In 2017 the queer and gender-diverse community of Australia undertook an incredible campaign of everyday activism around marriage equality. As individuals and collectives we shared our personal stories with our networks – from social media, to workplace to school playground. We purged our tears and our rage – documented as poems, articles, photos, short stories, status updates, tweets, blog posts, political cartoons, and short videos. Many of us were shocked at the vitriol directed at us, to our faces, in our letter boxes and online, even in ‘secret’ Facebook groups. Many of us were hurt by the unspoken tensions and the conversations we couldn’t have with some of our nearest and dearest. By the end, we were truly exhausted.
Yes, the vote was for equality. Yes, the legislation went through. Yes, we can get married now. But many of us have been left wondering whether it was worth it. Many of us are living with the ongoing grief of having our lives, and those of our children, be up for public debate.
Whether you are ‘gay, straight, black, or white’—or beyond reductive binaries—this edited collection guides the reader through the highs and lows of the marriage equality postal vote. Combining serious scholarship, humour, manifestos, and simple tales of childhood, readers are flung into the emotional melting pot that constitutes a definitive turning point in Australian queer histories. These feelings are sticky and sometimes traumatic, but there is also catharsis in this compilation. This is also a counter-archive, one that consciously amplifies some of the voices that were drowned out by dominant campaigns, including those that questioned the value of marriage as a patriarchal institution or resisted the ‘we are just like you’ discourses that obscured complex families and queer ways of loving.