The minutes of last week’s Campbelltown City Council meeting include the following extraordinary words:
“Councillor Ben Moroney revealed to the chamber that they are non-binary, not identifying as male or female. Councillor Moroney thanked everyone for being extremely supportive and respectful.’’
If anyone present was shocked last Tuesday night by this statement they did not show it.
Cr Moroney, who is married to a woman and they have an 18 month old son, is believed to be only one of two serving councillors identifying as non binary.
On Thursday, two days after his announcement, the South West Voice sat down with the young Greens councillor to ask him about his decision, and if there were any consequences for him publicly or privately.
He said his new, non binary identity will not affect his relationship with his wife.
“No, nothing changes there,’’ he said.
“My wife is incredibly supportive; we have all the same friends, so she knows as much about the situation as I do.
“We’re still in love,’’ said Cr Moroney, pictured below.
“This doesn’t change how I feel about other people – it’s about how I feel inside.’’
“I haven’t done it for a reason like, oh, this will be convenient,’’ he said.
“From mid last year I was thinking about myself and how I feel about different aspects of my personality and how people see me and treat me.
“I’ve been talking to people I know in the Greens, and other circles, and some of the experiences I heard about sat with me.
“So I considered the option, something I had never done before and late last year I came to the realisation that this – being non binary – was me.
“It’s not a rejection of genders; non binary is a term that covers a whole bunch of stuff, and in my case I use it because I don’t have a word for my situation.
“There are people who are very specific about how they feel, but for me it’s not something I can pin down, so non binary is a generic term that covers how I identify.
“I am not uncomfortable with my body, but inside I do not feel I identify with the same experiences as someone who is a traditional man in our society; I don’t feel I have the same reactions.’’
Cr Moroney says he made a public announcement about his personal decision in support of other local people who may identify as non binary.
“The only reason I brought it into the chamber was because it’s a personal thing for everyone, but ends up being political,’’ he told the Voice.
“I feel like it’s a situation where it’s very much a privilege, I can do this, whereas other people can’t.
“And what limited platform I have I feel I am obligated to make it public for the sake of people who can’t.
“I did it for other people – if there is someone in Campbelltown who sees what’s going on in the chamber of council who feels society isn’t set up to accept them, I want them to be able to feel, no, there is space for you.
“To see there is someone who feels the same way as you, or similar and be on council and do this sort of stuff.
“And you’re normal.’’