I interviewed Bern in her beautiful four-bedroom house, to the accompaniment of a budgie called Snowstripe. Like my home, it was strewn with toys and the walls were adorned with photos – a little child, loving parents.
We were a few days late getting to the interview. Bern’s five-year-old child had been sick with the gastro bug going around Sydney. Bern works from home and had managed to squeeze me in between meetings on a warm spring morning.
So, a normal mother, busy with work and parenting, in a normal family. As Bern said,
“We have a 5-year-old child. Property, investments, insurances, wills, we have everything every other loving couple has. Apart from the right to have our relationship recognised by [Australian] law.”
Bern volunteers with community organisations, including Park Run and Rainbow Families. She is warm, kind and welcoming. The values she learnt from her family of origin, in particular her father, are abundantly reflected in the life she leads: The importance of commitment to family, raising a child in a loving environment, treating others with respect and compassion, leading a life of integrity.
It makes it feel very strange to know that GLBTQIA families like Bern’s are “on the receiving end of the negative feedback of this postal plebiscite debate, there’s lots of hate and horrible things being said about ourselves and our family and members of our community.”
When it comes to marriage equality, in the words of Bern’s five-year-old, “Wouldn’t it be a really nice world if everybody voted yes?”