By Jacqui Tomlins, Melbourne-based marriage equality campaigner. Follow her blog here.
Last week I went to a benefit for the former Baptist minister from Lilydale, Matt Glover. Some of you might have read about him in The Age at the end of last year. In November, Matt gave Rodney Croome (AME’s campaign director) a short statement in support of same-sex marriage for the Christians4Equality website. Not long after that statement appeared on the site, Matt was forced to resign from his position. He has a wife and two young children so losing his job – and so suddenly – had serious implications for him and his family. December was horrible, Matt told me. Traumatic. And January was just a fog.
Despite this, Matt also said: I don’t take back any of what I said. If anything, it’s given me a greater appreciation of what lesbian and gay people experience. If I met a young man who had been unhappy and maybe suicidal and then he met someone, another man, who made him happy – who am I to say ‘no’ to that? I couldn’t. There’s a common humanity there, and I just couldn’t.
That someone could lose their job for writing a short, simple statement endorsing Marriage Equality seems gob-smackingly awful to me and after meeting Matt and listening to him talk about his experience, I find it even more appalling. The benefit was at the very least a chance for the gay community to give something back to Matt and say thank-you for his support.
So, Matt: Thank-you for taking a stand on our behalf. Thank-you for the support you have given our community. Thank-you for your decency, compassion and humanity.
We raised some money for Matt and his family on the day and a bank account has been established for him. I’ve included the details below if anyone wants to make a donation. Thanks, guys.
For direct debits: Bank of Queensland. BSB # 124-001 Acc # 2172-4166
Cheque or money order: Rev. M. Glover C/-PFLAG, PO Box 1372, Eagle Farm, QLD 4009
Magda, Magda, Magda!!!
Well Valentine’s Day proved more interesting than usual this year with the Official Coming Out of the awesome Magda Szubanski. If you didn’t see it, check it out here; it made me laugh and cry all within the space of about four and a half minutes.
I think it was a fantastic articulation of what it feels like to be gay in Australia at this time and why the whole marriage equality thing is so important. I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but she says it so well it’s worth a listen.
My favourite quote from the interview is: I was so nerve-wracked yesterday, I demolished a whole packet of Tim Tams. Even Jenny Craig couldn’t stop me…
Making a difference…
Thanks to everyone who has signed my petition to Josh Frydenberg. So far I’ve got over 100 signatures which is a great start, but I’d like a couple of hundred more before I take it to Josh. Because the petition is limited to Kooyong it means I need pretty much everyone I know around here to sign. (See below for what constitutes Kooyong). It’s dead easy and will take about two minutes. Thank guys. And if you know anyone else locally, could you spread the word for me.
I’ve hooked up with another local resident, a young gay guy called Chris who’s lived here all his life and has about a bajillion friends on Facebook – and probably a few more in real life, too. I’m hoping hanging out with Chris will bump up my numbers a bit!
Also, I’m trying to think of any local groups or organisations that might be supportive. Now I know Kooyong is not a famous hotbed of homosexuality, but you never know who’s out there – maybe there’s a Kew Queer Consortium, a Balwyn Bi Brigade, or a Surrey Hills Same-Sex Society?
Someone suggested Swinburne Uni which is a great idea and maybe the local Greens. So, if you have any thoughts about local groups that might be supportive can you send me a quick email. Cheers.
Kooyong includes: Kew, Kew East, Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, Balwyn, Balwyn North, Canterbury, Camberwell and (part of) Surrey Hills.
This is a lovely article about another group that’s making a difference – Minus 18 – which provides support to young gay people. The story is about a same-sex formal coming up in April. The first one was organised by their General Manager, Micah Scott, a couple of years ago. He thought there might be a 100 or so people interested, but they sold out all 250 tickets. It’s a nice piece.
Speak soon. Thanks for listening.
- Jacqui Tomlins