Geoff’s Story

Until we all belong – one dad’s story of acceptance

Some of Australia’s biggest businesses – including Airbnb, Qantas, ANZ, Fairfax Media and Foxtel – have thrown their considerable weight into the marriage equality debate with the launch of the “Until We All Belong” campaign.

This powerful idea calls on people to wear a Marc Newson-designed “acceptance ring” until same-sex marriage is legalised. The support of such a heavy-hitting conglomerate shows not only how far the issue has come in this country, but also how far there is to go.

The campaign is underlined by a series of clips created by advertising agency Clemenger Melbourne featuring everyday Australians who have loved ones impacted by current marriage restrictions. Grabbing our attention foremost was one video in which baby boomer and former Vietnam vet Geoff speaks candidly about finding out he has a gay son.

While Geoff looks and sounds like any of our dads, his full-circle acceptance is something to admire:

“Generally speaking, I was a product of homophobic upbringing. I didn’t think I could produce a gay son, if that makes any sense?

“When my wife handed me the phone one night and said: ‘Your son has something to tell you,’ I asked him: “What is it, mate?”

“After a pause he said: ‘Dad, I have to tell you, I’m gay’.

“So I asked myself: ‘What is it about gay people you don’t like? And that came down to unfounded fear, ignorance and prejudice.

“I was taught in the army, and by my truck-driver father, that gays were bad, [and] I accepted that black and white. When I fought in Vietnam… it’s trite… what motivates and inspires soldiers [is that] we’re representing our forebears , the blokes from Gallipoli and from the Second World War, who fought for freedom, and freedom means equality.

“In [Australia], freedom applies to everybody – and my son is denied that freedom.

“I always used to think that gays were weak people; when my son came out, that came back at me like an out of control steam train. I felt so ashamed but so proud of my son – you’re not a weak person if you stand up and say ‘I’m different’.

“And I would happily speak as a proud father at my son’s wedding.”

Airbnb is also making it easier for Australians – no matter where they call home – to get involved by making the rings free of charge and standardising postage costs across the country. For further information visit www.untilweallbelong.com.




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