Patrick Love

An open letter to my (ex) headmaster after the marriage equality vote

While the vote may be complete, the fight is certainly not over, and those who fought for equal rights must continue to do so, and be praised for that fact. My headmaster is one of those people.

 

 

Dear Stephen,

Can I call you Stephen? I’m not sure what the protocol is for a student who finished over a decade ago.

You may not remember me very well. No doubt as you’ve been an educator for many years you’ve seen thousands upon thousands of students come and go, but I definitely remember you.

I think the most time we ever spent together was when you covered my Year 11 history class for a couple of months. This stands out in my memory because, and I’m not sure if you actually are aware of this or not, when you would talk in front of the class you used to gesticulate with your fists closed and your middle finger raised on each hand.

That’s right. You used to flip us off. Every class.

This stands out to me because it was so counter-cultural to the “gentlemanly behaviour” your school used to try to impregnate into rebellious adolescent boys. Here was a man who would openly give the bird to the very institution he represented.

Anyway, let me get to the actual reason why I’m writing to you today, something else I remember from my last couple of years of schooling, back when John Howard was still Prime Minister. I wanted to chat about how supportive the school was of its students.

Going to a single sex school can be hard. Bullying can be rife, particularly amongst young men. This goes double for Catholic schools, especially for those who are in some way different.

When I was in my senior years a couple of guys came out as gay. This was around the same time Howard changed the marriage act. I remember thinking at the time about how courageous these young men were, and most of the other students must have thought the same because as far as I could see no one was anything but supportive.

There was an unspoken concern however about how the school would respond. The Catholic church has historically not been kind to people who are same sex attracted.

Well, you blew me away. You embraced these two fantastic guys. They were encouraged to be themselves. Heck, you even appointed them to senior leadership positions.

At this time the school demonstrated the trust, love and respect it has for its students.

You taught us to stand up for what we believe in and to support each other. We were told to fight for what’s right and to say no to bullies.

I am asking you to do this again.

I’m asking you to publicly support marriage equality.

There is no reason as far as I can see for your school, my school, to not stand by these students once more.

Australia has voted yes in a survey we didn’t want. The debates are done, the bill has passed, marriage equality is the law of the land. Yet conservatives still resist.

 

There was an unspoken concern however about how the school would respond. The Catholic church has historically not been kind to people who are same sex attracted.

 

The same old arguments are being made – that same sex relationships go against the church’s teachings, that marriage would be an abomination. This is contrary to the statistics that two thirds of Catholics support same sex marriage. Also, I should thank you for suggesting that I study theology during VCE, because I’ve looked at the Bible pretty thoroughly and there’s really nothing in there that rejects marriage equality. Or LGBQI people at all. It’s almost like hardcore conservatives pick and choose obscure passages…

So that’s why we need you.

You should be willing to stand up to the Church and those in the community who oppose same sex marriage. There is no logical or human reason to not support it, apart from homophobia.

Support your students, new and old. Lots of us are hurting after the debate, the passing of the bill hasn’t magically cured that.

You taught us to stand up to our friends when they are wrong, now I’m asking the same of you.

If they put up a fight just give them the finger, it certainly won me over.

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Love.

 

Patrick Love

Patrick is putting himself through school, learning how to write unpopular fiction to one day become Dr. Love. He believes partisan politics is holding progress back, as it’s easier to accept everybody’s wrong.

Related posts

Top