In the lead up to the Australian plebiscite on marriage equality, Aussie LGBT+ people are tweeting their experiences of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia using the hashtag #TheyGetToVote.
Initiated by comedian Josh Thomas, the hashtag was shared by marriage equality advocates to encourage the rest of the country to vote for same-sex marriage.
“New hashtag: #TheyGetToVote. Where you say the homophobic abuse you’ve received or witnessed and remind the ‘no’ people what team they are on”, Josh Thomas tweeted.
New hashtag: #TheyGetToVote. Where you say the homophobic abuse you've received or witnessed and remind the 'no' people what team the are on
— Josh Thomas (@JoshThomas87) September 13, 2017
His tweet spurred Twitter users to share the abuse that LGBT+ people experience in Australia.
“I held a boys hand at school and was pelted with rocks then they threw me in the urinal,” musician and actor Brendan Maclean wrote, before indicating that his teacher told him to take more heed of his situation, to “be more aware”.
I held a boys hand at school and was pelted with rocks then they threw me in the urinal. Teacher told me to, "be more aware." #TheyGetToVote
— BM (@macleanbrendan) September 13, 2017
“I recall a random stranger on a tram proudly telling me “I put one of you in hospital last week,” shared one Aussie living in London.
I recall a random stranger on a tram proudly telling me "I put one of you in hospital last week." #theygettovote
— Matt (@Matt_in_London) September 13, 2017
Another person recounted how homophobia was part of the institution of school.
“Was told to not bother with school because ‘I’ll be dead from aids’ by my guidance councillor [sic] at NRHS,” Clinton Gray wrote.
Was told to not bother with school because 'I'll be dead from aids' by my guidance councillor at NRHS #TheyGetToVote
— Clinton Gray (@ClintonGMelb) September 14, 2017
The contributions to this hashtag go on and on.
being asked if i was "one of those fucking fairies" by my father when i was 10 when i talked about being friends with girls #TheyGetToVote
— matthew (@gayfrankcastIe) September 14, 2017
The man who pulled up next to me while I was walking home as a teenager, and started screaming that I was a disgusting fag #TheyGetToVote
— ?? (@aetheriun) September 14, 2017
I made eye contact with a guy on a train when I was 19. He followed me off the train and tried to strangle me in Flinders St. #TheyGetToVote
— Paul Kidd ?????️? (@paulkidd) September 13, 2017
— Hiba (@Hibsay) September 14, 2017
Now the veracity of the horrifying stories being shared with the hashtag #TheyGetToVote is in dispute, with No Campaigners claiming that they have been fabricated.
It might seem shocking to some heterosexual people that the LGBT+ community is targeted with so much hate, but for LGBT+ people the stories recounted above are only the tip of the iceberg.
“Today ‘no’ voters are saying the #TheyGetToVote stories are invented,” Thomas wrote on Twitter.
“Show any gay person the feed, watch the clouds form in their eyes.”
Reactions from the straight community have been varied, with some reaffirming that they will be voting yes.
One straight Twitter user wrote: “This heterosexual bloke will #VoteYes because I have a heart and a conscious [sic]. Luckily there’s more people like me and #TheyGetToVote too.”
— ??? Kane (@Kaneosaurus) September 14, 2017
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