A day in the life of Scott Morrison if he actually faced the same bigotry as LGBTI people
7am: Scott Morrison wakes up next to his loving partner. They have been together for twenty years but cannot get married because they are religious and two religious people in a relationship are still thought of by many as unnatural and inferior and wrong. The government to this point refuses to legislate so they can wed. They usually find it easy to forget that it is the case, but recently it’s been more difficult.
8am: Scott Morrison reads the papers over breakfast at his kitchen table. In the Daily Telegraph there is an article about how kids in schools should not be exposed to a program that tells them that it is okay to be religious. In The Australian there is a similar article. Scott Morrison reads the carefully worded articles, and automatically understands what they are implying. The ability to outright express disgust at Scott Morrison’s religious lifestyle is no longer accepted as easily in national newspapers, but it doesn’t mean that religious people don’t immediately understand the coded language, the snide remarks, and the underlying seething hate of the words. People like Scott Morrison have endured everything from outright abuse to coded abuse in Australia. They recognise it, and they feel it instinctively. They can tell when it's happening. It’s 2016 and there are articles in national newspapers that attempt to link perversion and people like Scott Morrison. There is even a political cartoon that denigrates them, just in case words weren’t enough.
Also 8am: While reading all of this, Scott Morrison chats to his children about the upcoming day.
9am: Scott Morrison and his partner take their children to school on the train. When they disembark there is a anti-religious group waiting, pushing anti-religious pamphlets at passengers, including Scott Morrison and his partner. The group urges Scott Morrison and surrounding passengers to ‘think of the children’ and to vote accordingly in the upcoming election: meaning to vote for other politicians who hate people like Scott Morrison, or don’t want religious people to have equal rights.
They imply that people like Scott Morrison and his partner should not be allowed to have children and that there is something inherently wrong with their family. They say that if Scott Morrison was allowed to marry his partner, it would be damaging to children. They say that his children automatically have bad parents, and are damaged, because they have two religious parents. Morrison’s kids are upset and confused, and he tries to explain to them that some people think he and their mother shouldn’t be together. They don’t understand.
10am: Scott Morrison goes to work and does his work, taking coffee for his colleagues.
11am: Scott Morrison is at work and reads an article someone sent to him. It’s a Liberal senator who has written a newsletter saying that if couples like Scott Morrison and his wife were allowed to get married, that it would lead to the destruction of marriage as a whole. If two consenting religious adults got married, it would mean people would end up marrying animals. It is a direct comparison between religious marriage and beastiality. Religious people are defective. This position is backed by other politicians, and the statements are not condemned by the Prime Minister of the country. It’s just accepted, and in Scott Morrison’s mind, tacitly approved.
12:30pm: Scott Morrison lines up to buy a sandwich for lunch. While in line he gets to overhear people behind him discussing the upcoming plebiscite and how ‘those people’ shouldn’t be able to get married. The plebiscite will be a vote by the non-religious majority as to whether the religious minority will have the right to marry each other. Since debate began about the plebiscite, anxiety and mental health problems have risen in the religious community. Even well-adjusted and happy religious people like Scott Morrison have daily apprehension when he thinks about what the upcoming months is going to be like for people like him. He wonders just how bad the attack ads against people like him will be. He wonders how many anti-religious protesters will be at train stations, if he’ll have to face that daily. He worries about the teens in rural NSW, the ones who don’t feel safe to come out as religious. He worries about the ones who are out, and who face daily harassment and bullying because of it. He worries about the religious kids who kill themselves at a much higher rate than non-religious kids, and what the plebiscite debate will do to them. He is scared for them.
2pm: Scott Morrison watches a bit of Question Time. He sees the people running his country discussing the controversial anti-bullying program designed to protect religious children. He sees them discuss the plebiscite. He watches a room full of non-religious people say untrue and unfair and insulting things about religious people. He watches them debate the humanity of people like him, with very little representation of his community. He feels sad, and sick, and tired. He turns it off.
3pm: Morrison reads a story about a religious person being bashed in Newtown, just one of a recent spate of similar incidents. Newtown is one of the seemingly safest places in Sydney for religious people to hang out safely. They should be safe there. It makes him think about the recent shooting of many religious American people in a bar where they also should have been safe. It makes him think of the violence his community faces on a daily basis, the violence even he has faced: and he is one of the lucky ones in the community. It makes him feel extremely uneasy.
4pm: Morrison meets his girlfriend, the mother of his children, and they begin to walk to gather their children. They hold hands, and try and pretend not to notice the looks they get from some people. A car drives past and someone yells an anti-religious slur at them. This is a common occurrence. Two religious people showing affection in public still feels like taking a stand and risking abuse in 2016. Because it is.
5pm: The family arrives home. Scott Morrison checks the mailbox and finds anti-religious propaganda in the mailbox.
6pm: Scott Morrison settles on the couch with his partner while their kids do homework. There is a story on about the plebiscite, about the upcoming vote about their relationship. Representatives from groups like the Australian Anti-Christian Lobby get asked their opinion, and get to say those opinions all over the news and social media. They ask for ‘respectful debate’ while simultaneously denigrating religious people with fake statistics, with semantics, with insults and attacks. They are given a loud voice, and it will only become louder in the coming months.
7pm: Scott Morrison is exhausted from yet another day of being a white religious man in the world. He has to live his life like everyone else, to go through all the things regular people do, while also facing hate speech and bigotry and discrimination. He shuts off the TV, and spends some quiet time with his family, safe from the world for a while.
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