‘Love Like Yours.’ is the story of Brisbane gay rights activist and film-maker Chad St. James challenging the current Australian legislation with the hope to bring awareness to the the daily discrimination faced by members of the LGBTI community on a daily basis for simply being who they are.
Chad caught up with Luciana in Brisbane ,on her recent tour to Australia to discus the issues close to their heart.
You have been very vocal in your support of marriage equality, why is this issue important to you?
Equality should be important to everyone; I have no idea why as a species we feel the need to discriminate. It’s heart breaking. On a personal level some of my closest friends and my best friend is Gay, Of course I will use my position to stand up for gay rights because I see it as act against my friends and loved ones.
Having a massive LGBTI fan base do you think this has opened your eyes to some of the injustices the LGBTI community faces on a daily basis for simply being who they are?
Yes of course, every day I read something online that discriminates against the LGBT community and it makes me so angry. It makes me hypersensitive to their issues and I become very protective.
In Australia we have governmental legislation in the form of the marriage act, it defines marriage as between a man and a woman. What are your thoughts on this?
I think most rules and acts are outdated and need modernizing. Religion for example can be so misleading and open to interpretation. I think the whole thing needs updating to this century. It’s a fact that human beings produce gays and lesbians. We just need to get over it, accept it and adapt the law to be fair to everyone.
It is quite well known that LGBTI youth suffer higher rates of bullying and suicide, and then that of heterosexual youths, why do you think this is so?
I think this is because these young people see that from the top that they are discriminated against, it’s almost as if we condone hatred of them. Of course this will make them feel unloved and unprotected and no one wants to feel that way.
Do you believe that while governments endorse discrimination through legislation such as the marriage act, that homophobia, trans phobia and gay teen suicide will continue to be a problem?
Until we see acceptance and tolerance coming from the highest positions then we cannot move forward and these problems will not go away. These kids need to see their political leaders and people in authority saying “it’s ok; you can be who you are.”
2012 in Australia, and in specifically in Queensland under the new government saw the repeal of civil unions, a right won late 2011 watering it down to what is a register of relationship equal to that of registering a car or a pet dog, it also saw the defunding of QLD’s only LGBTI health organization Healthy Communities, and they’re announced a proposal to take away the surrogacy rights from same-sex couples. From an outsider’s perspective would you think of this as an attack on the LGBTI community’s simple civil rights?
How could you not take it as an attack? It’s shocking and unfair. In this day and age, in an era where most of our television and media personalities have strong and healthy ties to the LGBT community it seems archaic. It seems to me that the only people that have a real problem with this are the people who make the rules and are in authority. Why is it anyone business if 2 people from the same sex want to be married and have children? It’s beyond my comprehension.
I recently interviewed a trans woman called Rachel who married as a male and during nearly 24 years of marriage she has made steps of transitioning and identifying as female. Her and her partner are still happily married, but because of the legislation in Australia she cannot change her gender marker unless she divorces her wife. What are your thoughts?
My thoughts are sad ones. She should be allowed to stay married, it seems like too many rules and regulations are stopping people who are in love being legally married and not enough legislation is there to help them be secure. You cannot stop progress and history has shown us that one day all this will pass and we will look back and see how ridiculous it was.
One of the arguments used by opponents of same-sex marriage is “What about the children?” The claim is same-sex parents cannot equally fulfill the role parents as a heterosexual couple could. What are your views on this?
What about the children of heterosexual couples who have children and mistreat them and screw up and don’t fulfill their roles as parents. We know that there are sadly huge amounts of heterosexual couples who are not fit to look after children but you don’t see people lobbying to ban straight people having kids. There are good and bad parents whatever gender preference they have is irrelevant. We should be more concerned about children being cared for correctly by straight and gay couples.
What do you believe makes a solid foundation for a family?
I think love, makes a solid foundation for a family. I was lucky enough to come from a family where there was loads of love.
What does Love mean to you?
It means the world to me, it is my driving force and I think we cannot live or function happily without it.
Do you believe love has no gender?
I strongly believe that. Without a shadow of a doubt.
Lastly do you have a message that you would like to share with the world?
I think we should all do something everyday, no matter how small to remind the people in power, that, until we have equality we cannot move forward as a race.
I would say never give up hope that it will come, because it will come. You cannot stop progress and one day our youth with all their new values will grow up to change the laws for the better and the old dinosaurs with their antiquated morals will die off and be forgotten.
Keep moving Forward and remember love is the answer, you know that for sure.