From this day backwards: @burgewords on the long journey to Australia’s first lesbian marriage

Here we were on the other side of the world not being able to have clarified which of our relationships was valid. WHEN Australian same-sex couples were finally granted equal access to the Marriage Act in December 2017, the widespread expression of relief was tempered by a growing awareness of a legal minefield. Brisbane couple Elaine Crump and Sharon Dane let the emotions in, but the status of their long-term relationship remained in limbo. Like many same-sex couples seeking legal documentation during the interminable wait for Australia to pass marriage equality, Elaine and Sharon had already taken their chances in countries where equality was accessible. The pair first solemnised their […]

#BarnabyJoyce does not own #NewEngland: @burgewords comments on #auspolbarnaby

The man who once had a home base at Tamworth, but now seems to belong nowhere. AS I approached the polling station at the Tenterfield Memorial Hall on by-election day in December 2017, I suspected Barnaby Joyce would put in an early appearance. If Mr Joyce was going to cover New England glad-handing and holding babies, finishing in triumph at Tamworth, he’d have to start early in this town at the far reaches of the electorate that had recently been stripped of its sitting member.  Despite being a local boy, Mr Joyce had been found by the High Court to be a dual citizen of New Zealand and dumped from parliament under the […]

Bad fairy at the wedding: @burgewords on the curse of #MarriageEquality activism

I’D like to briefly hold your attention in this short period before marriage equality is legislated in Australia, because nobody will ever give a second thought to the years of struggle that led to this week’s resounding public vote for same-sex dignity. The concept of marriage equality first hit me like a bullet in 2004, in the moment I realised I’d been completely and utterly duped by this ‘lucky country’. My partner Jono had died suddenly just weeks before, and I was struggling with acute, identity-killing grief. I had no idea that this profound amputation would come to be treated as though it was a paper cut. Unbeknownst to me, […]

The hate that dare not speak its name: @burgewords comments on #VoteNo to #MarriageEquality

It would make for a better, fairer and more entertaining match if #TeamNo owned the term ‘homophobes’. AUSTRALIA is fighting a very old battle. It’s been Trojan-Horsed into every household in the form of the Turnbull Government’s postal survey on federal marriage law. Like all wars, the propaganda is rife. We’re being asked to vote on altering the Marriage Act to allow equal access to couples of the same gender. Naturally enough for Aussies, we’re dealing with it by forming teams in a numbers game over the country’s oldest political football. In one corner we have gay-friendly #TeamYes in bright, inclusive colours, although the commentators can’t avoid the war references, […]

#VoteYes in the #MarriageEquality survey, just don’t expect a unifying moment: @burgewords comments

A sad, embarrassing uncle – let’s call him Malcolm – is trying to get us to pull his cracker, but we know what’s coming. A PUBLIC vote on marriage equality is delivering what some Australians have craved for years: an excuse to publicly trash LGBTIQ dignity. The usual pundits are hailing the Coalition’s survey as a victorious tipping point for the fortunes of the Turnbull Government, but at best it’s a hand-holding exercise for the prime minister. Because when the 122-million-dollar show comes to an end – and regardless of the result – if he wants to harness the voice of the people Mr Turnbull will still need to stand on […]

No country for older women: @burgewords explores @Foxtel casting mystery

The strategy behind the casting of younger women will take some explaining. IN February, Foxtel and Fremantle Media Australia announced the casting of an eagerly anticipated television adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay’s 1967 Australian novel about a group of schoolgirls and their governess who go missing at a local rock formation on Valentine’s Day, 1900. This fictional story was hauntingly filmed in 1975 by director Peter Weir, a production often credited with putting Australian movies back onto international screens after a decades-long hiatus. I stumbled on the casting announcement late and immediately sought reactions in the media about one quirk in the production that is currently filming: there are no older actresses in the series. But nobody seems to have commented […]

#MarriageEquality in 2019: @burgewords says just you wait and see

After you’ve done all the lobbying, it seems what you have to do in Australia to achieve LGBTIQ equality, is wait. MARRIAGE Equality will be legislated in Australia no sooner than 2019. I know many will fly into a rage about that assertion, but let’s get real for a few moments: the current Coalition will never independently instigate a change to the Marriage Act allowing equal access to same-sex couples. Even this week, Malcolm Turnbull told us it’s a plebiscite or nothing, and despite the fact that he has no money for a public vote, he means it. Before you lose your shit at me, you need to acknowledge that the majority of the […]

The killing of the plebiscite: @burgewords comments on #MarriageEquality

Our position, and the position the LGBTI community wants us to advocate, is very simple: no plebiscite under any circumstances, just a free vote. THERE has been no progress on marriage equality in Australia since long before former Prime Minister Tony Abbott tricked his moderate frontbenchers into a marathon joint party room meeting with the hard-right National Party in August 2015 and gave Australia a new word to debate at dinner parties. Abbott got the idea about a public vote on same-sex marriage from his Independent nemeses Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott, who first uttered the P-Word during Julia Gillard’s prime ministership. “It would lower the temperature of the political debate and would provide some back-up […]

I am my first book: @burgewords reports from #bwf16

We were inside the building. We belonged, inasmuch as new students belong in new classrooms when they change schools UNDER the general theme of ‘belonging’, the 2016 Brisbane Writer’s Festival (BWF) set itself up with few boundaries, and writers have been rushing to traverse the intentionally unfenced territory across the city. As an independently published author, I was pleased to find the door open to my memoir, which has national significance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex (LGBTI) equality movement. It was written in Queensland about the battle to maintain my next-of-kin status after the death of my same-sex spouse in New South Wales in 2004. But my indie book about […]

Divorced from reality: @burgewords comments on the Coalition’s #MarriageEquality problem

The Coalition will just have to take care of itself, because the political wedge has finally hit its target. AFTER the Coalition’s narrow win, the plebiscite on Marriage Equality should be getting ready to kick off, yet the same election promise has been blamed for the major swing against Malcolm Turnbull. And the paradox has all the hallmarks of failure. In one of his delayed post-victory interviews, Malcolm Turnbull conceded the plebiscite would have to be pushed ahead to 2017. His reason: “My commitment to have it dealt with as soon as practicable is there, but we… have to obtain the support of the Senate,” Mr Turnbull told Leigh Sales […]