Please Don’t Call it ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ – YEP Crew Blog Post (2017)

August 24, 2017

The postal plebiscite is not an ideal pathway for marriage equality, but it is the avenue we’ve been provided with. Already, we’ve seen very hurtful and homophobic rhetoric being spread in a very public manner. However, for trans people, one the most hurtful aspects of the debate is the exclusionary language and attitudes being used by both sides of the debate. Let’s talk the place of trans people in the postal plebiscite shenanigans:

  1. We Can Be Gay Too

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 77% of transgender people identify themselves as something other than strictly heterosexual. Personally, I am mostly attracted to other men, but I am also attracted to women and non-binary genders.

  1. We Are Still Forced to Divorce

With the current Marriage Act defining marriage as being ‘between a man and a woman’, transgender people who transition while married are forced to divorce in order to change their legal gender.

  1. We Are not ‘Same-sex’ Couples

Sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex is made up of the combination of your chromosomes, genitals, and hormones. Gender is about your perception of yourself, how you want others to perceive you, and the way you express yourself. Everyone is assigned a sex at birth based on the appearance of our genitals, but this assignment isn’t always congruent with our gender identity. This is especially true for trans and intersex people.

I was assigned female at birth, however my gender identity fits onto the male spectrum. When I am in a relationship with a cisgender* man, we are not the ‘same sex’; we are the same gender. However, according to Australian law, we still cannot legally marry.

  1. So What is the Right Term to Use?

The best way to include everyone in the plebiscite debate is to refer to it as ‘marriage equality’. This language allows me and many of my peers to feel recognised and included in the discussion. All of us, regardless of gender, sex, and sexual orientation just want to have their love legally recognised by our country.

*Cisgender: someone whose sex assigned at birth matches their gender identity.