The Dawn Of Equality

Patrick Nouhailler

From time to time I find something on Facebook that deserves wider exposure. This is one such piece, written by Ken Morris.

Oppression is a group activity. It has its power through the group, and only truly changes as the group changes. Changes, or is slaughtered in a revolution in which it is just replaced by another form of itself. Animal Farm was prophetic.

The census we’re having, is being had because of heterosexual power. It’s not because gay people exist, but because of how heterosexuality and heteronormativity treat us. Which is like shit. Really. It’s not a momentary aberration of Turnbull failure to lead, but a straight trajectory from our actual imprisonment [even during my lifetime] and the consecutive collusions of avoidance by straight power from Howard, through Rudd, Gillard, Rudd and then Turnbull. Only gay people were harmed in the making of that movie.

Not Fun Being Born Gay

It’s not fun being born gay. Not fun experiencing the confusion of difference that’s set up impenetrably by a heteronormative world. Not fun seeing the disappointment in a father’s face when a little sissy-boy fails to catch the constantly and hopefully tossed footy, and opts instead for a dance class. Not fun being included, and feeling like an alien during adolescence, in the sniggering heteronormative objectification of teenage girls and the hierarchy-building stories of what degree of conquest you managed. Not fun being in love with a boy at a school dance and knowing that even to speak lovingly to him, least of all touch him, would bring derision. Not fun staring down the barrel of a lifetime of loneliness in which you will never safely walk in any street you choose, holding the hand of the man you love.

That’s the shit. The great sad, perhaps unintended, but still present, stinking dung-heap of having your love at best muffled and marginalised, and at worst tormented and bashed. Of having to monitor every word and look and action, for tell-tale signs of forbidden affections. Of never hearing or seeing yourself in the broad public approval. And the first time you ask for it, it takes a national survey, of unprecedented length, cost and scope, to create the wiggle-room for the loudest voices of hate to speak lies about you, as the price of having dared ask and dream.

Reliving The Nightmares

And heterosexuality made by heterosexuals made that shit. All of it and all of them. As a group. As a unity of shared intention and shared accident. No doubt about it.

Then heterosexuals made a survey that is taking months of my life to grind into me a renewed experience of every memory of the pain, every word of the abuse, every moment I didn’t take a hand or open my arms, every moment of the lies I had to tell and the horrors of every day of trying to force myself into the straight mould that was made and intended for me. Made a survey to ask each other if the power they have could be the power they agree to give up.

Glass half empty, right..?

Daring to Dream

But what I have learned from women and Aboriginal people, and from people whose loves are lived inside differently abled bodies and minds, is that consciousness matters and spreads. The cosmic significance of small acts of goodness matters, and is real. The joining of love to love and peace to peace and justice to justice, that comes as whole classes of oppression open themselves to newness and commit themselves to change matters, and is real.

But that only happens when each of us owns, with humility and grace, our role inside the silos of power that limit the potential of others. It happens when we shed a light into the darkest corners of our individual and collective responsibility for the harm caused by our membership in oppression, and commit to our own change and to sharing that light to bring change to others.

The Last Days of Hate

Meanwhile, I’m counting down. One agonising…no really, each one hurts like hell…day at a time. Counting down to what..? The last day of the current clamour. The last day of unassailable heterosexual power in the last and most precious bastion of its institutional social control. The last day of televised lies about me. The last day of being called a threat to children and society.

Counting down to all that.

And to the first and greatest day of light, in my lifetime. The day in which I become, at least in law, a fully signed up member of my nation and its social institutions. The day in which I become, at least on paper, equal. The day my country embraced me like my friends do. The day heterosexual denial of my access to what it cares about died, and a new sun rose.

It will feel different and be different. Not the end. Not perfect. Not fully done…if only, I hear women, Aboriginal people and disabled people cry…but at least fully begun.

Ken Morris

About the author

I'm not young any more. But I love life more than I used to. The greatest joy of my life as an out proud gay man, is the people who I have been blessed to love in my life, and to have been loved by, in return. You have helped make me a whole person and given me back a love for life, poetry and beauty.