I’m pleased to have been asked to write this – an article on what I want to see Queers achieve. Not in any time period, not with realism in mind, just what I want to see.
The agenda is presented hierarchically, but the order of points in the same level do not denote importance.
I am proud to present the Gay Agenda of Dylan Carmichael. It can be summed up in its entirety with a single word.
Because that’s all I really want – I think it’s all any of us really want. We want to be seen and treated as equals by our government and by our peers. I see two facets of Equality, the Legal and the Cultural. Both are important and in both we have a way to go. Which brings me to Agenda item 1.1, Legal Equality.
1.1 Legal Equality
Currently, sadly, GLBTIQ individuals are not treated equally in comparison to our straight counterparts by our government. It’s a frustrating situation that hurts, a situation that is contributed to by a number of key pieces of legislation.
Marriage Law is a legal barrier to a cultural institution. I believe that until relationship segregation ceases under law, our relationships will continue to be seen as inferior by a percentage of the population. I am heavily involved in Marriage Equality initiatives with a view to driving this agenda forward.
1.1.2 Age of Consent
I want to see this equal across the board. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re attracted to boys or girls, and the laws should be consistent across the country. Having a bed rolling across a state line should not be sufficient to make you a sex offender. Currently Queensland’s laws discriminate against young gay guys – some of whom have complained about the situation to me in the past. I would see gay and straight people held to the same restrictions.
1.1.3 Removal of Non-violent Homosexual Advance as partial defence
In QLD, a non-violent homosexual advance can be a partial defence for murder, helping to reduce your charges. There was a petition brought against the QLD Parliament to have this partial defence abolished. It’s been decided that the government will wait until the defence is used again before reviewing the law that permits it.
1.1.4 Anti-discrimination Legislation applying equally to all employers, religious or not religious
As many of you would know, there is an Exposure Bill currently in Senate Committee. The report is due back on February 18th, and I’m led to believe that the majority of responses dealt with the “offence” provision, or centred around the blanket exemptions for religious employers. This bill introduces sexual orientation and gender expression as protected attributes, (dealing with intersex, poorly, as part of gender expression). We are moving forward in this, however slowly it might seem. I long for the day when all employers are required to employ staff on the basis of their ability to fulfil the position, rather than their ability to fulfil the tenets of their faith.
1.1.5 Adoption and Surrogacy
I, being a pretty typical human being, want kids one day. I believe the government should be placing children with me and my partner in the same way that they would my cousin and her husband. The fact that there’s a variety of genitals “missing” doesn’t mean that we make worse parents than straight people. We can still provide the same rich experiences for our children, love them, cherish them, support them. We should be able to adopt or access altruistic surrogacy in precisely the same way that straight people can.
1.2 Cultural Equality
With legal equality, we need cultural equality to take our places as citizens of Australia… and we’ll know when we’re there when we’re…
1.2.1 Learning to live without fear
This is the part of the agenda that I’m looking forward to the most! Learning that we can hold hands, peck on the cheek, all the stuff straight couples do without thinking, without attracting attention, without worrying about what that guy over there is thinking. I look forward to being able to not think about stuff like that moving forward!
1.2.2 When coming out isn’t a big deal
This is the start of Learning to live without fear – I look forward to a time when telling your parents your gay doesn’t come with a pre-requisite “what if they kick me out” thought process. I can’t wait for people to no longer lose friends or communities for something such a small part of the person as a whole. I expect that one day we will see it shrugged off almost universally as “not a big deal”
1.2.3 Religious tolerance
Religious tolerance goes a long way towards making coming out easier. Sadly, even in my grand wish-list for equality, I would never suggest that we would be universally accepted by religions everywhere. But what I can hope for is a world where religion is no longer an excuse to throw out a gay son, or for parents to “cure” their daughter of lesbianism. I hope for a day where religion, if not quite accepting, is no longer used as the last bastion of homophobia. I hope that religion can be progressive enough to say “Well, it doesn’t actually hurt us” and not outright attack us. (And I know that there are some religions and denominations who are outright supportive right now, which is GREAT)
1.2.4 Acceptance of our relationships.
All of these things lead to one thing culturally – that our relationships are viewed by society as the same as straight relationships, and that we as people are viewed as more-or-less the same as everyone else.
2. Deal with the rest of life.
We deal with all of these issues over and above the day-to-day drama that goes on for everyone else… I look forward to the day when my concerns list contains the same sorts of items as Johnny Straightly’s.