This year shows the highest degree of direct public debate so far in history. The issues surround gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex equality. Will Australia look seriously at changing the Marriage Act and thus “redefine” civil definition of marriage under the law? Will Australia support gay marriage or not?
This debate is ages old, older in fact than Christianity’s mere 2000 or so years. In the ancient worlds of many countries including Greece and Rome male to male and female to female coupling was not foreign to citizenship. Indigenous cultures around the world hold a vast store house of wisdom around same-sex coupling that often speaks of deeper truth around issues of gender as a quality of being rather than a static sexual identity.
The latter idea of sex as identity and sexual body parts as defining a person as male verses female, are indeed relatively recent developments that followed medieval obsessions. During the enlightenment and industrial revolution these obsessional attitudes toward sex and sexuality deepened into social-psychological fixations. The most extreme examples being hyper masculinity and the far side of femme – which may have their place and time in many people’s life experience but usually, for most people, these times tend to evolve and grow into gender integration in a wider human maturity that embraces male and female traits into oneness.
Closer to home in Aboriginal and First Nations cultures we see ancient and contemporary examples of Two Spirited identities. In Australia we see the Sister Girl tradition of acceptance and support of gender non-conformity and same-sex love. In Canada, we see the Two Spirit Elder tradition where people are highly valued for integrating feminine and masculine spiritual qualities of being into one person, one embodiment.
In contemporary counselling psychotherapy, there is much work being done by way of supporting GLBTI people, their couple relations, and their building of strong parenting and strong families. In secular professional standards under the Australian Counselling Association and the American Counselling Association, to name only two bodies in western countries, there is a clear recognition that GLBTI people require genuine support within a healthy lifestyle model of gender and sexuality.
This translates into saying: Ability Therapy Specialists as an Australian based international project fully endorses and supports marriage equality in Australia. More so, we fully support equal access to professional couple counselling and family therapy services in Australia and around the world. This is not only an ethical commitment, this is at the heart of our social advocacy, our research, and our professional efforts over many years.