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I'll Never Forgive Malcolm Turnbull For Asking Me To Validate My Own Existence

We wouldn't stand for this postal survey if it was about any other group in society.
Stefan Postles via Getty Images

Dear Malcolm Turnbull,

I remember the day you took over as Prime Minister. I even tweeted you in the days before urging you to make the move. I, along with many others, believed you were different. That you would be the one to bring conservatism back to the sensible centre from the extreme Abbott right.

I remember feeling joy and hope about our country again.

But you have let me down. Most of all you have destroyed my very being through this debate on same-sex marriage.

I am a 39-year-old gay man. I have a lifetime of protection that I have built up against homophobia and hatred. And I have to say I have been mostly happy because, even though there are those in society who hate gay people, who do not think we should exist, it was okay because they could not get to me. I was protected by my thick skin but also by laws and by my government. These laws ensure that the haters can never get me.

Until now. Because of your non-binding statistical survey you are sidestepping the laws that protect me, to give a voice to those who hate me and all who are gay. This survey is more than the question that it asks.

This is the first time we are being given the chance to express a view -- any view -- on homosexuality. Those who hate us will not see this as simply a question of equal marriage but a chance to express their hate at homosexuality. It's the first time they have been given a legitimate chance to hate gay people with the approval of the government itself.

A successful 'no' vote will give validation to the very worst of the community who would seek to do us harm.

I thought I was doing okay during this debate. I thought it was not affecting me that much. But when my survey form arrived and I found myself staring at it, I burst into tears. For here was a piece of paper, addressed to me personally, asking me to validate my own existence. This was something I had not had to do since I first realised I was gay all those years ago.

This gutted me. I began to wonder if we really were here? Have we really only come this far? Are we really so intolerant of gay people as a nation that the only way to decide to give equal rights under the law is to do a survey on whether it's the right thing to do?

Would we stand for it for any other group in society?

The truth is no, we wouldn't. But this is okay, because it's only 'the gays'. I finally see that we have come almost nowhere. The fact that we have any rights at all seems to be not because of public support but in spite of any.

I sadly believe that this vote will fail and the 'no' vote will win. I fear what will come next. A successful 'no' vote will give validation to the very worst of the community who would seek to do us harm. It will validate homophobia and give rise to a new, much larger wave of hatred against us. All this will happen because you allowed it, Prime Minister. Because you deserted us.

It's not a government's role to issue human rights, but it is a government's role to protect them. But you have removed our protection and thrown us to the wolves.

How can we ever forgive you?


Troy Toohey

Former Liberal voter

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