news

Australia's first openly gay Indigenous politician gives impassioned plea for marriage equality

2016-10-19
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 as he told members that he is "eternally proud of who I am and where I come from". Chansey Paech, the Northern Territory Labor MLA for Namatjira, used his speech at the opening of the 13th NT parliament in Darwin on Tuesday to proudly proclaim both his sexuality and heritage to his new colleagues. "I own it and wear it with pride," said the 28-year-old. "I am young, I am gay, I am black; a true-blue Territorian. I am a proud face of the diversity and future of the great Australian Labor party. "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." The former Alice Springs town councillor, who is of Arnada and Gurindji descent, won his seat with almost 60% of the vote earlier this year, despite suffering smears from homophobic opposition supporters keen to use his sexuality against him. "That kind of language the electorate didn’t respond well to,'" Paech told BuzzFeed News following his election victory. "The most beautiful thing was when I was at a remote community [campaigning] and people said to me, 'They said you were a gay and we said we didn’t care, we just want houses.'" More stories: Neil Milan quits Clean Bandit: ‘It’s the right decision’ Hollyoaks’ Duncan James: ‘Ryan and Ste could end up in bed together’