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Opinion

We are not so different: The pain of Invasion Day

January 26 is marketed to us as a fun-filled day of drinking, barbecues, and friends, celebrating what it means to be Australian.

Australians themselves are depicted as happy-go-lucky larrikins, friendly and easy-going with a smile and a g’day.

The truth is that Australians are only easy-going as long as things don’t change from the comfortable happy bubble of contentment that they have always known.

Queer people know this – we have had it shoved in our faces, entrenched in our blood, paying for the tiny steps forward (marriage equality plebiscite anyone?) with broken bones, hearts, and lives.

Why then do queer Australians so easily forget the pain and suffering of their siblings in the Indigenous community?

Aboriginal people of all the nations around Australia are bleeding with pain, rage, and frustration at the way we are still treated.

For so many of us, Australia Day – Invasion Day – is a focal point.

It’s a way for us to raise our voices once more, when we are so tired it hurts to even open our mouths.

This celebration of the colonisation of our people, our land, and all the rape, murder, slavery, and attempted genocide that came with it is a stab to the heart every year.

Yet when we talk about it to our allies, our communities, it’s pushed aside.

I get it – the harrows of our trauma as queer people are often overwhelming.

How can we have the emotional energy to tackle the trauma of Indigenous people?

For those of us who are queer and Indigenous, I say how can we not?

After all, so much of the hurt we endure today (still having families ripped apart, still being locked up, still being discriminated against in every facet of our lives) is based on the white, colonial Christian ideals our society is founded on.

The very ideals that created the religious discrimination bill that would hurt us as queer people also tear apart Aboriginal families and communities and see our land torn from us.

Personally, I think it is too easy for people to bury their heads in the sand – it happened so long ago, after all.

Except it didn’t, and it’s still going.

My mama was taken from her family as a child and put in an orphanage, adopted by an English family.

My mother then spent years coaxing information from her and desperately attempting to connect with our mob to try and find our family and our heritage.

Now I am doing the same.

My mama died four years ago, having never spoken of her trauma that has trickled down to affect us all.

I look at my queer community and see their suffering, and I wonder, how can it be that so many don’t look at us and see it reflected right back?

This Invasion Day, take a moment to see how all our struggles are connected, and give your love to the Indigenous people in your community.

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