KIRSTY had just spent 17 hours in gruelling labour with her second child. Alone and naked in the shower, head spinning with the immensity of what had just occurred, she looked up to find her midwife attacking her, because she was gay.
"First she told me off because I'd left my baby with 'a friend', while I went to have a shower. But when I explained that the friend was actually my partner, Roz and she was having skin on skin time with our baby, she said, 'You're disgusting for wanting to carry on this farce of two mums.'
"I was so shocked I said nothing. I was silent. I was literally at my most vulnerable," Kirsty said.
Kirsty made a formal complaint to the hospital
Shortly afterwards, when Kirsty had time to collect herself, she requested a new midwife and made sure her abusive midwife was not allowed to return to her room.
When Kirsty and Roz left the hospital with their new baby daughter, Kirsty made a formal complaint about the midwife, but their response was lukewarm.
"I was told they would give more ethics training," Kirsty said.
Kirsty's horrible post-birth story is just one of several incidents of homophobic abuse she's experienced as a gay woman in Australia.
She's courageously shared some of them on Facebook, under the #TheyGetToVote hashtag, started by comedian Josh Thomas, as part of the ongoing same-sex marriage postal survey campaign.
Now for the rest of Kirsty's story...
Here's the post that Kirsty shared on her Facebook page:
I was sexually harassed and physically assaulted at work because I am gay. So respectful. #theygettovote
A doctor refused to see my toddler because her parents are gay. What about the kids? #theygettovote
My home has been vandalised because I am gay. Already equal. Homophobia doesn't exist. #theygettovote
Anyone who knows me well, knows just how much I am struggling at the moment. Mentally. Emotionally. I'm. Really. Struggling.
I can't even describe how humiliating and dehumanising it feels to know that my personal, intimate relationship is up for judgement by every adult I come across. I struggle to come to terms with the fact that people would actually vote to stop Roz and I from being each other's next of kin, from accessing our joint assets in the event that one of us dies.
That people would prevent me from planning the funeral of my wife or that they would put either of us in the position where we might have to fight to keep our children together in the only home they've ever known if one of us is dead.
I don't want pity. I don't want platitudes. I just want people to think clearly about what they're doing to actual people when they engage with this.
If you read nothing else on social media today, make it the stories people are sharing with this hashtag, but prepare yourself for cruelty, violence and downright disgrace; made worse (if that's possible) because they're real human experiences that expose the shocking reality of life for Australia's LGBTIQ community.
Mardi Gras morning, I see car stop on oxford street-4 men jump out. Push a gay to the ground, break his teeth. They drive off #TheyGetToVote— Josh Thomas 🌈 (@JoshThomas87) September 13, 2017
Coming out of a gay bar, some guy came past me on his bike, spat at me and yelled 'DYKE'. #TheyGetToVote— Tess Randles (@I8AllYourBees_0) September 13, 2017
I held a boys hand at school and was pelted with rocks then they threw me in the urinal. Teacher told me to, "be more aware." #TheyGetToVote— BM (@macleanbrendan) September 13, 2017
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