After living through a “traumatic” period of this country’s recent history, one couple is about to tie the knot in an unexpected, yet romantic, way.
Self-described “Bega girl” Bella Insch and her partner Mhera Nelson have won a $25,000 wedding at the National Gallery of Australia as part of its summer blockbuster exhibition.
After meeting in June 2017 the pair, who live in Canberra, became engaged last year and had gone as far as looking at a venue in Eden for their wedding before finding out this month they were the winners of the competition and will now be tying the knot on March 2.
“We’ve both been married before, so I think for the second time it can be more relaxed,” Ms Insch said.
“I really love how different we are, that’s one of the things I think we fell in love with instantly.
“She’s really sporty and energetic, she’s one of those people that have infinite energy to do lots of things.
“I’m one of those chill kind of people, who says ‘oh can we just sit down for half an hour and have a cup of tea!’”
It was only a little over a year ago that same sex marriage became legal in Australia and the debate that raged in the country in the lead-up to the 2017 vote on the issue was “a little bit traumatising”, according to Ms Insch.
“I was really aware of what was going on in the media with the backlash,” she said.
“People were saying some really unkind things about me and my lifestyle. I did take it a bit personally.
“When we got the vote it was a release and a validation.”
When the result of the vote was announced, Ms Insch was at a party in Braddon and she described the feeling there as “incredibly moving” and “really lovely”.
“I feel like the next 12 months have been an extension of that, with a lot of people finding the opportunity to get married and celebrate each other’s connections,” she said.
Ms Insch, who attended Bega High and Wyndham Public Schools, said legalising same sex marriage had made Australia more inclusive, but there was still areas that needed improvement.
“In some ways yes as gay marriage is quite acceptable, but we still have a long way to go for trans rights in Australia,” she said.