• Blakfullas for Marriage equality was created for those most vulnerable in the 'NO campaign' for same-sex marriage. (Supplied)
Two black queer women have set up a campaign to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI people and their allies during the national same-sex marriage debate.
By
Emily Nicol

27 Aug 2017 - 2:42 PM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2017 - 6:11 PM

Blackfullas for Marriage Equality was created for those marginalised by the decision for the Government to run a postal vote on same sex marriage, and within only three days of publishing the Facebook page, founders Tarsha and Edie had over 1000 supporters. 

Talking to NITV, the pair said that the need for the voices of queer Indigenous people was very clear.  "As two black queer women, we were feeling particularly vulnerable with the plebiscite announcement. We know young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young members of the LGBTQI community are the most likely to experience poor mental health and the most likely to engage in unsafe sexual practices. When these identities intersect as they do for many young black people in this country these experiences are amplified. We appreciate all the great work that is being done by numerous other groups around the yes campaign and we are working to make sure our own narrative is a part of the story." 

"We know young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young members of the LGBTQI community are the most likely to experience poor mental health."

The two were overwhelmed with the swift response and are currently building a team across the country to engage community in all areas. "We are currently building a taskforce across all of the country and currently have about 20 people putting their hands up to lead initiatives in their communities since we published the expressions of interest form yesterday!"

Working alongside Indigenous health organisations the movement has a two fold platform, including, to educate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community about the upcoming postal plebiscite on the question of allowing same sex couples to marry under Australian law; and, to protect the LGBTQI Indigenous community from the negativity of the NO campaign by being louder, prouder and more prominent within community. 

The message of the group is to remain a strong voice for those that don't have it. "Our overall message is that whilst marriage is not a traditional idea, it forms the basis of legal discrimination for same sex couples and whilst indigenous people are no strangers to legal discrimination it is unjust and unfair," the Tarsha and Edie told NITV.   

"We know the 'no campaign' is likely to target the already marginalised and so we aim to be louder and prouder and drown out their attempts for the sake of LGBTQI members of the ATSI community. We are partnering with indigenous health orgs to make support service easier to access."

The group held a 'crafternoon' on Friday afternoon to create banners for Melbourne's Rally for Marriage Equality. They are continuing to seek support from the Indigenous community for the duration of the campaign.

To find out more about the plebiscite vote head here.

Read These Too
Being black and queer in Australia right now
The challenge of resisting against heterosexual "normality" and white institutions, but fighting for inclusion. Nayuka Gorrie urges support for LGBTIQA+ people in our communities during this time.
'He is my family': an open letter about same-sex marriage
Torres Strait Islander artist and dancer, Sani Ray Townson has been passionately vocal about the impact the plebiscite decision has had on him personally as an openly gay man and submitted a statement to NITV.
Could Same-Sex Marriage and Indigenous Recognition go hand in hand?
This week the Government confirmed the proposed plebiscite on whether Australia should legalise same-sex marriage. Some in Parliament oppose it, arguing it’s a ‘waste of money’, while others say rolling-up marriage equality and Indigenous Constitutional Recognition ‘in one go’ could save money.