2 – Being Gay In The Port.

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,

Me: Hello,

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?

Me: Nah,

Mum: What? you been kissing boys then? (In a joking around way followed with a chuckle).

Me: Maybe,

Mum: What!

Me: Maybe,

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………


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I have been a Community Support Worker for the last four years. I worked in the Mental Health Sector and now currently working with people who have Aquired Brain Injuries in Disabilty. I studied to be a worker in the community, as I myself haven't had the best life. (Although now my life is much better). So I decided to attempt to write my real life story of trauma and abuse, drugs and alcohol, love and loss. All which led to depression and anxiety. Apart from my story I plan to write about everyday important issue that co-inside with my blog.

17 thoughts on “2 – Being Gay In The Port.

  1. I remember when you told me Phil. You were so serious looking and worried, I was worried you were going to tell me you were dying! You sat me down at the single tables near the door in dining room and said “Dani, I need to tell you something pretty important” I was crapping myself thinking ‘omg he’s sick? he’s dying?” I said, “just say it Philly Willy…” and you said, “im gay…” even after you said this I was waiting for the “….and I’m dying” part, because your face was so worried! I said, “…and…” you were like, “nothing else, im gay…”
    I was so relieved you weren’t sick! I was like thank god!
    I told you what id been thinking, we had a laugh and then you asked me if I felt differently about you now that I knew. Do you remember? Was classic, classy me…. “Phil honey, I didn’t want to fuck you before….I still don’t want to fuck you now, you are and always will be Philly Willy to me..nothing has changed for us. …” ❤❤ Then we hugged it out and you said, “Thanks Dani Fanny”.

    P.S “Promotion Manager 10c pieces, drive thru…..” 😉😜😙

    1. Yes Dani Fanny, I had actually forgotten how that convo went, the flash back that just rolled into my head.You just made me laugh my head off… Thanks for the support.
      Love Philly Willy.
      PS “JUST USE 5c PIECES!!!!!”

  2. Long time no see!

    Like Danni, I still remember when you told me, at Hunhry Jacks. However, we were at the drivethru. You told me you had something important to say… And I said it for you. I said “I know- you’re gay” you were stunned.you immediately became worried, and asked if it was some how visible. I laughed and said no, I just knew because we were such good mates. I’d wanted to date you for a very long time, since Seaview High. The baseball over the roof days at your mums. But I never changed my opinion of you. You telling me was confirmation we’d never be together and I was able to move on from that point and find my own life. So, thank you.

    And… CRAP … Those were fun days hahah even if it wasn’t CRABP including my name lol xxx

    1. Briony,
      I had no idea, sorry. However we had some awesome times and yes CRAP was fun, I would love to remember how to play that.
      I remember I was freaking thinking I’m so obvious people actually know.

  3. Wow reading this brings back so many memories. Good ones 😊
    You and Aaron are friends from the time you moved around the corner from us, I alway knew you where ‘different’ but I didn’t want to push you for the answers, I knew in time you would tell me. That day came the night before I left Port to go live in the Riverland, behind kfc. You asked me to wait for you, we went and sat in the bin compound and you said ‘I have something to tell you’ you looked so scared. I told you yes I know before you could even say anything, but I still love you and you are still my boy, the tears of relief you cried.
    We lost contact while you went interstate, but now I’m so happy to have you back in our lives. And to see you happy is my greatest joy 😊 xxxx

  4. Phil, this is a beautiful blog. As a Mum myself now, I got a bit teary when you wrote about how the conversation between you and your Mum unfolded.
    I have to be truthful, I always assumed you were gay, even back in primary school at FVPS. But really, Mr Nistico?! 😄
    I think some of the small minded things you were worried about in relation to Port were actually real – remember my sister was the only Korean in town, she copped it for being ‘different’ too.
    Much love to you, you are showing such strength by writing this. Looking forward to reading the next installment.
    xx Kathryn (Edkins)

  5. Hey mate, I must say it was heat warming to read I had a positive impact on your life, you very much did on mine and I’ve said before you and Sherri are the only great memories I have on that stinking town. Think it was 15-16 when we moved in together living off noodles haha… I loved how we use to scheme to get what we wanted, how we got to streaky bay for New Years? Little shits we were. Keep the blogs coming I’m enjoying getting to know you all over again x

    1. Thank you for comment. I think I have translated this right. I had used google translate…….
      “This is the proof that I am troubled, of truth. LEO WOMEN OF TODAY! And say so, without fear!”
      Im sorry you fear, it is not an easy thing going through life fearing other people or activities they make you do. Hope the fear resides soon and you become stronger in mind and body.

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