Supporting the Institution of Marriage. A Trans Perspective

Our unusual take on marriage equality for same-sex, transgender and intersex couples in Australia. Jenny and I can and will marry, but many others are simply not allowed to under the current law. See below for lots of links.

Unless the process gets struck down in the High Court on 5th & 6th September 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will conduct the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, using the names & addresses of voters on the electrol roll aged 18 years or older.

Below is the transcript of our Facebook video, made by Jenny and myself.

Jenny & Margaret
From Jenny & Margaret’s YouTube video, with background piano music by Margaret: “Rainbows Over Hovea.”

JEN: Hello. I’m Ms Jenny Nairn.

MDJ: And I’m Mix Margaret Jones.

JEN: My fiancée Margaret is an androgyne. I am a cisgender woman. Margaret and I make a great couple; all my family love her.

MDJ: It is wrong to claim allowing marriage equality for same-sex couples, and trans and intersex people, will erode or somehow damage the institution of marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth.

JEN: This debate is about marriage equality. It’s about two people who want to seal their relationship in marriage, regardless of their gender.

MDJ: In reality the campaign against marriage equality is an attempt to suppress us, to put us back in the bottle and make us invisible again.

JEN: Marriage rates for heterosexual and cisgender people, that is, non-transgender people, have been historically low for decades with fewer couples getting married and divorce rates high. This has had serious effects on families and extended families. I know this for myself as I have been divorced for fourteen years with two young children, and it was difficult! But I’m looking forward to getting married again.

MDJ: Allowing same-sex, transgender and intersex couples to use the civil contract known as marriage will enhance the concept of the family. LGBTI families form in many ways and they include blended families with children from previous relationships. These children should not be denied a happy and secure family life.

[Update:Children of same-sex parents enjoy better levels of health and wellbeing than their peers from traditional family units, new Australian research suggests. In what they described as the largest study of its type in the world, University of Melbourne researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children about their physical health and social wellbeing.” See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-05/children-raised-by-same-sex-couples-healthier-study-finds/5574168 ]

Accepting the reality of our inherent or intrinsic equality as LGBTI people, because despite unequal treatment we are and always have been equal, and allowing us to marry, will surely boost the concept and practice of marriage.

JEN: Marriage, as a social contract pre-dates all modern religions by thousands of years and there is no reason why churches should have any veto over it. They do not have a monopoly on love.

Modern marriage is about love, and nurturing relationships, and I think we can all agree that these are good things. But, until very recent times marriage was not usually about love and caring at all. It was all about protecting women and children as objects owned by men—nothing to do with protecting women and children for their own benefit and nothing to do with loving couples. We want to marry for the modern reasons of love and nurturing.

MDJ: The current marriage law has caused great hardship to many transgender and intersex Australians. Often trans people are required to get divorced in order to change their legally documented sex or gender. Many of us have been forced to divorce our loved ones so we can change our official identification. This is much worse and more frustrating than you might imagine as these identification changes are crucial in many ways to our well-being, and the well-being of our families.

Some intersex Australians have birth certificates which identify their sex as ‘indeterminate,’ rather than as male or female. They may have no disability whatsoever, yet they may not [are not allowed to] marry simply because marriage is still only between a man and a woman.

It’s inappropriate to name a non-binary or enby [N.B.] person like myself as a ‘husband’ or a ‘wife,’ yet that is what the current law requires.

JEN: Some of us will marry in a religious ceremony because some of us are Christian (such as myself), orJewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist and so on. We might even use a church or some other place of worship.

Changing the law to enable marriage equality will help to save the modern social institution of two people in love coming together in a civil legal contract to properly secure the future of themselves and their families.

TOGETHER: Please vote YES
MDJ: for marriage equality in Australia for same-sex, transgender and intersex couples if you want to preserve and strengthen the institution of marriage.

TOGETHER: Vote YES
JEN: if you want to support children growing up in loving families with committed parents.

TOGETHER: Vote YES
MDJ: if you want all couples and their children to have the same rights to hospital visits, shared taxation, inheritance and many other entitlements.

JEN: When people are treated equally, everyone benefits. Let’s get equality for ALL couples in Australia who want to formally commit to each other.

Thank you.

MDJ: Please check you are registered for the postal vote by 24th of August 2017, and get your ballot posted back well before the 7th of November, that’s the deadline. Please see the links for more information on how to do that and for explanations of the terms we’ve used such as Mx (Mix), androgyne, cisgender, transgender, intersex, enby, and non-binary.

