I have to remind people, that things may not make sense, again imagine what’s in my head. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if needing clarification….. Also feel free to leave comments.
Growing up gay in the town of Port Augusta was quite an interesting experience. I really don’t like when people say that your sexuality is a choice. If it was a choice I can be honest and say that I would be married to a woman and have kids by now. However it is not that easy as we don’t have a choice. This is the reason that at a certain point in our lives we are confused, because we get told that straight is normal but then yet have these feelings and emotions based on something that is “not right?”
I remember the first house we lived in, we were there until I was 5. You all know the game that kids play? The one where girls and boys play “show me yours and I’ll show you mine?” Well yeah, I remember the bus stop across the road with another boy playing that exact game. Except it was more like play with mine I’ll play with yours. I remember to this day Mum finding us and telling us off. I asked mum if she remembers that day but she can’t. I find it quite funny and laugh about it every time I think of it.
When you get asked, “when did you know you were gay” it is actually a simple answer. The truth is I knew all along. Sure when you’re a kid, society paints a different picture; you don’t understand what this difference is. I didn’t understand what a homosexual or gay meant. It only clicks when, within yourself you understand. Understand why you were crushing on your own sister’s boyfriends, or fantasysing about your teacher who seemed so manly. I had the biggest crush on my year 5 teacher Mr Nistico, hairy and somewhat macho. Also my teacher in year 10, Mr Bell. He was very nice and understanding… hahahahahaha. Although I kind of new, being abused by a female I had a huge grudge up to only a year ago. I blamed her for being the one that made me gay, and always wondered if it was never to had happened would I be gay and had kids and all by now. I hated her for making me this way, and could never forgive her in the past.
I was 10 when I had my first experience with a boy; he was my good friend Steve. It all started with us staying over each others houses and daring each other to do things, then the dares started becoming more sexual and to me naturally amazing. This happened for some years until we both started to have girlfriends… We never spoke about it; there didn’t seem a need to. We knew there was some type of love there, but not that typical kind of love. This love was more a strong friendship with respect, trust and understanding of what the actual situation was. We remained real good friends without sexual contact and still to this day we have a chat now and then on the phone.
Besides Steve, no one knew, not for a long time. I tried to not show it, but how? You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not. However I did, for some reason I felt I had to. Then over the years I started to believe that I was somewhat this person. Even though I was still getting bullied for the person I was trying so hard not to be. (I really think that this maybe the confusion most gay people have, rather than “I’m confused about if I like girls or not.”).
It wasn’t until I told the first person…
Sarah was a typical blonde hotty, that most guys would turn their head for, but to me she was a person with the same family struggles regarding survival and strength, from living in a low-income background like me. However this girl had confidence. We became really close friends and hardly left each other’s side. We even moved out of home for the first time ever, together. Correct me if I’m wrong I’m pretty sure we were 14 or 15? Getting high on coffee and staying awake all night laughing our heads off. She let me be who I was, I didn’t have to act or pretend. For so long she begged me to allow her to put make up on my face. I always gave her the same answer….”Fuck off. I’m gay not a fucking woman”. She taught me that no matter of the situations in your life; you should look after yourself and be brave. 😉 Her family loved me for me as well, I really miss those days. Yes Sarah did empower me, yes she gave me confidence. But I only had that when she was around. With other people who didn’t know at this point, I still felt I had to pretend. Apart from Steve I never slept with anyone else… And the following is where it got a little tricky…
When I was 17, still working at Hungry Jacks, I met another amazing girl, Angie. But the feelings I had for this girl wasn’t just a friendship and respect, I wanted her more than that. I realised the same feelings I have had for guys for so long, I am having for this girl? I felt Angie and I was on the same level, made each other laugh enjoyed the same music, and was really great to talk to. I’m sure I made her angry a few times by saying I’m going to stay home only to get busted driving around with a mate. When I look back now I can honestly say there were times I was mean. But more so I felt we had a connection. Angie was the first and only girl in which I had sex with. At first it was awkward, as I had no real idea what I was doing, but then started to really enjoy it. However whenever I was alone or even at times with Angie, I would perve on guys and fantasise somewhat. I can honestly say that I loved that chick, but I knew it wasn’t right within myself as I still had urges for guys. I ended up moving inter-state with my Aunty and Uncle, Angie and I agree to stay together long distance. Not long after she called it off I was rather upset. However that decision made me decide that I am gay and will not be with another woman again.
While I was interstate I had time to reflect on who I was and what I wanted. A year later when I returned to Port, I became more open with the people around me, still keeping it from my family though as I had no idea how to tell them. My bestie Sherri was in a same-sex relationship. Sherri truly showed me how to “not give a fuck.” She was loud and proud, I somewhat envied her confidence and self-awareness, and the ability to say “this is me take it or leave it.” With Sherri’s words of wisdom, (people who know her will understand what I mean by words of wisdom). Love ya Sherri. I became more open and proud. Not so much loud. I got my own first place out Stirling North, and a whole heap of us would just hang out drink, get high off weed sing and dance. But majority of the time it would be just myself, Sherri and Alan.
Pic: Bestie Sherri and I. 20 years of treasured moments
I had known Alan for a few years but never really got to know him until he started at Hungry Jacks. He was a cool mate had lots of fun never made you frown. Then one night he came to my place and we had a few drinks. Eventually I went to bed and fell asleep. Then sometime after I have Alan shaking me awake to ask if he can crawl into my bed. I wasn’t going to argue I really liked this guy. I can truly say Alan was the first real love of my life. It was hard, as we both hadn’t told our families, however our close circle of friends knew. We didn’t tell them, they busted us hahaha…. Do rocks on the roof sound familiar girls?
For years I struggled to tell my mother, more so I didn’t want her to be disappointed. I was scared, my mum was my everything, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I lost her for my sexual preference. I even went to her one day, “Mum can I ask you something? What would you do if Kelly was a lesbian?” She turned and said, she is my daughter and I would love her no matter what. Still for so long I couldn’t tell her. So one day Mum called me for my 22nd birthday as she lived in NSW by then. I had no intention telling her anything about me; I actually didn’t even have it in my mind at the time. However this is how the conversation goes,
Mum: Happy Birthday Son, have you had a good day?”
ME: Yeah I just got to Adelaide, going out to party tonight.
Mum: oh yeah? So you been kissing any girls lately?
Mum: What? you been kissing boys then? (In a joking around way followed with a chuckle).
Mum: Philip you’re not a poofter. (This conversation was priceless)
Me: Yeah I Ma I am,
A pause that lasted no more than 5 seconds felt like a life time, the thoughts that ran through my head in the short space of time was unbelievable. Then Mum spoke.
Mum: As long as you’re happy and safe. You’re my son I love you.
Bang they were the words I been waiting for this whole time. Since my family knew, all but my father, I felt more content with my sexuality and more comfortable to be the person I tried so hard not to be.
I found that when I was fully open, the bullying actually stopped. Sure you walk down the main street and hear someone yelling out fag or poof. But this time it was different, they weren’t insulting me, they were speaking the truth and I no longer had to feel ashamed of my sexuality.
So I guess in the end it wasn’t that hard growing up in the Port being gay, it was me that made it hard by hiding who I was and lying for so long. However if I didn’t meet the people such as Sarah and Sherri who inspired me to be me I wonder what direction I would have went.
Something I have not mentioned in this blog is that to help me mask a lot of these problems I ended up gaining a drug and alcohol problem. From being forced to smoke weed at a young age, I became a full bong head by the age of 13, harsher drugs, drinking and damage came later which led to self harm and homelessness………