IN BED PROJECT: A quiet protest in support of marriage equality

Katie Spain taking part in The In Bed Project. Photo by Lisa White
Katie Spain taking part in The In Bed Project. Photo by Lisa White
In April 2015 I met a humble photographer called Lisa White. She’d recently embarked on a mission to snap supporters of marriage equality in their bedrooms. I have had many beds in my life. I’ve snuggled between sheets in faraway lands, and shared myriad pillows with lovers and friends. It is a place to sleep, think and write. When the opportunity to be photographed in my bed in quiet support of marriage equality arose, I jumped at the chance, joining the likes of Adelaide councillor Robert Simms, Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster and an eclectic bunch of people across the globe.
The Barbados-born photographer’s socially driven bedroom project was inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 Bed-in for Peace. “The concept came about through a conversation with friends over our frustration with Australia’s stance on marriage equality,” White says.

“I’m not fussed about marriage, but equality, now that’s a different matter.”

White photographs people in support of equality, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or cultural background. It is as much about breaking down prejudice and giving hope to those struggling with their sexuality as it is about a ring on a finger.

“My coming out was horrible. My mum tore up my birth certificate, she wished me dead, she took me to a psychologist; I had family slam doors in my face,” she says.

“I look back now and joke that I was the gay pioneer of our family – surprisingly, a lot of my family have since come out – but at the time it was not good. I wanted to suicide.”

White encourages anyone interested to get in touch.

“There is such a diversity of ‘cultures’ in Australia: ethnic, religious, ability, health, age etc. The In Bed Project is so young I’ve barely scratched the surface in presenting stories that illustrate this diversity. It’s really important to me that as the project grows  I represent everyone, real stories of everyday people, that illustrate the true diversity of the people who make up this ‘movement for equality’.

“It takes a certain type of person to open their home and hearts for a cause. The bedroom is a very private and personal space; it takes a lot of courage to do that and clearly demonstrates the depth of feeling that people have towards this issue.”

Plans for the project include large paste-ups and residencies across the Outback.

“We need to build more awareness of the struggle of young gay people in isolated areas,” says White.

As seen in SAWeekend Magazine, April 17, 2015 

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