Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes has sent a heartfelt message to Malcolm Turnbull.
Hayes told the Prime Minister that the $160 million earmarked for a marriage equality plebiscite would be “wasted” and the money could be better spent on mental health care for members of the LGBT community “who are depressed or suicidal as a result of living in a world where they are considered second class citizens”.
In the letter, he said: “You are the leader of one of the most progressive and fortunate nations in the world and yet your government still denies equality to LGBT people.
“I know you are aware that in Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 44 and that same-sex attracted Australians have up to 14 times higher rate of suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers.
“I also know you’re aware this is deeply rooted in the sense of shame and rejection that comes from living in a society where being LGBT is considered ‘less than’.”
Hayes married his partner Richard Cullen in London ten years ago and again in California in 2013, where the couple now live.
“I can tell you first hand — being able to marry the person I love and to live in countries where my marriage is recognised — probably saved my life,” Hayes told the PM.
“I struggled tremendously with anxiety and depression related in part to my sexuality and growing up in a time when to be gay felt to me like a death sentence.
“I was bullied, I was tormented and eventually I convinced myself the person my mother gave birth to was something to be ashamed of.
“I buried my sense of self and in turn developed a sense of self-hatred and shame that almost cost me my life.”
We can only hope the message is music to the ears of, not only Mr Turnbull, but every other politician in the hallowed corridors of power in Canberra.