Portraits of LGBTQIA+ life celebrate marriage vote result

Behind the politics of the postal survey on changing marriage, are human stories of personal identity, love, family and community.

Penny Whetton and Janet Rice

As Australia celebrates the endorsement of changing the Marriage Act announced today, those stories are at the centre of a new exhibition at the Immigration Museum.

Save the Date is named for the wedding notifications expected to flow once the law changes. It features 16 photographic portraits of individuals, couples, families and groups who identify as LGBTQIA+ or are deeply affected by the change.

Indigenous artist Peter Waples-Crowe, musician Cash Savage and activist Jax Jacki Brown are among those included in the exhibition.

Greens Senator Janet Rice is photographed with her wife Penny Whetton. They wrote for the exhibition, "We've been married for 31 years. For us equality will mean our relationship will once again be seen as normal and accepted, rather than some weird loophole. Penny transitioned 14 years ago, and we've only been able to stay married because she hasn't affirmed her gender on her birth certificate. For her to do that we would be forced to divorce – not an option given we still love each other!

"We are so looking forward to being part of the outbreak of joy across the country, us celebrating staying married, and welcoming so many LGBTQIA+ couples in joining us."

The Immigration Museum exhibition is the second part of a two part exploration of marriage equality, the first looking at the history of the debate and the second its personal impact. It comes in the context of a move by the Immigration Museum to explore a greater range of contemporary identity stories.

Museums Victoria CEO Lynley Marshall said, “This exhibition shows the human faces of a section of our community who have long been excluded from the basic right to legal marriage. They are shown in the context of the Immigration Museum’s commitment to exploring themes of identity, social inclusion and human rights.

"We are proud to be recording history as it happens and acknowledging the important public endorsement which is expected to lead to legislative change and contribute to improved social cohesion and equity."

Museums Victoria is the custodian the site of the first national parliament – the Royal Exhibition Building, which tonight and for the next week will be lit in the rainbow colours to celebrate the step towards equality.

The exhibition opened on 15 November to coincide with the postal survey announcement and will run at the Immigration Museum until March 2018. 

Save the Date
Immigration Museum
400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
15 November 2017 to March 2018

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