Out & About: It's Marriage Equality, Not Same Sex Marriage
Marriage equality is the hot topic of the week. With Ireland’s recent referendum resoundingly passing, and Australian politicians from all parties coming out in support and putting forward private member’s bills, it’s well and truly on the agenda (and about time).
I couldn’t be happier that we’re finally gathering momentum around marriage equality. As a notorious anti-marriage cynic who lives in the queer-friendly (even queer-loving) Inner West of Sydney, the passing of marriage equality won’t tangibly change all that much for me. But ten years ago, it would have.
Growing up in a country New South Wales town where I knew no other gay people, it would have been helpful to know that we did in fact exist, and our government was happy to recognise us as equal citizens. Instead, that government was busy actively excluding us from existing institutions that it previously hadn’t – as with Howard’s 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act.
It’s important, then, to make sure we’re mindful of everyone when we talk about marriage equality. Which is why I have problems with the term ‘same sex marriage’. ‘Sex’ has generally been used to refer to someone’s biological make-up: their chromosomes, genitals, hormones. Your ‘gender’ is not purely determined by biological factors, but is much more socially determined. ‘Same sex’ tends to erase the idea that your gender is anything more than your genitals, because it appears to apply the idea that a lesbian or gay couple is a couple where both people (always) have the same biological traits.
If we want true marriage equality, it’s important to recognise that erasing the differences between sex and gender erases the experiences of transgender people, whose biological sex is often different from their gender. A lesbian couple, for example, may have two vaginas, two penises, or one of each. Ultimately, the biological sex of the people in the couple matters to no-one other than those people.
While the proposed changes to marriage legislation would not discriminate against couples such as this (the changes generally say ‘irrespective of sex’ making it as irrelevant as it should be), the term is still quite erasing of people who have spent their lives trying to convince those around them that a penis does not maketh a man.
I like the term ‘marriage equality’, because that’s what we’re fighting for: equality. It’s not just a fight for lesbian or gay couples to be able to marry, but a fight for their relationships to be recognised as legitimate, and as equivalent, as heterosexual relationships.
And just so we’re clear, sex with my lady partners isn’t the same; it’s actually pretty different, every time. Boom.
This is a big weekend for queer Sydney. Friday June 5 sees the next instalment of one of my faves, Homosocial, at The Sly Fox. This time, the party is cheekily Uranus-themed, so expect intergalactic goodness from a bunch of babes: Bad Ezzy, Cunningpants, L’Oasis, and others. There will also be art and performances from Claude, ACON’s adventurous women project.
Sunday June 7 had seen what would have been the hardest decision of my life so far to date. Vivid had subjected us all to a woeful amount of cruelty by organising Heaps Gay x Vivid Sydney and Modulations: A Kooky Motorik Pelvis Party for the exact same time. Unfortunately, now Kooky has been cancelled. Ticketholders have been offered refunds and a shoulder to cry on.
Heaps Gay x Vivid Sydneyhas a huge lineup, with Kim from The Presets, queer Sydney faves Black Vanilla, TEES, Sveta and heaps more. There’ll be performance, art and spectacle from the likes of The Glitter Militia, Bubble Rave, No Lights No Lycra and Torrie Torrie. It’s a hugely overwhelming lineup, but the Factory Theatre should be big enough to handle it. Heaps Gay also happens to be sold out, so unless you have friends in higher places… sorry ’bout it.
Heaps Gay is also doing an afterparty from 10pm at the Oxford Hotel. But for some deeper loving, Loose Ends is back, down the road at Phoenix Bar, also from 10pmon Sunday June 7, with favourites Matt Vaughan and Annabelle Gaspar, as well as the hottest boys in town, L’Oasis.
On the Queen’s Birthday, treat your inner queen and spend the day recovering from your hangovers, please.