===================================

Video written & spoken by Ms Jenny Nairn (cisgender woman) & Mx Margaret D. Jones (non-binary transgender enby/androgyne).

Music: Rainbows Over Hovea © 2016, composed & performed by Margaret D. Jones, MusB(UWA), DipEd, LTCL, ATCL, AMusTCL, AMusA.

Please ensure you are registered for the Australian POSTAL plebiscite by 24 August 2017. To check your enrolment with the AEC, see https://check.aec.gov.au/

Ballot papers will start arriving in the mail from September 12. The postal vote closes 7 November. Please make sure you post it back promptly. Don’t let it gather dust!

To clarify: Although I’m an androgyne and the name on my birth certificate is “Margaret Dylan Jones,” I am legally male. This means Jenny and I can get married whenever we want, which is sadly not the case for so many other LGBTI people.

For links and info about the plebiscite/survey on marriage equality in Australia, and a brief glossary for the terms Mx (Mix), androgyne, cisgender, transgender, intersex, non-binary and enby, see http://mixmargaret.com/links/

See my major article about Mx or Mix, a non-binary transgender honorific title: About Mx, with Miss, Mrs, Mr, Ms, and the singular they

5 thoughts on “Supporting the Institution of Marriage. A Trans Perspective

  1. Read your blog about same sex/intersex and transgenger marriages. To me it is way better if two people, regardless of who they are and can provide a safe, loving and secure home SHOULD be allowed to marry.

    I’m also very passionate about if a gay couple want children via adoption or surrogacy and they can provide a safe, stable and loving home SHOULD be allowed to do so.

    It would be great to see some big changes towards this in my lifetime. I am voting yes. xxxx

  2. Hi Margaret & Jen,

    I’ve just returned to the UK after six weeks in Australia where I was witnessing some of the response to the imminent postal vote. Most of the people who are alarmed about this issue and likely to vote ‘No’ have had no or little contact with same sex and transgender people so they are likely to make a decision based on a small amount of information.

    I have same sex friends here in the UK who are now married and they have always been committed to each other; the change in the way the law treats them is crucial to their well being and this is especially the case for couples who are caring for children.

    Not being a resident of Australia means I will not be allowed to vote but if I had been given that opportunity, I would definitely have voted YES. I wish you both every happiness together!

    Wendy xx

  3. Hi Margaret & Jenny,

    Thanks for sharing your video and blog with me. I agree
    wholeheartedly with what you have both said and the video was very
    moving and made your words even more meaningful.

    I still feel very angry with the current government, that they would
    not settle this decision within their parliamentary obligations. To
    put this decision as a “survey” to the Australian people, creates
    division and condones hate speech and possible physical harm to LGBTI
    people. Who one chooses to love and marry does not require approval
    or permission from anyone other than themselves. We are all equal
    regardless of our sexual orientation.

    At first I wanted to not vote at all, and know friends who feel so
    incensed about this gutless decision by the Government that some of
    them will still probably not vote. They believe that marriage for
    LGBTI people should not even be an issue in this day and age and that
    the legislation should just be changed as a matter of course to
    reflect this.

    I still feel very torn about being dragged into playing
    this ugly game, but I will vote, and will vote YES, because I want it
    to all be over for once and all, and even if it fails this time Labor
    have promised when they come back into power they will legislate for
    marriage equality within the first 100 days.

    This has turned into a much longer email than I intended, but mostly I
    want to wish you both a happy and loving life together.

    Best Wishes
    Jan Woodley
    Sent from my iPad

  4. The Australian Newspaper on 16 August 2017: “Mr Kirby [openly gay former High Court justice Michael Kirby] initially declared he would have no part in the postal ballot but later said he had always intended on voting Yes if it survived various legal challenges.” Kirby intends to VOTE YES.

    Please don’t boycott, that makes no sense.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/jewish-group-backs-michael-kirby-after-gay-marriage-holocaust-comparison/news-story/

  5. More about the problems that intersex Australians have had with marriage (and a bit about transgender people):

    “It is OII Australia’s considered view, having listened to legal opinion, that the judgement of Bell stands and that intersex people are precluded from marriage as a consequence. We acknowledge an appeal against that judgement would most probably be successful.

    “There is also a notion afoot that only trans people have to divorce to have their cardinal documents changed. Intersex people have to be single to change their cardinal documents when they reject their birth assignment. Perceived same sex marriage [rather than full marriage equality] is just as troubling for intersex as it is for trans.”

    From OII Australia – Intersex Australia (Organisation Intersex International Australia Limited), in 2012. https://oii.org.au/21183/intersex-people-and-marriage-analysis/

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