Australia’s debate and upcoming postal survey on marriage equality is getting seriously heated. So much so that last week lawmakers introduced a rule making it illegal to ‘vilify’ LGBTI and religious people.
However, people are still speaking their mind and standing up for what they believe in.
Last week, senator Matt Canavan told marriage equality supporters to ‘grow a spine’. He also said they should ‘stop being delicate little flowers and have a proper debate’.
His comments drew immediate criticism but one person’s backlash in particular is going viral.
Yesterday, Mark Pesce posted a letter sent into the Australian newspaper The Age on Twitter. It’s a gay man’s address to Canavan’s remarks, shutting them down precisely and effectively.
So far the tweet has nearly 5,000 likes and over 2,000 re-tweets.
This is a spine pic.twitter.com/EKfwcyjGGo
— Mark Pesce (@mpesce) September 18, 2017
Another user posted the same letter with attribution, but it hasn’t gotten the same amount of traffic.
Titled This is a spine, below is the letter in its entirety:
Matt Canavan, I’m sorry that you feel that some gay people and their supporters need to ‘grow a spine’ and stop being ‘delicate little flowers’ and I’m so glad you are able to ignore the vile tweets and statements from the ‘yes’ campaign.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to ignore the following: My first intimacy was illegal.
My boss said ‘backs to the wall’ upon my entering a work meeting (in the ’70s) much to the amusement of the staff. I’ve been pushed down a flight of stairs because I’m gay. My partner suffered a fractured eye socket because he is gay.
I had a close friend killed in Fitzroy Gardens for holding hands with his partner.
Those experiences (and many more) over the past 60 years have given me a spine and I am not a delicate flower. I’m just someone who wants to be treated just as equally under the law as my heterosexual friends, parents and brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces.
Encouraging responses to the letter
By and large, many people have responded positively to the letter. Some are sharing their own experience with discrimination, while others praise the community’s resilience.
Every teenaged kid I taught who was gay or who thought they might be had more spine than Canavan and his mob put together.
— Deborah (@Prufrockery) September 19, 2017
My aunt's cousin was beaten to a pulp, leaving work behind the bar of a Melbourne pub. Hospitalised, permanent damage. Talk about spine 🌈
— Miriam Cosic (@miriamcosic) September 19, 2017
Things like this happening to my friends and loved ones is why I'm an ally. They're so courageous in the face of animosity though. I'm proud
— KuroNeko🐱🎃4 months (@Demjellyrollz) September 19, 2017
I'm so sorry these things happened. I've been intimidated, bullied, had my car vandalized, and tossed out of establishments b/c I'm gay.
— Darcy Farrow🌻 (@MsDarcyFarrow) September 19, 2017
My best friend was gay-bashed within an inch of his life. Has more spine than @mattjcan will ever have.
— Damon Schultz (@damonschultz) September 19, 2017
The injustice of this made me incredibly angry, and this is the experience of only one man. Heartbreaking.
— Spaceghost (@spaceghost315) September 19, 2017