I had a terrible dream last night, a surreal nightmare painted in lucid awareness. It was set in a futuristic dystopian society, one in which people had been stripped of their basic human rights and placed into a lottery system, where their peers got to vote on how they could live, and under what conditions.
In a world that had completely wiped away the traces of any pre-existing civil rights movements, individuals were once again reduced to being judged on the colour of their skin, their gender, and of course, their sexuality. Being a queer woman of Middle Eastern descent I was facing various daily voting results that ultimately impacted on my ability to survive. Today’s vote would determine whether my employer would continue to pay me, as a large majority of society had decided it was important to rehash the frightening concept that women were not equal to men, let alone deserving of a wage. If the ‘Neomales’ won (as they liked to refer to themselves), then I would be forced to find myself a husband to marry, to whom I would be a maid/servant to for the remainder of my life.
Prior to the vote, propaganda would circulate the entire city, and as the story goes, those with money and power unequivocally lead the circus. Usually it was one of the distant descendants of the late President Trump or the Murdoch family that controlled the media (why hadn’t those bloodlines died out yet, or become obsolete?). The ‘Freedom Seekers’ (my tribe, who were fighting to restore basic human rights) had some very influential players, however with the recent terror attacks of the 2334 riots we had lost some of our most powerful advocates.
I had managed to keep under the radar up until this point. Married in a secret yet dreamy reception to Leilani, the Afghan goddess of my heart, we had kept our union under wraps – in the possible case of any sudden law changes. We lived a quiet, yet happy life; I didn’t need anything more than my wife and family. I was content, comfortable to be a cog in the peer system, despite struggling with the fact that I was ultimately living a life in hiding. And then Leilani was killed. Stabbed in the street by a member of the Alt-Heteros, she bled out and died within a few minutes. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.
I woke up in tears, still reeling from the loss I had just experienced. I was missing my love with vivid intensity. The worst part of it all, waking up, this reality seemed not too separate from the dystopian hell I had been a slave in. The Australian Government wants you to vote on our right to get married. Being viewed as equals under the law to all you heteros out there is in the hands of the nation. Now, I wouldn’t be worried, if it wasn’t for the large majority of conservatives who are using the announcement of the plebiscite to vocally state how opposed they are to the union of queer love.
Who are you to vote on my lifestyle and ability to marry the person I love? What about opting in on a more level playing field and creating a national call-out for those who believe that the ‘sanctity of straight marriage’ is bullshit, hence voting on permitting straight folk to get married? Controlling what another person does in their own personal private life could be paralleled to breaking down my bedroom and physically forcing me and my partner, both legally consenting adults, to stop being intimate. Get your hands out of my fucking pants.
We are not a danger to your belief systems, we are not a threat. To my cousin Nataly and her fiancée Jasmin, your beautiful daughter is a miracle reflection of the power of love. To my two best friends who are in long term relationships, you may want to get married one day, and if/when you do I can’t wait to be there. To my entire queer family, those who are the closest to my heart, and to the ones I don’t know. You are divine. You are loved. Whether we are legal or not, I will always stand with you, by you and for you.
We are not second-class citizens, nor should we have to ask for your permission to unite and share our love. I just ask that you consider, just imagine if all the rights that you take for granted were suddenly removed; your once consummated marriage now void. Your ability to legally call your partner your wife or husband now resting in the hands of a public vote. With that in mind, re-evaluate your privilege, give yourself a good long, hard stare in the mirror and ask;
“Do I have the authority to deny another human being the right to legally love?”
If you’re not enrolled already, you have until August the 24th to do so. That gives you 13 days to support your friend, sister, brother, mother, father, daughter, son, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, grandmother, grandfather, employer, employee. Someone you know is queer. Someone you know will be affected by this plebiscite. Vote yes to gay marriage, and show us you care.
Written by Sahar Nicolette, image by Lucy Alcorn for Subvrt Issue 1.