Meet Penny Wong


rAbDo chiude il mese dell’orgoglio gay raccontando di Penny Wong, una politica australiana, leader dell’opposizione in senato, membro dell’ ALP (Australian Labor Party).  Penny vive ad Adelaide con la sua partner e le loro figlie. Nel suo tempo libero ama cucinare, acquistare prodotti freschi nei mercati degli agricoltori di Adelaide e, di tanto in tanto, godere di uno dei migliori vini del sud australiano.

Penny is inspiring, Penny is strong , Penny is smart, Penny is openly lesbian and has two daughters by her partner, Sophie Allouache, and is also a practising Christian, attending Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide, Australia.

It matters greatly what Penny Wong does and who she is, because she is an Australian politician, a member of the ALP (Australian Labor Party) and the first woman to be appointed Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Because of this, she lives in the public eye and can therefore influence many. I believe her influence is an incredibly positive one.

Born of an Australian mother and a Malaysian Chinese father, at the young age of eight she experienced her parents’ separation and the subsequent move from Malaysia to Adelaide, South Australia, with her mother and younger brother. Not only did Penny have to cope with prejudice, racism and marginalisation, but also, at times, with homophobia in a 70’s and 80’s Australia that looked nothing like the liberal, modern, open minded, egalitarian nation it is today.

Penny graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours at the University of Adelaide. She entered politics in 2002, after having been elected in 2001.

Her brother took his own life soon after her election to the Senate. He was only  thirty years old. Penny referred to him in her maiden speech: “Your life and death ensure that I shall never forget what it is like for those who are truly marginalised.”

Despite the wide acceptance of homosexuality in Australian society at large, and the fact that in 2008 the ‘same-sex law reform’ ensured that same-sex de facto couples and their families would have the same entitlements as opposite-sex de facto couples, Australia still does not allow gay marriage. Listen to this moving speech by Senator Wong in 2015 (scroll down for the video):

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/07/27/penny-wong-tears-during-emotional-speech-marriage-equality

I’ll finish with Penny’s own words: “There is nothing to fear from equality”.

Freddie Lamech

 

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