It’s funny to see the reactions of people when they find out that I am gay, from my early teens it was rather obvious to my mother but not my friends and family. I guess as they say a mother knows all. I was a very musically minded child and loved my sport, cricket and football (AFL). Even today some can pick it immediately and others like my work colleagues have no clue.
It wasn’t until I was around 18 that I really started to explore my sexuality and finally came out to my friends and family. My family were so accepting and my mum actually laughed and said “tell me something I don’t already know” Unfortunately at the time I did lose contact with a few of my so called close friends which made things tough growing up in a not so gay friendly neighbourhood, but as time passed they grew up and now we are friends again. At 19 I met this amazing young man (Charlie, 22) and we started to date and I was in a place that made me happy and finally comfortable with who I was. Unfortunately,18 months later…
Charlie was diagnosed with cancer and was taken from me 6 months later. This was the first time in my life that I had experienced this kind of loss and for it to be someone that you loved and cared for so much made it hard to deal with. I had my mum to get me through this time and for that I owe her the world. I did however fall into a spiral for a while where I no longer thought I could be happy. I refused to date or go out and just wanted to be alone for the next couple years.
A few years later much to the surprise of my friends and family I started to date a girl that I was working with at the time, my family were confused and obviously so was I. looking back I now know that this wasn’t the love I was looking for but just someone who was an amazing friend. I know I hurt her when we finally separated but to this day we still keep in contact and remain good friends and for that I am grateful.
I started getting heavily involved in my passion for sport and started umpiring cricket & football simultaneously. To make it to state level in both sports as an openly gay man was a big thing for me and something I am truly proud of to this day. The friends that I have made both players and colleagues umpiring will be friends for life and I could not have asked for any more acceptance than what they offered during my time with these sports.
I think of myself as one of the lucky ones at times as I have never really had any issues with non-acceptance or being bullied for my sexual preference, I enjoy my time with my friends and family and will never forget when I moved away from my home town to further my career.
I organised a party (300 people) at the gay bar that I frequented in my home town and invited everyone from family and friends including the guys from football and cricket. It was amazing to have them all there and of course a few of the boys were nervous about attending a party at a “gay bar” but to see so many of them turn up and dance and have a great time with me and all my friends really cemented in my mind that not everyone is the same and that it is just a minority that find it hard to accept the gay community, and let’s be honest it is their loss.
Life now is pretty full on with work and the day to day things that are happening, I recently lost the other person in my life who meant the world to me, my mum. Unfortunately this was to suicide and I still can’t grasp the fact that she is gone and of course why. To not have that person there with you when you needed a chat or just wanted to hear their voice as you don’t live close by anymore cuts deep. I blamed myself at first as I thought that I should have picked up on things saw the signs but unfortunately she hid her pain and suffering from us all really well. A good friend of mine has helped me through this tough period and I finally understand that you can’t blame yourself for what has happened but you can try and make a difference moving forward to others.
I am still looking for that someone special and at present I am getting to know one particular guy who truly is an amazing person and hopefully things work out, in such a brief time he has taught me numerous things on compassion and acceptance which I thought I already knew, but to have that perspective of someone else put to you makes you stop and think further.