We love to survey, we survey to love


For those blessedly under the proverbial rock, or perhaps deliberately shielding themselves from Australian media, the Australian public is currently being surveyed on the matter of marriage equality.

Most now in Australia will have received their survey information, many have already returned their response, but the debate and campaigning continues as to whether or not same sex couples in Australia should have the right to civil marriage. Within this public debate – protracted, loud, emotive and challenging as it is – lie important questions as to the kind of society Australia wishes to foster, what it values, how it negotiates change, and where it may be going.

Against that backdrop, you may ask: where does Peril stand?

For Peril, when we consider this debate, we return to our vision, mission and principles, the why and wherefore of our organisation and its work. Developed by successive members of our board, editorial team, with feedback from our writer- and reader-ship, these are values we hold dear and seek to reflect each day in our work and our ways of working.

Sometimes we come up short, but still, we keep trying.

We know our work focuses on Asian Australians, not because we want to privilege this group over others, but because we believe that all people should have equal rights and opportunities to participate in our communities. On that foundation, we know Peril must respect diversity, of opinions, peoples and cultures. We are committed to positive social change. We are inclusive of people of diverse genders and sexualities.

For us, the answer is “Yes”.

Yes to equality, love, recognition and inclusion, because we know that the measure of a community is not how effective it coerces the populace into being “the same”, but how respectfully it can engage with “the difference”.

In that spirit, we acknowledge there is dissent and disagreement on the matter of marriage equality – we hope to listen respectfully and to learn from all sides of the debate. We also hope to reflect and support our values and our LGBTIQA community to encourage your participation in the survey and debate.

We know that sex, ethnicity, gender and race intersect and overlap in their generation of identity, in their ways of inscribing legitimacy and intimately shaping what it means to belong, resist or reinforce the boundaries of “being” in Australia. These are not questions for an isolated minority, these are inquiries we must make as a collective, to better know who we are and to shape who we want to be.

Whatever your personal perspective may be, we want to encourage Peril readers to engage with this important issue with respect, thoughtfulness and an open-mind, whether you are eligible to contribute to the survey or not.

Our ability to educate ourselves about the issues at hand, our ability to share and learn from each other’s perspectives, and the eventual result – and how the Australian public, government and other sectors respond to it – will be a measure of our collective character.

On behalf of the Board and Editorial team at Peril, we have been delighted to be a part of our year-long project, We’re Queer Here, supported by the City of Melbourne. Over the coming months, while we await the outcome of this survey and as an ongoing part of this project, we will continue to share and care for the queers and their dears who are a part of our Asian Australian community – sharing stories, debate and respect for the cultural contributions made by people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, genders identities and expressions, and sexualities and orientations.

We will be hosting public events, online conversations and, with the help of our writers and readers, adding our stories to this important conversation. We hope you will be able to join us in person or on line.

We are taking this “survey” at its deepest meaning, as an opportunity to examine, to query/queery, to determine the form and shape and limits of our collective territory. We have always loved the Terra Pericolosa, the dangerous, uncharted spaces, the unmapped land of promise and discovery.

Welcome, fellow traveller.

Author: Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster. Eleanor Jackson is a former Editor in Chief and Poetry Editor of Peril and currently Chair of the Board.