This article originally appeared in Catalogue Magazine in November 2017
I wanted to check in with my team (Team Gayby! Can we get t shirts made – in vintage 70’s typeface? Shut up and take my money, amiright?!) because I feel like we need a pep talk to get us through the next few weeks.
The plebiscite survey is being sent out today, and people talking about it. They’re also talking about gaybies, which is a bit rude tbh. It’s like they don’t realise we’re listening and can speak for ourselves. So, I thought I’d write something too, because I have my own voice.
To start with, I want to remind any gayby that you are absolutely amazingly fantastically mind-bendingly wonderful. They could dedicate a whole youtube channel just to people who love you banging on about your wealth of fantabulous features. No matter what else is happening right now, or in the future, you’re an A+ person. Never forget that.
Also, your family is totally awesome. It’s made up of a mix of marvellous people, and just like EVERY FAMILY IN THE WORLD – it’s unique. Mine is so fabulous and vibrant that I’d need a whole other article to do them justice. I bet that when you’re with your family it feels like a bright colourful parade in summer with everyone cheering. Because you love your family, and they love you.
Although, just like any other family, or any other people, nothing is completely perfect (remember Queen Bey’s early fashion? We all have areas to work on). For example, my dad’s and I tease each other all the time. Usually it’s fun and we forget what’s said the second it comes out. Sometimes, we get excited and take it too far and feelings get hurt. Very occasionally, it can lead to an argument.
The other day I was teasing one of my dads about something he said about the plebiscite (he’s gay, and very frustrated by the survey). My big beautiful family was all there too, adding their 2 cents (is that even a term anymore? Where can you even get 2 cents!?), and soon it had become a bit of an argument (until someone called out that it was time to cut the cake. In my family, food always takes priority.) It was a silly fight, but afterwards I still felt upset.
That night, all the things people are saying because of the survey rushed into my head. I couldn’t think about anything else, it was like all the things I’d read or heard in the media were combining with what I’d said to dad, and it was all stuck on a loop playing over and over. My partner suggested I call my dad and apologise, just in case I had upset him. My throat felt tight as soon as his phone started ringing and I wondered if I was going to cry.
And do you know what? It was all fine. Dad laughed and told me not to be silly when I apologised. I still cried a tiny bit but it was because I was so relieved. All those nasty thoughts and voices went away, and I remembered that no matter what I do (or how far I jam my foot in my mouth) my dad loves me. He loves me because I’m strong and I try to share my passion with others. He loves me because I have learnt to admit when I’m wrong or I’ve hurt someone, and I try to make it better. That’s how my family raised me, they showed me by setting an example of how to love and be loved.
That’s what healthy, normal families do.
I’m going to see my family again tonight, because I wrote a kid’s book! It’s called Ava’s Big Move and it’s out in bookstores today. Inside it there are all kinds of families. Rainbow families, step families, big families and small families. Because I wanted to write about what’s true and real in this world.
I was a little upset at first that something so important for me (did I mention – I WROTE A WHOLE FREAKING BOOK) is happening at the same time as the survey. But then I thought, f**k it. Because the pride I have in what I’ve achieved today, and the pride I have for the LGBTQIA+ community and what they have already achieved in the face of violence and aggression over many many many years cannot be shouted down by some ridiculous bigots.
Ultimately, gay marriage will happen in Australia. Nothing can stop it, especially not stupid conservative dinosaurs who stumble around shouting crazy nasty things. So, let’s ignore them, vote yes, and concentrate on what’s real, incredible, and all around us.
Love is family.
You are loved.
Love is love.