For Volunteers, The Equality Shop Is A Labour Of Love

When marriage equality is finally achieved in Australia it will be due to the countless and selfless actions of everyday Australians committed to building an equal and inclusive Australia. For more than 10 years, LGBTIQ people and our supporters have been engaged in a labour of love on the path to marriage equality.

The Equality pop-up shop, at 122 Oxford Street, shows a continuation of this spirit of giving and determination. The shop, based on the creative vision of Shane Lloyd, sells a range of merchandise aiming to raise funds for marriage equality and also intends to serve as a community hub. What is particularly remarkable about this shop is that it is entirely staffed by volunteers.

Since the shop’s opening in December 2016, the LGBTIQ community and allies have stepped up and given up their time to show support for marriage equality.

Some who are giving up their time in the equality shop are seasoned equality advocates and leaders in the campaign. Alex Greenwich has been a regular. For others like Lachlan Woods, doing shifts at the Equality store has been one of his first experiences of volunteering for marriage equality. Lachlan explains that he is helping at the shop because he “wants to grow up in a nation that is mature enough to treat all relationships with equal respect and dignity”.

There has also been strong support from our straight allies. Philippa Griffiths tells us, “I want to see my friends and family members afforded the same recognition before the law.” A strong team effort has also been shown by many members of the Flying Bats Women’s Football Club who have given up time to help keep the shop running.

Volunteers Kay Harrison and Sophie Partridge explained why they were doing shifts in the shop. “We love volunteering at the shop because we get to talk to lots of different people,” Sophie says, “and hear how passionately they feel about making all relationships equal in Australian law.”

“Soph and I got married in the UK,” Kay says. “It would be great to be able to celebrate this pivotal moment in our lives with our family and friends here too. Everyone should have the right to choose.”

The efforts of these amazing #volsforequality is reflective of the actions taken across the country for marriage equality. It speaks to the tireless work of individuals who miss that extra hour of sleep to set up an early morning market stall, to those who have bravely started equality initiatives in their workplaces, to those who have collected signatures in support of marriage equality, and those that have made a trip to their federal MPs electoral office to share their personal stories of why marriage equality matters.

Everyone can play a role in making marriage equality a reality in Australia and in building on the strong community support that exists. It takes a community to build a movement.

The Equality shop is open until Mardi Gras. Please visit us and support the campaign in 2017. If you are not in Sydney, you can also visit our online shop at www.equalitycampaign.org.au/shop

If you are interested in volunteering in the shop please contact Sarah Midgley at [email protected]