Sunday, April 02, 2006

Do I exist?

Lovergirl and I went to a consultation forum on Gay & Lesbian Relationship Rights yesterday. The situation in Australia is this: most states (except South Asutralia) have de facto recognition of same-sex couples, however there is no federal recognition and same sex marrigaes were banned through an act of parliament last year.

State recognition means we get some things (that are covered under state law), like property rights if we split up, and the right to make decisions about a partner's treatment in the event of an emergency. Federal law covers things like tax (ie no dependent partner rebate if Lovergirl stays home with the baby while I go out to work), immigration, wills, adoption

The one area where we get one over on the government is social security; because same sex marriages aren't recognised, two lesbians in a relationship can both be on the single dole, which is better than one joint benefit.

Although all that extra money would be VERY nice (I think it adds up to about $12,000 if you are in a couple with a child and one person working and one at home), for me it is much more about recognition. This is a relationship, this is a family.

I know it's not going to come soon but I think it is on the horizon. I don't know, but I hope Australians don't have it in them to be as dumbly religious as Americans do. How does that happen, that whole societies get hijacked by a few people who believe that their God wants them to create a truly miserable, harsh, unloving nation - and then take over the world with that dogma?

I hate it, I really do. I skim through life usually, but if I stop and think about how many people hate me, think I'm evil and even want me dead, without even meeting me, it makes me...overwhelmed, angry, sad and a bit hopeless. Why do I spend all this time on the plight of people with mental illnesses? Why aren't I focussing on our own discrimination, prejudice and stigma?

The little girl who lives next door is five. We are good friends with them, babysit them sometimes (in fact we are on our way over there now, as Mum has an eight a.m. yoga class). She said to us last week, 'Are you two sisters?'
'No,' I said.
'Are you cousins?'
'Are you wives?'
'Yes!' I said. 'That's exactly right, we are wives.'
It was so simple to her, and now she has worked it out. I hope she doesn't unlearn it as she moves through our homophobic society.

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