Between the rainbow filters, #lovewins and Caitlyn Jenner, you could be forgiven for thinking that all LGBT struggles have been overcome. The rippling effect of these national and global events have been felt here in ye olde Perth. Even my mother asked how she could get a rainbow filter.
The journey toward LGBT equality has been incredibly fast, and we are in the midst of it.
Lately I’ve been asked to advise and inform on these issues - both personally and what it means in wider society. It seems like yesterday that I was grappling with my sexuality, searching my soul for some middle ground that I could avoid telling people that I was being gay and get on with my life.
As someone who is not defined by their sexuality, but has to work publicly on gender and sexuality issues, I am in a constant conflict. Make no mistake, however, I will call you out on being a bigot and discriminator. There’s never an excuse for that.
We are nowhere near equality. Yes, being gay in Perth is easier than what it was even just three months ago. I am called a faggot less, I am asked less about anal sex or “who the woman” is. It is a challenge that nobody can describe in detail what LGBT equality looks like. It sure as hell doesn’t mean our corporate offices are filled with closeted guys, or someone saying “I’m not comfortable with PDAs (because I’m gay)”. Sure, there will always be discriminators and detractors, but what I see is them in power. People are still pandering to the heteronormative hegemon. I won’t stand for a society which neglects and silences any group of people.
It’s a process. We will get there, one day.
Conrad Liveris is an advocate, adviser and researcher on the politics and economics of diversity.