Politician reveals he was victim of horrific gay-bashing in plea for equal marriage
An Australian political hopeful has revealed he was once the victim of a gay bashing – in a powerful plea for equal marriage.
Matt Loader, who formerly headed the Let’s Get Equal campaign, is standing for Labor next month in the Australian federal election for the seat of Sturt.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Mr Loader attempted to explain why it’s important to him that the Labor Party has pledged to swiftly pass equal marriage legislation if elected.
He said: “I know why hundreds of thousands of Australians think this issue is important.
“It took me a long time to come out about my sexuality with my family and friends, and some years later as a young man, I was walking home one night with someone, when I encountered three drunken louts who thought it was OK to bash me up because I was different.
“They bashed me up so badly I lost two teeth… They bashed me up so badly that I lost permanent feeling on the left hand side of my face.”
So badly that it took me six weeks before I could return to work, and so badly that it was six months before I stopped having flashbacks and stopped being afraid to walk my own neighbourhood at night.
“Marriage equality is so much more important as a symbol of what Australia should and can be. If we cannot give our citizens equal citizenship, we’re giving a green light to hatred.
“Australia can do so much better than this and there will be no prouder moment in my life than if I have the opportunity to stand on the floor of the Parliament and cast my vote in favour of changing this law.”
Speaking to Buzzfeed, the candidate said: “There are thousands of young Australians experiencing bullying, victimisation and harassment everyday on account of their sexuality. I wanted them to know it’s important and they’re not alone.
“Until we change our marriage laws we are still saying that some people and some relationships are less equal than others, thereby giving to some degree a licence to some people with prejudice to act in violent ways – giving a green light to their bigotry.”