Plebiscite Isn’t Funny

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Hannah Gadsby: JAM Project

Comedian Hannah Gadsby took to her Facebook page to explain why she vehemently opposes the plebiscite.

Oh hey guys… this plebiscite thing is a very bad idea. The very idea of an ongoing debate around marriage equality makes my stomach turn. It’s not a pleasant turn either.
Let me be clear. I don’t care about marriage equality for myself because I do not have an aptitude for relationships.

The reason I care about this is because I don’t want young kids to hear the kind of horrific bile I was forced to listen to in the 1990s when Tasmania debated on whether to legalise homosexuality. For many, the debate was theatre. For me, it made me hate myself so deeply I have never been able to develop an aptitude for relationships.

In the mid nineties I was the age when I should have been learning how to be vulnerable, how to handle a broken heart, how to deal with rejection and how to deal with all the other great silly things about young love which help pave the way to the more substantial adult version.

But instead 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.

Every day of my life I deal with the effects of anxiety and low self esteem. It is not nearly as debilitating as it used to be but I don’t imagine I will ever be truly free of it. Just imagine how brilliant I could have been if I hadn’t been given such a shit show at such a vulnerable time in my life.

I am very concerned that the plebiscite debate is going to be another open season for hate. I fear for those, particularly in regional Australia, who are isolated from positive voices.

If this plebiscite has to happen then lets try and drown out the hate filled commentators. 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. Speech is not free when it comes at such a cost. This plebiscite is FUCKED.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)