[box]Independent candidate for the up coming South-West Coast by-election, MICHAEL McCLUSKEY, has publicly endorsed the push for same sex marriage equality. He explains more here:[/box]
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #8F9F59;”] I [/dropcap]strongly believe in the right of individuals who identify as being attracted to partners of the same sex to be given the freedom to publicly express their relationship commitment with each other via the institution of marriage if they should choose to do so.
Anyone with a sound working knowledge of brain science (neuroscience) and the ever expanding field of epigenetics, which deals with the expression and function of our genes, would understand that brain function does not fit neatly into a handful of ‘boxes’.
There are many normal and varied patterns of behavioural expressions along the complex spectrum of brain functioning and human individuality. This includes normal variations in sexual identity and expression. Like many other human traits, sexual attraction does not fit neatly within a ‘single label’ and both ‘same’ and ‘opposite’ sex attraction have equal validity.
Society is in an ever-evolving state in relation to our tendency to want to ‘pathologise’ human differences between individual members within a community. Thankfully we are slowly becoming better at embracing our differences be they of a sexual, racial, ethnic or religious nature. Not so long ago we physically punished a child for being left handed. Thankfully that belief lives in the past. How much longer will it be before some of our antiquated beliefs about same sex couples are also left to the history books?
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #8F9F59;”] A [/dropcap]ustralian society has travelled a long path in its relationship with sexual identity.
It was not so long ago we were imprisoning people who were in same sex relationships. Even as late as the 1970’s psychiatry was still labelling same sex attraction as an abnormality. Psychiatry’s DSM, the ‘bible’ of psychiatric disorders, which is drawn up by some of the greatest medical minds in the world, was still labelling same sex attraction as a mental illness that needed medical intervention to help ‘cure’ it.
Thankfully today the level of acceptance within society towards same sex couples has come a along way from those well meaning but very ill-informed social, religious and scientific dogmas.
The current scientific research is quite clear on same sex attraction. Same-sex attraction, orientation and behaviour is a healthy variant along the normal spectrum of human sexuality.
The American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2009 clearly states that ‘The research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviours are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, regardless of sexual orientation identity. There is a growing body of evidence concluding that sexual stigma, manifested as prejudice and discrimination directed at non-heterosexual sexual orientations and identities, is a major source of stress for sexual minorities. This stress, known as minority stress, is a factor in mental health disparities found in some sexual minorities.’
The Australian Psychological Association also states that it ‘supports full marriage equality for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, on human rights, health and wellbeing grounds and that the most important family factors for children’s well-being are family processes and the quality of interactions and relationships, not family structures (like having a mother and a father).’
I believe the quality of love a child receives is the ultimate determinate of their future emotional, mental and physical health and this quality is not defined by the gender of the care giver. Our economic potential is also intimately linked to the quality of love we receive in childhood.
The current political approach to same sex equality might best be characterised by paraphrasing an old quote: “Sometimes the longest journey a politician undertakes is the one from their head to their heart”.
Dr Michael McCluskey B.V.Sc. (Hons.)
South-West Coast electorate
(8 Megan Ct, W’bool.)