“I am young, I am gay, I am black… I am proud.”
Australia’s first openly gay Indigenous politician used his maiden speech to the Northern Territory parliament this week to make an impassioned plea for marriage equality.
Chansey Paech, the Northern Territory Labor MLA for Namatjira, used his speech on Tuesday to proudly proclaim both his sexuality and heritage to his new colleagues.
“I am a Centralian man. I am the nation’s first openly gay Indigenous parliamentarian. I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from. I own it and wear it with pride,” he said.
The 28-year-old used his speech to support same-sex marriage and the constitutional recognition of indigenous people.
“I look forward to the day when this country will recognise my rights as equal rights, when I too can marry in my country, on my country, as a recognised first Australian.”
Mr Paech wants to advocate for young indigenous LGBT people living in his remote electorate and same-sex adoption reforms.
“This Chamber will always be a place for members to explore the wonders of diversity, to represent interest groups and participate in robust discussions, but I will never allow or tolerate discrimination, homophobia, or hate speech in this Assembly,” he added.
Paech also said he was honoured to reflect the diversity and future of the Australian Labor Party.
“Becoming a member of parliament as a gay Aboriginal man is a good representation and reflects well on the Northern Territory and it sends a really good message to our young people.”
He explained that his journey has come at a price that some people accept and others refuse.