I received my letter yesterday from the Australian Bureau of Statistics asking if I wanted to see the marriage law reformed to include same-sex couples and I was finally allowed the opportunity to draw one big, delicious tick in the "Yes" box before posting it off this morning. A week ago I marched with over 30,000 other Sydney-siders in anticipation of that moment, rallying to encourage others to do the same, to vote "Yes", to acknowledge that "Love is Love", and to assert that the LGBTQI members of our community deserve the same respect and legal recognition that we grant heterosexual couples. The march was a joyful, elating experience; I chanted along with a chorus led by one over-zealous seven-year-old, I wore my red wide-leg backless jumpsuit (which is a very important piece of apparel and unquestionably set the day up for a win), and we laughed in one roaring throng at the follies of our politicians. There was frustration but there was no contempt, we danced and we wore silly outfits and we walked in a rainbow torrent for something wonderful and fundamental and progressive.
The march wasn't a day for anger, or spite, for kicking and screaming – but today just might be.
I didn't expect that I would feel much of anything when I sealed that envelope but I have found myself, to be entirely frank, seething at the wretched nature of the whole thing. I recognise that anger probably isn't a productive response in this context, that perhaps we should just continue shouting "Yes!" until our lungs hurt but today I basically want to sit down and ask, "Fucking why?" Why on Earth has it come to this?
For a start, I swear to God, I cannot remember the last time that I posted a letter. I am quite sure that if I have posted a letter in the past decade, it was performed ironically in a Death-Cab-For-Cutie era when we all longed desperately for 1960s sensibilities and maybe I thought it would be romantic. Other than that or sending anonymous hate mail to Kyle Sandilands, I simply can not comprehend a justifiable reason why I should be forced to visit a physical postbox with an envelope that I have been forced to seal with my physical saliva.
I had a brief moment of panic after I slipped my vote through the mouth of that largely-defunct red tin box where I wondered if some of them were just not in use anymore, perhaps due to be removed and I wasn't exactly educated on the postal box system. Do they take postboxes out of circulation? Mine had graffiti on it – does that affect my vote? If this was a poll conducted online, the "Yes" camp wouldn't even be forced to take to the streets, we'd post the link on Facebook, settle back into our blogs of cooking gifs and watch the nation change from the comfort of our beds. Better yet, put the goddam thing on Snapchat so it is completely incomprehensible to the greasy paws of aged conservatives, leave it up to the political awareness and gender fluidity of young millennials pressing into their first years of tertiary sexual experimentation and putting puppy filters on their faces while they disseminate nudes to a gender-indiscriminate list of contacts. Then we'd really have this in the bag.
But this isn't really about the physical act of voting – I mean, it is in a sense, because ticking a box with a ballpoint to mark my support for the equal treatment of other humans in the eyes of the law does feel somewhat fucking icky but it's so much more than that.
I'm angry because sending the nation to vote voluntarily on such a remarkably important issue feels like a patronising and palsy gesture at democracy. It feels like when you teach a golden retriever to fetch the newspaper from the driveway; we're all excited and cute, mobilised by feeling useful but at the end of the day, THIS IS NOT REALLY OUR JOB. This is the Government's job and they know it's wrong to make us do it but they also recognise that if they alienate the far right of the Liberal party, the whole shebang will crumble harder and faster than a hard, fast crumbling thing. So they're going out to the driveway at 5am and straight lobbing that newspaper down the street before bolting back into the house so we have to work really hard for it.
And can I just say, BUGGER OFF Malcolm Turnbull for coming out in support of the "Yes" campaign on one hand whilst insisting on the plebiscite with the other. If you straddled the fence any harder, you'd render yourself infertile.
I'm angry because on Sunday in the inner city we all looked to the sky and saw a slogan being written by some tiny bastard aeroplane that, in a few swift moments, managed to emotionally destroy every LGBTQI individual who was really just out for brunch and sunshine. I am angry that Sunday morning is being politicised when it should really be exclusively about croissants. I am also angry that sky-writing has been co-opted by the far right to further marginalise LGBTQI people when, in some distant idyllic past, it was an activity reserved exclusively for men pulling godawful proposals out of their butts and expensive practical jokes.
I'm angry because the bigoted cloud words came in the wake of Cory Bernardi framing the launch official "No" campaign as though marriage equality is a bid to quash freedom of speech and corrupt the moral fabric of Australia. The 'It's Okay to Say No' slogan is some self-victimising bullshit to position the "Yes" campaign as a molesting tide of SJW–liberal–leftards out to pervert society and probably rub some childrens' faces in smut while we're at it (by the by, if you're looking for the institution that has most infamously scarred Australia's children, don't look to the bloody Pride Rainbow, maybe try drawing your attention to a certain religious institution headed by a figure whose title literally rhymes with "Grope").
I'm angry because these reactionary fucknuts keep attempting to intellectualise this debate because they don't have the balls to just stand up and say what they feel in truth, which is: "I don't know, I guess gay people just make me funny in my stomach."
Honestly, I'm angry because I'm scared. I'm scared our "Yes" will not win. This is a decisive moment in our history and it comes in amidst a tide of violent partisanship. I am hoping against hope that this is a moment we can look back on in a decade and say, "Well, that was fucking embarrassing." I dread to think of where we'll be if we have to look back on the plebiscite and say, "Yes, that was where it started."
So yes, today is a day to be angry. And I think we all have the right to be for just a moment in this wild, deafening clusterfuck that we call the march to marriage equality. Yes we should all smile, and love, and support one another, and yes we should fucking vote "Yes". I just also think we've all very much earned the right to go out to our back-gardens, break a few terracotta pots and scream at nothing in particular for a while. Because this is a no-good rotten thing and I'm sick of seeing vulnerable people put in the line of fire again and again just for who they happen to love.