Okay, so I’m going to show my age here, but remember, as a kid, sneaking into the family room and turning on the telly early on a Saturday morning and then sitting, staring at the screen waiting for the programs to start? It was exciting, but also frustrating because you just wanted it to happen!
If you’re too young to have had this experience, don’t worry. You’re sort of getting a taste of it at the moment.
When I saw a headline in my Facebook feed about the US Supreme Court voting to legalize same sex marriages throughout the United States of America, I thought it was a hoax. I had to check to make sure it wasn’t The Onion or The Shovel.
And wow! It’s really happened.
More than that, people on social media were genuinely excited about it here in Australia. Suddenly my Facebook feed looked like a flash flood had hit a Crayola factory. So many rainbow profile pics.
But why do we care? By which I mean, this is Australia. So why are we celebrating what they’re doing in USA?
I guess because regarding this important issue there isn’t anything to celebrate on our home turf yet. We’re still staring at the screen waiting for something to change. Our governing party, lead by Mr Abbott, seems willing to talk on just about every other topic at the moment except this one, which quite obviously discriminates against a sizable sector of our community.
And the shit of it is there’s an overwhelming call of support for this change from the community at large. Plus, the way to fix it is as relatively simple as a show of hands and would make so many people so very, very happy. Not just the gay members of our community either, but also their children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, uncles, aunties, nephews, nieces and, of course, the wealth of friends they’ve accumulated.
It matters. It matters to a lot of people.
As the rainbow flood continued to swamp my social media, I saw this message pop up from a friend in Brisbane:
Witnessing an overwhelming number of friends, the vast majority of whom are straight, chose to show their support to the GLBTIQ community by changing their profile picture has been, and continues to be, truly incredible. To know that so many of you publicly acknowledge marriage equality as an issue on which you want your voices heard is humbling, and you cannot know how wonderful and reassuring your support is. For you, it’s a click of a button and a rainbow filter of awesomeness. To those of us denied the right to marry our partners, it is so much more.
It’s for people like him, and families like his, this is such an important and personal thing for so many Australians.
Sadly, though, for those of us who believe the freedom to love and marry and raise a family shouldn’t be anyone’s business except your own, we’re still a little way off it here in Australia.
Which is why we’re celebrating USA’s landmark decision and shaking our heads at our own political leaders.
So maybe, as another friend of mine has suggested, instead of rainbow Facebook profile pics we should instead all be using the colourful old ABC test signal.
Given that we’re all a little frustrated while we’re excitedly waiting for something to finally happen, it would be sort of appropriate.