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Snapshot 2000 - personal advice [AI Text]

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The advice that I would give to anyone who's thinking about coming out, as in them coming out as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, whatever is to come from an informed position. And the best way to do that is to get books that are supportive. Right in Brisbane, we've got a couple of like, specifically supportive bookshops where you'll get gay and lesbian literature. I read books, it's one of them. And if you get books like I'm looking at books on Relationships [00:00:30] like Together Forever by Andrew Marshall that I have in front of me at the moment there are books on like gay and lesbian film like The Bent, Les is a wonderful book loving someone gay by Don Clark and by even reading books of short fiction and reading How other people have either felt about the same sex or have fantasised about feeling It's all useful, but to then realise [00:01:00] that there is a huge range of things that can be true or that can happen. And looking after your health is gonna be a consequence of knowing that you're worth looking after. I think one of the best books that I've read the Homo Handbook by Judy Carter is so valuable, I think, because it's so amusing as well, and I could see that that would be a good thing to get informed then to get active. Getting politically active is a useful thing [00:01:30] to do. It doesn't mean that you have to be involved in, say, the pro collective forever. I know lots of people who've used the pro collective as a a really important social tool, so I'll spend two or three years getting involved with the group, feeling confident about identifying as a gay man or lesbian, and the fact that the festivals attract several 100 people here like several 1000 even up to for like, the day events. It puts you in a good position to start, [00:02:00] I think dealing with life better. I suppose if I had a message to anybody who was coming out or deciding their sexuality or or realising that they weren't who they thought they were and they are now something else, it would be to ring me cos I'm always available for weekends, bars and barbecues. No, it would be to be confident in yourself and to be sure that that you're the person that you think you should be and you're not anybody for anyone else, you can only be yourself, and there's no right and wrong in the human body, there's there's [00:02:30] no there's no lies to yourself. You can only be true and you will lose friends and you will gain friends. And you may have difficult times with family, but you'll get through it and you'll be a stronger, wiser, better person for it. And that sounds incredibly patronising and very arrogant and very blase. Unfortunately, it's really true. You've just gotta go for it. Be the person you know in your heart you've got to be and enjoy it because it is the best life you'll ever have, because it's the only one you'll ever have. [00:03:00] I did some, um, work with the Victorian AIDS Council. Um, um, I used to be a facilitator for a drop in group, um, for under eighteens, and I've actually been through the whole coming out thing with a lot of a lot of young guys and because I was always, um, the one that was out and had the knowledge I had guys crashing at my house when their parents kicked them out and I've seen so many people make so many different mistakes, and so many people made some very good decisions. [00:03:30] And I think the best thing for me to say to someone who's thinking about coming out and it's gonna sound like an absolute cliche it to, um just follow your heart and go with your gut feeling. You know, it's like things will change the minute you say it out loud and I, I suggest saying it out loud to yourself until you believe it. Before you say that loud to somebody else. Um [00:04:00] but, yeah, things things change, your life will change dramatically. Um, I yeah, been a very long journey to get to where I am today. Very, very long journey and a very hard journey. But I look back now and I think, Well, would I change it? That's the one question I po I still pose to myself. Would I change any of it? And I I The answer that I come up with is no, because if I I was to change one [00:04:30] little thing one itty bitty thing that happened, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. I wouldn't be the strong willed emotional to get the person that I am. You know, we we all learn through our mistakes and through experience. And if you block yourself from feeling anything or doing anything you'll you'll never really [00:05:00] achieve of happiness, I suppose, um and I can honestly say, at 23 years old, um, that I am happy and finding finding that happiness, finding that place that makes me happy gets me through the bad times if something crops up or, um, I'm going through a rough time. If I'm feeling really lonely or you know I have to deal with the problem, it doesn't. I feel, yeah, I fall down, [00:05:30] but I don't fall as far. And I've got tools on board to be able to pick myself up in a very confident way. And if I've made the mistake, I can admit to it and learn from it and go well. Hey, I fucked up, but I won't do it again. And if I do do it again, I'll do it differently. And if differently doesn't work, I'll try it again and again and again. You know, nobody's perfect. [00:06:00] Nobody's always right. Nobody is always wrong, you know it's about. It's about the individual. It's about you being who you are and you choose to feel how you feel. You choose to be how you be. No one else can change that. They can have an impact on you. Yes, and they can influence you. Yes, but ultimately we make the we make the decisions in our life and we need to empower those and go inside of ourselves. I'm [00:06:30] me. I love me. Yay! My message would be definitely do it. But be very careful. Um, it is a great thing when it goes smoothly, but don't rush into it. If you are not sure, don't do it. But if you are sure your life will my life will particularly change very drastically because I had the support of the people behind me and give people [00:07:00] the benefit of the doubt. I was absolutely positive I would lose my parents and most of my friends and I haven't lost a single person yet. And through people I've talked to, no one I know has actually lost anybody through telling them the letter idea is a very good idea. I found it worked for me. You get all your ideas down on paper and you don't fumble. You don't get upset. 