Teen and out
Feeling alienated, Jessica sits alone today. Not because she was mean and not because she wishes to be by herself. Until today Jessica was your average girl, with a good group of friends, but Jessica had a burden on her shoulders. A secret she desperately needed to share. Today Jessica sits alone, because she told her friends that she was gay.
Today many young Australians - in school, at home or in the workplace - are often treated differently for being gay. I was lucky enough to catch up with two amazing people who are openly gay teens. Here's what happened:
How accepting do you think Australians are with openly gay teens?
Beau: People are starting to accept it. It's starting to seem natural.
Emily: I think that some people are still against it, but they don't hate you for it.
Beau: Some will hate though, but we still go along.
When did you first know you were gay? How soon did you tell family and friends?
Beau: I was 9 when I first knew I was gay, but I told when I was about 14 or 15.
Emily: I was 12 or 13. I told some of my friends progressively. I haven't told my family yet.
What was their reaction like?
Beau: My mum was okay about it. My dad went silent for a while, until he learned to accept it.
What struggles - if any - do you find can come about because you are gay?
Beau: Finding friends is hard. Also the haters. And finding a partner.
Emily: Yeah finding a partner. It's depressing. There is no-one around. We're all alone.
How does bullying affect you?
Beau: At first it makes me weaker, after the sadness, though, it makes me stronger.
Emily: Behind my back bullying is worse, but I actually had someone ask me "do you feel like a creep perving on the girls in the change rooms?"
Do any current TV shows help open people's minds? Has it helped people be more understanding?
Beau: Yes, well and truly.
Beau: Yeah Glee is epic.
Emily: It's normalising it.
Can you see gay marriage becoming legal in Australia? What will it take for that to happen?
Emily: Oh I hope so. But parliament needs to bend.
Beau: They have to realise that nothing is the same as it used to be. It's changing.
Do you find yourself more comfortable with family and friends now that they know? Has coming out made things easier?
Beau: Yes! It's like a massive burden has been lifted of my shoulders.
Emily: I would be more comfortable if I could tell my mum.
What advice would you give any teens waiting to come out?
Beau: Don't wait. The longer you wait the harder it gets.
Emily: Yes, but make sure you're ready and safe to do so.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Beau: Let the haters hate. If they don't accept you then you don't have to accept them.
Emily: Most people don't actually care as much as we think they do. By the way I'm totally single. Write that down! (laughs)
If you want more information and advice about being gay and the support groups that are available, check out our Same sex attraction page. Check out our Articles archive for more articles about Lifestyle and Health & relationships.
Articles Written by Rhiannon
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