I 'came out' in 1993 while serving in the Australian Army. I grew up in rural Queensland during a time when attitudes towards the LGBTQI+ community were mostly negative and almost always confronting, which created in me an internal dialogue laced with self-loathing, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Thankfully, that scared little boy never gave up, and I stand before you now as a healthy and happy member of society who just happens to be gay. My sexuality doesn't define who I am; it is a beautiful and positive part of my narrative.
But even though we've come a long way in acquiring equal rights, it does not mean homophobia no longer exists. Although it can be subtle or casual, for too many it is confronting and even life threatening.
If you are struggling with your own identity, or indeed do not feel safe or supported and need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to contact one of the wonderful groups listed below. Don't give up on yourself, and please do not think you are alone on this journey.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Lifeline 13 11 14
QLife 1800 184 527 (3pm–midnight AEST)
Online chat (3pm–midnight AEST)
QLife is "a national service that aims to keep LGBTQI+ communities supported and connected."
Wherever you live in Australia, if you are not sure of what services are available in your area, simply call these guys and they will happily point you in the right direction.