30 Everybody's different coming out is something [00:07:30] so personal? It's something that you have to come from within yourself. Um, I'm not. I'm not out there in a barracks. Scream to everybody, come out and show yourself And I just you know, for me, it's been one of the best things in my life, and I'm so happy I'm gay because being gay has made me a person who is in touch with himself and and and still stands on on the on the on the ground with both feet. But, you know, if I hadn't been gay, I probably would have just led my [00:08:00] life very unconsciously. Um, you never know what's going to happen. I mean, you, you can't you can't talk about what is, but I feel that it would have taken me at least much, much longer to to start discovering myself and for and and finding out who I really am. And being gay per definition almost means that you have to go through this episode where you have to get to terms with yourself and have to have a very sharp look at yourself and for me, that makes a person so much more interesting [00:08:30] somebody who's who's actually taken time to reflect and think about himself and what you want out of life and how you want it and in what way you want it. And you know who you really are. What? What makes you And, um I find that with a lot of gay men, um, that that's what is, um, common is that you all have to go through this phase of coming out, which is very traumatic and very scary and and can be very unsettling because [00:09:00] you're turning your whole life upside down at these are words for me. And I think nowadays, um, because I I've noticed that gay men in the bars and and and and that are open and they're so much younger than than I was, um I mean, uh, they're like II. I meet gay. I mean, I see gay people here in Amsterdam, which, of course, is a very gay city. Um, we're like, 14 and and and and they're openly gay, and they're openly gay at high school and all that stuff and they don't It doesn't seem to be a problem at all. But for me, it's been [00:09:30] it's been a very different and for me, it was very, very difficult to come to terms with it. But once I did it completely changed my life. And, um, I've noticed so much good come to me after I could be completely myself. Um, and my life has become so much better. And I've I've, you know, all the things I was afraid for They're all false. They're all they're all, uh, concoctions. Is that what you say? Or with all They're all fictive things in my mind things that I've made up, [00:10:00] um, which, you know, stem, of course. From from I guess from from, uh the way I was brought up. Uh, but they're not, uh, they're not real. Uh, nothing to be really afraid of. Be true to yourself. I think that's what you really have to be. You have to decide who you are, what you are and how you want to live your life. And then you go and do it and like yourself, be proud of the person, not not so much as sexuality. [00:10:30] I don't think that's important. Well, it is important to you, but be proud of the whole person that you are. Don't just base everything on your sexuality. Don't try to just you justify your existence based on your sexuality or anything like that. Just be proud of the whole person that you are. I test the water with people that you know very well and see what their reaction is. But I sensed [00:11:00] that my mother wouldn't be able to cope with it, and I kept it from her for quite a long time, and she didn't like that. And when I told her that she wasn't reacting particularly well, and that's the reason why I didn't tell her she like that even less so. There was no way of winning. Um, take your time. It's It's It's your life. You do what you have to do. It's not important to anybody except yourself and your immediate family and friends. I don't see how [00:11:30] any of the gay political scene needs to have your voice added, Um, unless you're comfortable. It's not a political statement. It's a statement about you be prepared before coming out. Um, think of any questions. You have to be 100 and 10% sure. Um, I know there's a fear of all the gay bashing and stuff. I know I had that sort of fear, but I don't. I think it just if it happens, it happens. But it hasn't happened [00:12:00] to many people. I know. Um, so you have to be really prepared and careful. Um, especially with sex, safe sex, the way to go, um, control your hormones going out to a club. Think about the way I see it is everyone has got AIDS, so you have to be protected. That's just a I know it's a negative thought that to make myself not have any unprotected sex, I believe that everyone has the virus. And [00:12:30] I mean, you can't get the virus by kissing and stuff, but if you're thinking of having an sex and going all the way through just meeting a guy at a club, going back to his house, that I have ever done that, But be prepared, you should come out when you feel when you feel you are confident enough to be able to do it without being, you're gonna be nervous at first. They just come out and and just that natural, [00:13:00] possibly get some advice first from another transvestite or transsexual and just come out naturally. Just you grab me nervous at first. But then don't be so nervous to the show. I don't know whether it's kind of hard for me to give advice, because I'm not exactly that type of person [00:13:30] coming out. I would say that. Of course, it depends on your age. Certainly, if you're a teenager, you have to remember that you don't have economic security. You don't really know, although you may think you do how your parents will react. I would have said my father would leave me and my mother would stay with me, and it worked out just the opposite. So I would say, uh, be sure that you can take care of yourself if you have to be sure that you [00:14:00] have some kind of support of friends that will you will not be alone should that verse things come of of your coming out and wait until the time when you're strong enough as a man or a woman to, uh, to let people know, because there are a lot of people really that don't care in in this year 2000. They just don't care as long as you're a nice person. But there are [00:14:30] those fanatics who do. I mean, we hear of this guy, Gary Bauer, today stepping out of our election and saying that he will continue to mount attacks against gays and abortion. And