Lauren Elloise found out she was gay when she fell in love with her best friend. Now, the pair are fighting for their love to be equal. Matthew Wade reports.

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While the discovery of her queer sexuality was a surprise to Lauren Elloise in high school, the more astounding revelation was how she discovered it: falling in love with her best friend Natalie.

They’d been close for years, but Elloise had kept her feelings hidden.

“I thought maybe part of me was missing because I wasn’t interested in anyone at all,” she says.

“Then I realised I was in love with my best friend, who was a girl.”

However, when Natalie realised Elloise had been harbouring these feelings, she apologised and said she didn’t feel the same way. Elloise says it was a crushing moment, and responded at the time by saying they couldn’t be friends anymore as it would hurt too much.

However, this led to an equally astounding revelation.

“When I told her we couldn’t hang out anymore, that broke her heart, and she realised she had feelings for me too,” Elloise says.

“And now we’ve been together in a relationship for nearly two years.”

Given the current climate around marriage equality in Australia – a postal survey is underway and both the “yes” and “no” campaigns are in full swing – Elloise says it’s challenging to hear some of the rhetoric being used, particularly as a young LGBTI person.

“I’m not enjoying it, to say the least,” she says.

“It’s very tough, especially when the general public has a say in something that doesn’t really affect them.

Lauren Elloise

Lauren Elloise. Image: Supplied.

“I actually worry for people that are a lot younger than me – I’m 21, and if this was happening when I was still a teenager I’d be terrified, and would be scared to say anything about being gay.”

She adds that legalising same-sex marriage is about one simple thing: ensuring she’s accepted as equal under the eyes of the law.

“It means I can have a wedding and my dad can walk me down the aisle, and my mum can cry,” she says.

When it comes to those in the “no” camp, Elloise believes they’re disapproval of same-sex marriage often stems from not being close to anyone in the LGBTI community, and a lack of understanding.

Earlier this year when a women’s AFL player shared a kiss with her partner at an awards ceremony, Elloise saw someone writing nasty comments about it online.

“I replied to his comment, and he began hurling abuse at me, telling me I was wrong and should be ashamed,” she says.

“I tried to pick out why he may have felt that way, and then I realised he had a sister who had left her husband for another girl, and that’s why he felt that way.

“I explained to him my story, and told him that we’re all human and that there’s nothing different about us and he seemed to come around.”

Elloise says both her and her partner Natalie are gearing to vote yes in the postal survey.

“We’re passionate, and we both find it very sad that it’s come to this, but we’re all for voting yes,” she says.

“We both want the same right – to get married.”

Lauren Elloise is a queer YouTuber. You can subscribe to her channel at: www.youtube.com/c/laurenelloise.

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