I got involved because I'm committed to reconciliation, and because Iím a lesbian. I'm an Aboriginal lesbian so the connection is very much about my identity.
I'm Aboriginal. Itís what I am. I can't be or do anything else. But I'm also a lesbian and a woman. You can't say, "This part of me is Aboriginal, this part of me is Lesbian, this part of me is a woman and therefore I am discriminated because of that part." Discrimination happens as a whole.
The gay and lesbian community has been marginalised as much as the Aboriginal community, in a way. But I am marginalised more as an Aboriginal person. I am actually discriminated against more because of my Aboriginality than because of my sexuality. Quite often my sexuality is ignored. As an Aboriginal person, often people don't recognise that I am a sexual being.
Lesbians and homosexuality are nothing new to the Aboriginal community. Some sectors will say that it is not our traditional way but it something that has always been there. It never had a name because it wasn't anything that was outstanding or different, it was just the way that people were. So it wasn't named as such, but it is something that has always been part of our lives. It was accepted.
Reconciliation is about social justice. It's about recognition of what's happened previously in this country and it's about walking forward from that. It's not about guilt and shame. Itís about working towards a solution where everybody is truly equal, where everybody starts off having the same life opportunities as the next person.
My immediate reason for being involved in "Queers for Reconciliation" is to get out there on Mardi Gras night and show people of this nation the support that there is for reconciliation regardless of which group of people is standing up. Australians as a whole, no matter who they are, are saying, "It's time to move on. It's time to acknowledge the past and to start building something that is more equitable. Mardi Gras is about us as a group standing up there and saying, "We're standing firmly behind reconciliation. We want to move into the future regardless of the political climate."
What do I want for the future? A world that is equitable and just. I can't stand the term "tolerant" because it implies superiority, but acceptance, true acceptance. Not where we need to have Mardi Gras to celebrate our sexuality. Where our sexuality is just part of who we are. And our Aboriginality is part of who we are and our special place in this country and the truth is being told.
There's a coming together of Queers and Aboriginality now because there's been this huge backlash against Aboriginal people and against reconciliation by the current government. There's also been a backlash against lesbians and homosexuals. So people are getting together because we realise that our struggles are one and the same, in a lot of ways. They have different sources but the oppressors are the same group of people and what's happening to us is the same. It might be for different reasons and have different rhetoric but basically it's the same thing.
If we're divided it's like banging our
head against a brick wall but together we can make a very powerful statement
and maybe change the direction we're currently heading in with this government.
We need to stand together. We need to fight injustice at every corner regardless
of who we are.