that's the kind of mentality that you really have to be sure that someone you're coming out to doesn't have because they will turn on you. And you think that in this society here, as much money [00:15:00] that you may have to take care of yourself educationally and, uh, realistically, uh, for the necessities and maybe a house and all of that, you really are far better off coming from a strong point to come out. Uh, then other people will find it much more difficult to disown you or to leave you. But it's not a nice process, although I have known people who have come out and they have had wonderful experiences with it. [00:15:30] But there's nothing guaranteed here because this is a very sensitive subject for some people. One thing I wish I would have done differently is actually not really. When when I when I came out to my friends. Um, I made I sort of I sort of made it a bit of a big deal about it, because I I did feel really uncomfortable. And I was just, like, I'd be like, you know, I have something I have something to tell you. And and, you know, I don't want this to, like, jeopardise our friendship and because I I didn't really know how people would respond to it when I [00:16:00] that was. That was when I was talking to my friends. They they didn't really care, either, though once I actually told them, um, it was just sort of OK, you know, what's the big deal? Why do you Why do you make a big fuss out of that? Or else they'd just be like so I don't know. They the responses were were pretty varied, but there there was nothing really negative. I definitely didn't lose any friends. Um I don't think anybody even felt really awkward about it. They were awkward about the fact that I was gay, maybe awkward about the way that I was presenting it. Um, [00:16:30] I don't know, I. I don't really think coming out, though, is that big a deal. I think it's more. I think it's more just being comfortable with yourself and some people I. I know there are a lot of people that actually need to come out, and they need to, like, affirm the fact that they're gay and they need to have other people affirm that. And if if that's the case, then definitely come out of the closet and do whatever it takes, because there's nothing worse than being unhappy with who you are and feeling like you're not being true to yourself. Um, but I think I think the biggest thing is we it I don't [00:17:00] know, just just do what it takes to to make you make you content and make you make you happy with with who you are. I think coming out is not coming out to other people. It's really coming out to yourself, um, and being able to live a lifestyle. It's honest. It's, um and there's a feeling sort of nothing like it. But you know, um, really look at who you want to tell and why you want to tell them. Is it really necessary? Um, [00:17:30] but yeah, my, my advice generally would be that it's just better to live honestly. And, um, you know, to to enjoy who you are. Um, and try not to take on, you know, too much a lot of the judgments you've heard from other people. Um, over time, Um, I think you know, they've been That's a product of different things that people have learned over their lifetime. And, [00:18:00] um, you know, we live in a society that only understands heterosexuality is normality. For whatever reasons, I think the biggest message is wait until you're ready for it. And I think there's a lot of people that, depending on their environment, depending on where they've grown up, it really matters a lot as to how well you plan it. [00:18:30] If you just, you're in an environment that isn't particularly tolerant to you coming out. Look at yourself hard and think, Is there really that big a need for me at this stage in my life to subject myself to having to come out? Or is it something that I can put off for a year or six months, or however long? It is until your circumstances allow you to come [00:19:00] out without, um, a backlash that could affect your education or that could affect your family stability. Obviously, it's always gonna affect your family to a certain extent and your yourself to a certain extent, Um, you just have to look at your parents, your friends. Your support network, I think, is very, very important. I was lucky that when I did come out, I had begun to develop a support network of friends. But if [00:19:30] I did have a very bad backlash, I wouldn't have been on my own. But at the same time, I was also independent that I was living out of home. So again, if my parents had found out and they had sort of thrown me out of the family or something, I could have survived on 2 ft. Um, and obviously that's not going to happen with every family, because I think a lot of parents are extremely supportive. Um, and some are not, and only you know how your parents are gonna react. Um, but think of [00:20:00] the long term consequences rather than just looking at. This is something I need to do for today because it's building up inside me too much. I just have to tell them. I think you just need to plan it and have some sort of network or something to fall back on if it all ends up going wrong. But if it all ends up going right then or if you think it it is, then good luck to you and just do it whenever it is appropriate. So if it if it means that you're a 15 [00:20:30] year old and it's appropriate, then do it if it means you've got a If you're a 21 year old and you're only just beginning to accept that, maybe this is what you are. Then wait until you're 21. It really depends on the person, and and whenever they're ready, don't let anyone force you to to come out. I think you have to wait until the timing is right. Don't just say it because it sounds good. Um, you've got to know yourself if you're gay or by, [00:21:00] um, it's a hard one to say, because everybody's different. So leaving a gay lifestyle is what you make it just like a heterosexual life, Um, can be as happy or sad as you want it to be. Um, just be open be honest, be genuine and you'll get along. You'll go a long way. You'll live a long, happy life from the happiest one of the happiest me life. Well, I hope I am. I think I am. Yeah, my health [00:21:30] is great. I don't stress out as much as anymore. Um, my values and people adore me because I'm so open and so honest and they see me for me and I see them for them. But you have to do it in your own time and your own mind.

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AI Text:September 2023