Australian politician Matt Canavan, a straight cisgender white man who has presumably never experienced discrimination, recently said that marriage equality advocates need to "grow a spine" and "stop being delicate little flowers."
Mental health experts were quick to criticize the comments, but the most powerful response was penned by Michael Koziol, an immigration and legal affairs reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
In an open letter published in The Age titled "This Is A Spine," Koziol brilliantly and heartbreakingly explained the struggles faced by the LGBTQ community.
"Matt Canavan, I'm sorry that you feel that some gay people and their supporters need to 'grow a spine' and stop being 'delicate little flowers' and I'm so glad you are able to ignore the vile tweets and statements from the 'yes' campaign," Koziol wrote.
"Unfortunately, I haven't been able to ignore the following: My first intimacy was illegal. My boss said 'backs to the wall' upon my entering a work meeting (in the '70s) much to the amusement of the staff. I've been pushed down a flight of stairs because I am gay. My partner suffered a fractured eye socket because he is gay," he continued. "I had a close friend killed in Fitzroy Gardens for holding hands with his partner. Those experiences (and many more) over the past 60 years have given me a spine and I am not a delicate flower."
"I'm just someone who wants to be treated just as equally under the law as my heterosexual friends, parents and brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces," Koziol concluded.
As of this writing, it appears that Canavan has yet to respond to Koziol's letter.