For the blog hop against homophobia I posted stories from the people not typically heard in the fight for equality: our straight allies. Of course, once I started filming at the Equal Love rally in Melbourne, there were a lot of other people who spoke and I believe that their stories too should be shared. Plus, no one found the elusive Tellytubby. Also, I promised everyone I’d post Kendrie’s full story. So here it is:
Kendrie Coonan’s Full Story
Challenging homophobia is something I am very passionate about. As a mother of two small children I want nothing more than for my children to grow up to be accepted and respected regardless of their nationality, religion, or in this instance sexual orientation. As parents we try our hardest to bring up well balanced, caring individuals and we want them to be judged always and only for the people they are, not their circumstance.
Both my husband and I have a long history in theatre and dance and have from an early age been immersed in a culture where homosexuality is prevalent and warmly accepted. In theatre, people are people, you are judged more for your talent than anything else. I suppose not everyone has had the open and honest experiences we have been lucky enough to have, but those experiences, those interactions with fabulously lovely individuals of many different walks of nature have shaped our ideas on many things in our adult life and most importantly our parenting.
The stories I have heard of gay friends struggling to come out, being confronted by closed minded family, frowned upon and feeling the need for secrecy has always saddened me. People deserve love and acceptance, they should be encouraged to be themselves and live the life they are internally pulled to live. In our family it is important that our children know that we love them for exactly who they are.
Our kids know that when they grow up and fall in love, that person may be male or female. They understand at 5 and 2 years of age that, that is their choice and either way is more than fine with us. When my son is snuggling me on the couch and I jest that in years to come some little girl or boy will be snuggling him instead of me he giggles. Having homosexuality and heterosexuality both viewed as normal and natural in our house is paramount. I will not have my children ever question my support of them or be concerned for my acceptance. They will know from small daily interactions that our love and support is a given.
A proud moment occurred when out for dinner with some extended family recently. A member of Gen Y in conversation exclaimed “That’s so gay!” and before I even needed to say a word my 5 year old scolded him immediately with “You can’t say that. We don’t use that word like that!” We were all taken back and the desired result prevailed when the Gen Y male replied with “I’m sorry Will, I shouldn’t have said that.” A little dent in a big battle yes, but little moments like this can make a difference. Having your homophobia and ignorance challenged makes an impact, especially when you are being pulled up by a child.
I believe that things are getting better, that awareness and support for the LGBT is on the rise. I also believe that the issue needs to be tackled actively every day. Holding the people around you, your loved ones, friends and family to the standards you hold yourself to. Simply challenging the little things, the throw away statements, especially around your children, all make a difference. I have heard my husband stop a family member who said “raging faggot” and clearly explain that, that language was not acceptable. The interaction was not easy or comfortable, but it was necessary. Imagine if we all took the time to say “that’s not on” when faced with the little things we shake our heads at and know are wrong. Like I said before- little dents in a big battle.
The real victory will be having a new generation of openly accepting, loving individuals. People who know love is love regardless of the packaging it arrives in. I look forward to the time when our children can’t believe how primitive and conservative the ideas of the past have been towards homosexuality. That to me will be a great day.
I’d like to thank Kendrie and Helen again for sharing their stories with me and the world, and to everyone who came along and spoke at the Equal Love Rally in Melbourne, including Carl Katter, the out and proud brother of conservative, homophobic politician Bob Katter, who has been using homophobia as a selling point in an attempt to enhance his political stature.
We were also incredibly privileged to have Magda Zubanski speak, the much loved Comedian who has been a constant presence on our TV screens, and publically came out in February, revealing her own struggles and suicidal thoughts when she was a teenager.
The rally was a timely reminder that it has been nearly 8 years since the Howard government rewrote the marriage act to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, and has urged everyone to take to the streets on the 11th of August, on the anniversary of that event.
Oh and in case you were wondering which Tellytubby showed up, it was Po, the little red one who for some unknown reason, speaks in Cantonese. He appeared very briefly in one of the crowd shots in Tommy Little’s video, here:
Oh, and congratulations to the winners of my little corner of the blog hop, Kimberley and Yvette! Oh, and don’t forget to sign up to my Newsletter while you’re here, as I’ll be posting all new competitions and book news there first! Thanks again for visiting my corner of the world and I hope you enjoyed the IDAHO blog hop. Oh yeah, and if you like what you’ve read, please consider buying one of my books. It’ll keep me fed, housed, and hopefully writing more.