After two months of ‘respectful debate’ – and I use this term in the loosest way possible – Australians, 61.6% of them at least, agreed that I should be treated as equal to any heterosexual person from this great nation I call home, according to a national survey.

The reaction of my colleagues

The response from my colleagues at The CEO Magazine has been nothing but supportive. For me, this came as an enormous relief, mainly because it is an unprecedented situation.

After the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced the result this morning, I shed a couple of tears.

After the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced the result this morning, I shed a couple of tears.

 

For five or so minutes, there was discussion about what would happen next, as well as hugs from some of my colleagues, many of whom have become such great friends in the four months I’ve been at the magazine.

But you wouldn’t believe what happened next… Everyone just went back to work.

While there was no grand celebration to be had, I took pleasure in the fact my colleagues continued to treat me like their equal, as they’ve done since I entered this place on Day 1.

A celebration would be over-the-top. They didn’t need a national survey from the ABS to show their human qualities. That’s right. Life went on as it normally does.

Contrary to the end-of-the-world prognostications from people like Lyle Shelton, Cory Bernardi and Tony Abbott, my colleagues continued working away trying to reach whatever deadline or sales target they had set in front of them.

They went about being their professional selves, doing what they do every day in this office – creating an inspirational magazine.

In fact, many of my colleagues probably didn’t get to follow the result live. They’re too busy in Melbourne preparing for our annual Executive of the Year Awards, a shindig I have every confidence they will perfectly pull off like they have always done.

The personal meaning

But shameless plug aside, this result takes on a deeper personal meaning.

I first became aware of my sexuality during high school. It wasn’t until I started university over 10 years ago that I came out of the closet; first to a few friends, and then to my mother shortly after.

They already knew, I would soon find out, as did many other close friends and family.

Regardless, it was a great relief for me. I could breathe normally again. I could be my full self and the world would become more accepting of who I am. And it has, in 24 countries and counting.

But in Australia, my home, there is still no marriage equality. The issue has become a political plaything by our politicians over the past few years, culminating in a national survey that has not just been hurtful but grossly unnecessary.

Again, I had to go through the indignity of having everyone around me decide my worth as a human being, with constant daily reminders on the radio driving to work as well as seeing campaign posters while walking down my local street. The ‘respectful debate’ even encroached on the simple pleasure of looking at the sky.

I had to go through the indignity of having everyone around me decide my worth as a human being.

 

Nevertheless, I ticked the ‘Yes’ box, put the paper in the sealed envelope and dropped it in a post box near the office.

Thankfully, today’s result was not only correct, but also unequivocal. The onus is now on our politicians to fulfil their end of the bargain and validate what is a clear mandate from the Australian people.

Now that I write articles about how C-suite leaders inspire others for a magazine boasting the slogan, ‘Inspiring the business world’, I hope that I too can inspire others to be the best version of themselves, no matter their background.

Today’s result has emboldened me to keep on doing precisely that. But I won’t be able to unless I am free to bring my full self to the task.

With the support of my colleagues and, from today, most of Australia, this will no longer be a problem. That is what today’s result means to me.