Australia is still in the grips of a debate over marriage equality, and it’s often been a toxic affair.
In September, the country’s National Mental Health Commission issued a statement concerned about the negative impacts brought on LGBTQ people by the continuing marriage equality debate.
Australian conservative politician Matthew Canavan responded by saying the debate “hasn’t been that bad,” and that marriage equality campaigners should “grow a spine” and “stop being little flowers.”
The unfortunate truth is, LGBTQ people have faced routine discrimination over their entire lives, something a young gay man pointed out to Canavan on television program Q&A Monday night.
“I’m a young gay man who had the misfortune of attending an underprivileged public school,” the audience member, only known as Gordon, said.
“I endured slurs on a daily basis, was spat upon by more aggressive bullies and found countless notes stuck in my locker, decrying me as bringing shame to my family or being riddled with AIDS and telling me that I was wasting my life. I was also told that I was threat to children and that being gay was no better than being a paedophile.
“Now you, Mr Canavan, have criticised my community as being delicate little flowers who need to grow a spine in the face of abuse. Isn’t the role of leadership to support society’s most vulnerable, rather than kick them while they’re down in hopes of some political point scoring?”
Canavan responded to the question by saying “little flowers” referred to both sides of the marriage equality debate, and that he is worried about a lack of respect for other people’s opinions in modern democracy.
Yeah, this is a can of worms Australia could’ve done without.