My second (and first original) article for Doug (The Rainbow Reporter) Pollard’s new website, The Stirrer, tackles the problem of apathy in the gay rights/equal marriage movement. They’re not alone of course – apathy is a universal problem and certainly not confined to the LGBTIQ community!
The article is a response to a dear friend who’s suffering from activism burn-out.
I woke up this morning with sentences rattling around in my head and just had to write it.
Here’s how it begins:
“A dear friend emailed me last night. A gay man, he’s a passionate advocate for LGBTIQ health, equal rights and same-sex marriage. When there’s a letter to be written, a submission to be made, a politician to be educated, a hearing to attend, a seminar to be planned, a rally to be organised or a meeting to be convened, my friend is there – ‘pink jackboots’ and all – putting in 200 per cent to make a difference. He’s a firecracker.
But last night, his mood was low as he wrote that he was stepping back – for a while at least – for the sake of his ‘mental health and well-being’. I knew he was burning out – I’ve been worried about him for a while now. But, the final straw came this week when, leading yet another gallant charge for equality, he paused to look behind him – and found there was no-one there. His rainbow army had somehow fizzled away – too busy, too tired, too distracted, too apathetic to help him fight for their rights. He is hurt, bewildered and, frankly, bereft.”
[Click here to read more on The Stirrer ….]
It does seem hopeless to go against the stream of public apathy. When no one else seems interested…with all the petitions, with all the letters, emails written is Abbott still going to end up PM? We know what happened last time to the ‘spirit of Australia’ and it is so sad to see it happen again…but it is happening even with an atheist, defacto PM in the Lodge.
If she ( a woman), an atheist cannot support a bill of equality then who will ever?
In the name of my brother in law ( now deceased 1996 HIV/AIDS) and my nephew ( who ‘presumes’ he will be able to marry one day and have chldren) and his parents who support a conservative representative, what hope is there?
How many times have I signed a petition with Alex at the head, or in the past marched in Qld during the Joh years for the right to ‘march’..and protest…or marched year after year and signed and wrote and wrote to MP’s and newspapers and blogs about reconciliation and apology to our Indigenous brethren, and marched for the rights of women and for the French to stop practising bombing in the South Pacific…or in support of the right for whales to exist,…On and on throughout my adult life. How many times do the ‘rights’ of people have to be marched for, argued for, signed for, written about, yelled about? Why is this all so hard?
When you witness the death of a family member, up close and personal, when you call for equality in health care, dental care, aged care, education, mental support…when you want a better Australia for your newly born grandchild…no wonder we ‘we’ get burnt out.
Just mentioning all these things makes me exhausted.
Where are the young folk?
Let them stand up and be counted too, so one day, in a history class that their descendants will learn about, they will be able to point and say; I was there; I stood up and was counted.
Thank you for this rally cry, Chrys. We need to keep marching no matter how tired and dispirited we feel, coz there are people like you out there, saying it how it is.
Beautifully said, Abbie – and yes, it is exhausting and sometimes dispiriting. But geez, what’s the alternative. We just have to keep on destroying the joint!
Absolutely and with your help and support and encouraging writings, I will keep on it. Ta.