massive social change. But we all know a plebiscite is about Tony Abbott and the conservatives in the Liberal Party trying to prevent marriage equality becoming a reality. We also know that human rights should not be decided by a public opinion poll. The Liberal Party do not care about the LGBTI community. If they did, the marriage equality issue would be resolved quickly in parliament. The Liberals are actively trying to marginalize the LGBTI community in the plebiscite debate and on Monday night the team at The Project helped them to do it. Marriage Equality is about the LGBTI community. Any debate about the process undertaken to achieve equality needs to be focused on the real harm that mental health experts are saying a plebiscite will do to real people, especially young people. As Hannah wrote about marriage equality opponents, “They might not have the numbers but they will no doubt be handed a megaphone in the name of entertainment. But this kind of entertainment will not only ruin young lives… It will end some of them.”