Did you know today is Blog Action Day? Join bloggers from around the world and write a post about what inequality means to you. Have you ever encountered it in your daily life?
Inequality is, unfortunately, something I have had to endure pretty much my entire life, and it sucks.
As a kid I was always picked last for team activities or sports, and so because there was always an odd number, I’d always be the one who had to sit out. I never got a chance to be a captain – that was always the given to the really popular kids.
I was always the one who was singled out in class whether it was for talking or not finishing a task, despite the others doing the exact same thing. I was even singled out for not being a Catholic – I had the option of either sitting quietly and participating in the mandatory ‘scripture classes’ which were somehow part of our public-school education, OR I could go and clean blackboard dusters / pick up rubbish / tidy the sports store room etc. basically, punishment for not being religious.
Then as I got older, I realised I was even more different, and as a result, I was constantly bullied and tormented. Despite complaining to the school, they did nothing. My teachers did nothing, they just turned a blind eye because they didn’t want to get involved – even my so-called friends pretended not to see any of it happen, so they wouldn’t have to give a statement or get involved – they knew they would just end up getting bullied as well.
In my senior years I was refused from enrolling into certain subjects because I was told there weren’t enough numbers to run a class. However, after choosing alternate classes, the school changed its mind, and ran the classes but I wasn’t allowed to swap, as I’d already been forced to make a decision.
That in itself is more than enough inequality for one person to have to deal with – and it makes it worse that the people who you should be able to count on to support you simply don’t.
It’s no wonder I suffered from depression.
Years later I find myself removed from that entire life and living as an out-and-proud gay man… And still faced with inequality.
The biggest issue that continues to be at the forefront is that of marriage equality. I’ll preface this by saying that personally, I have no interest whatsoever in getting married. I’ve told my partner several times that I’d never marry him – it’s not that I don’t love him, I just don’t believe that marriage is for me. I’m the child of divorce, and the witness of many others unhappy marriages and I don’t want that.
However, does that mean that I shouldn’t at least have the right to get married? As it stands, in Australia, I can marry a woman tomorrow and that’s totally fine. Even if she were a lesbian, we could still legally marry, yet, for a person to marry somebody of the same gender is still illegal.
Insert parallel comparison but replacing ‘gay’ with ‘an African-American person’… And imagine if that were still the case today? There would be outrage across the globe – and rightfully so. And yet here we are, with 2015 on the horizon and the GLBTQI community are still considered as second-class citizens by our governments.
I pay my taxes. I’m a responsible member of the community. I vote in elections, but I’m still discriminated against because of whom I choose to love.
Insert reference to ‘the sanctity of marriage and comparison to those who make a complete mockery of this so called ‘sanctity’ eg. Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Elizabeth Taylor etc. . You get the picture. Straight people take their entitlements for granted and abuse them. I’m so sick of hearing that same old line about ‘marriage is only between a man and a woman’, to which they are using to such a literal extreme. If that’s the case, then why aren’t vows subsequently taken just as literally? ”Til death do us part.’ Really? So, would that mean next time somebody files for divorce, they get to be executed by lethal injection, or their partner gets to smother them with a pillow whilst the sleep? Or maybe the die in a gruesome stabbing, but that’s okay, he wanted to file for divorce. One thing would be certain – divorce rates would plummet and it would be a sure fire way to manage the population.
Although it still doesn’t change the fact that I can’t get married.
However, in saying that, it also doesn’t help that I’m in a country that’s run by a bunch of backwards conservatives still living in the 50’s. Our Prime Minister even denies that climate change is an actual ‘thing’. He also approved the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef which I had always thought was a World Heritage listed site. But apparently that means nothing when you have ridiculous amounts of money to give people… or people have ridiculous amounts of money they want to give the Government..
So I’m not surprised in the slightest that our dear ultra-conservative Liberal leader wants to deny me the right to equality. The Government then go on about how much they’ve given us… by actually ‘acknowledging’ a same-sex partnership, which is considered a de-facto relationship. But that’s about it. What really pisses me off, is that they make it sound as though we’re being ungrateful about it. Gee, aren’t we so fortunate for you, the government, to actually acknowledge that we even exist in society (unlike Bob Katter and his whole ‘there are no homosexuals in my (far North Queensland) electorate’…!!! Really, Bob? REALLY!?!). It’s just like letting the African-Americans vote. They should have been grateful enough to have slavery abolished. Now they want the right to vote. Who do they think they are? What is this madness? The world has gone topsy-turvy! Next they’ll be wanting to put a black man in the White House… oh… wait…
And then we look back at those times in history and feel embarrassed and ashamed that we even had a period of time like that; a period of time that was so full of hate; a period of time where people were treated like property, and were bought and sold as such; a period where an entire race of people were considered lower than the low and treated accordingly. Nowadays, the mere concept of that is so mind boggling because society has progressed so much, and we’ve evolved so much… yet, we still have an entire community of people being denied something so simple as a basic human right – equality.
I’m not a second-class citizen. I shouldn’t be treated as such. I don’t deserve to be treated as such. Why should my human rights be any different to anybody else’s on the street, simply because of who I share my bed with? I can’t even donate blood. It’s even more disheartening to see so many other countries welcoming and supporting marriage equality, and surprisingly, the sky hasn’t fallen; society hasn’t completely disintegrated and crumbled; the earth hasn’t opened up and swallowed us… so perhaps it’s not so apocalyptic after all.