'Yes' result a win for Tweed youth

MUCH of the nation was anxiously awaiting the result of the marriage equality postal survey on Wednesday.

For 22-year-old Adrian Ellis, the resounding "yes” offered a wave of relief.

Mr Ellis, a member of the Tweed Heads Youth Advisory Group, said the result had "solidified what most Australians wanted”.

"Although the postal vote was a huge waste of money and really affected Australians' views on the politicians and Prime Minister's decision-making, it was a great result overall,” Mr Ellis said.

"This isn't just about same-sex marriage, it's about equality for my community and others.”

While he welcomed the Richmond electorate's above-average support for the "yes” campaign, Mr Ellis said the survey process wasn't without ramifications for the Tweed's LGBTIQPA+ youth.

"It terrified me knowing that the nation will be analysing, determining and questioning my community, how I live my life and who I love,” he said.

"I felt like I was a creature being examined, poked and prodded under a microscope, which wasn't comfortable at all.”

As Senator Dean Smith's Bill went before the Senate this week, Mr Ellis was hopeful parliament would follow through with the changes before Christmas.

Claire Cottone is the community engagement officer at Headspace in Tweed Heads.

She said the Tweed's LGBTIQAP+ youth, in particular, had been significantly affected by the process of the postal survey.

Ms Cottone spearheaded the launch of the youth network Compass, which connects local young people of sexual and gender diversity.

The group recently held a diversity walk through the Tweed Heads CBD.

While the process had been difficult for many of them to navigate, she said this week's announcement was widely welcomed.

"These young people have an increased risk of anxiety, depression and suicide,” she said.

"They're quite a vulnerable group.

"In the Tweed area, there's not a lot of visibility. In Lismore there's Tropical Fruits, in this area there's not much.

"But one of the young people I work with... said to me (on Wednesday) it's a great day to be gay.”

Ms Cottone welcomed the Tweed Shire Council's support of the "yes” campaign and was optimistic the bill would be quickly passed.

Fingal Head woman Julie Robinson married Rosa Caceres in her wife's homeland of the US, but the couple have fought to have their union acknowledged in Australia. This week, they welcomed the public's "sensational” support of same sex marriage.

"The thing is, we could have saved ourselves $122 million and just passed it (in parliament),” she said.

Retired church minister John Bowles, of Cabarita, said while he wasn't surprised by the result, he would be keen to see whether any religious protections were implemented through amendments in either the Senate or House of Representatives.

"We'd better make sure that there's going to be no restrictions on ministers who have a conscientious objection to gay marriage,” Mr Bowles said.

To contact Headspace at Tweed Heads phone 0755898700.



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