Jason Ball, the Greens candidate in the Victorian seat of Higgins, has been targeted in a homophobic graffiti attack -- but has hit back in a pretty inspiring message.
Ball, the first openly gay Aussie Rules footballer, posted this picture and message to his social media channels on Thursday. The word "fag" is scrawled across glass, in front of some of his posters.
Ball is said to have a good chance of seriously challenging sitting Higgins member, assistant treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer. Ball is also running against another gay candidate, Labor's Carl Katter.
With two weeks to election day, Ball hit back at the graffiti with a long message on Facebook. We've decided to just reproduce it below, in full, as he's said it better than we ever could:
"I post this picture not to give the haters oxygen but to send a message to young LGBTI people that I have their back. To let them know I won't be passive or silent in the face of bigotry.
The last time I had this word written about me it was scrawled across a school toilet door. I was 15.
Now, in 2016 the homophobes are thankfully in the minority. But acts like this show we have a long way to go. And these acts do not happen in a vacuum.
In recent times our community has faced relentless attacks on our dignity and basic human rights. Politicians have likened us to pedophiles. Religious leaders have compared the fight for equality to the advance of Nazism. This week, media commentators who have previously vilified us, leapt on the unspeakable atrocities in Orlando and used our grief as a battering ram to prosecute their own agenda against another minority.
Then they wring their hands and offer us their "prayers and sympathy" whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that acts of hate and violence are the logical conclusion to a public 'debate' that maintains we are abnormal and not worthy of the same rights and respect as our fellow citizens.
We should not have to fear for our safety just for daring to live our lives openly. We must not be scared to hold our partner's hand as we walk down the street.
And we can't give in to intimidation when we stand up for our values in public life.
So I won't. I will continue to be out, loud and proud about who I am. Because love is love. And ultimately love will win.
I won't be silent in the face of hate and bigotry. Love is love. And ultimately love will win. pic.twitter.com/dSpTZlwHGF— Jason Ball (@greensjason) June 16, 2016