Equal Love Rally
Equal Love Rally

A heartfelt and true account of Melbourne’s Equal Love Rally

Sitting on the steps of the magnificent Victorian State Library yesterday, I surveyed the crowd; my little Melbourne LGTBIQ community. Looking at my girlfriend, our friends, their children, all of us with freshly painted rainbow faces, I couldn’t help but smile.

Yes, we were all there to fight for our rights, our right to be able to marry and love who we wish, a love that comes so naturally to each of us that we shouldn’t have to explain it, let alone fight for it. It’s just who we are. I smiled because although we were there to protest, it is events such as these that make me appreciate my gay little family all the more.

Say what you want about the Rainbow Community; but what other protest could you go to where two thousand people are covered in colour, the rainbow shining through and where people are literally dancing in the streets? Yes we march, we chant, we are passionate and we fight for what we believe in. But we do it in style.

To me, the rallies are more than just protesting our lack of basic human rights. To me, the protests and rallies are about community; the instant acceptance and embrace from complete strangers who are united as one as we fight for what we believe in. The faces of strangers, people I know, young people, older people and drag queens alike.

We were all there to support one another and to share in each other’s love.

I felt chills run down my spine yesterday as I listened to Margarita from the Socialist Alliance, her passion and conviction enthralling the crowd as she told us that she believed that a conscience vote wasn’t good enough! That we need more same-sex education and increased funding for public housing to support those of the LGBTIQ Community that are kicked out of home because of who we are. It is love and support like this that others should be jealous of.

This is what I love about my Rainbow family because no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, we all have something in common.

We are all deemed different, no matter how accepting your family is, no matter how well your individual coming out occurred, every single one of us has been subject to some form of homophobia, whether intentional or not.

The majority of us deal with questions about our love lives, sex lives and family lives on a daily basis. Or at one time or another have had to worry about coming out, what people will think of us and how they will react. We do this on a regular basis, it doesn’t just happen once. But the sad thing is, that we have just come to accept this.

Yet despite all of this, despite the fear, the humiliation at times; despite our efforts as of yet to produce a positive outcome, we still keep dancing and yes, we still keep fighting.

This is why I love my community. Why to me, the rallies are more than just trying to tell the world that we have had enough. They are about standing side by side with our brothers, our sisters, our family, complete strangers united by our love and support one another. That’s it. It’s just about love. It’s not just about getting married. It is the first step in a long journey that I hope will mean one day my children and their children will not have to suffer the same fear that I did when I came out. I hope that they won’t have to “come out” because it simply won’t be an issue.

The rally was fantastic! Cath Bowtell, Adam Bandt, Jade Leonard were entertaining and passionate and gave me hope. Hope that sooner rather than later I will have the right to be with who I wish and that I will be able to announce my love for that woman to the world without fear of discrimination. I left feeling empowered, liberated and completely comfortable with who I am. Until…

Walking down Bourke Street hand in hand with my partner, we happened past an Islamic Activism stand at which two men were standing, having a conversation. What we heard broke my heart. “How will society succeed with the gays and lesbians in it?” To this, my partner and I stopped dead in our tracks!

Having marched past this man not thirty minutes earlier and feeling so proud and free within ourselves. I was overcome with anger, hurt and disappointment that someone could feel like that about me and my way of life, about my family. So what did I do? I kissed my girlfriend.

Nobody has the right to tell us that we cannot love and live the way we want.

This is why we rally.