Bachelor of Arts
I hate to admit it, but I was scarily homophobic during high school, which is very much the polar opposite to who I am now. When I look back, there was a lot of self-hatred within myself and I was experiencing a major identity crisis. Those who were out of the closet at my school were targeted and bullied for being different, so I tried my best to fit in and became one of the perpetrators. In hindsight, I realise that I was envious of the people who were so open with themselves, because, in the meantime, I was suppressing all these emotions and didn’t know where to channel my frustrations.
I grew up in a religious home and went to church practically every Sunday, which I think contributed to all of that because I was influenced to think and feel a certain way. In front of my church peers, I had to define myself as something I clearly wasn’t and there was a real struggle between these ‘heterosexual’ and ‘homosexual’ identities. In our Australian culture, there seems to be a real stigma attached to this because of masculinity and internalised homophobia, but we need to make more of an effort in closing the gap. The next generation shouldn’t be living in fear because of who they are. I’ve heard there are some religious practices in the U.S. that are more accepting of queer people and try to marry the two together – which is such a great thing. But unfortunately, that just doesn’t seem to happen a whole lot here.
If I could give my younger self any sort of advice, I would say chill the fuck out! I spent so much of my time worrying about the worst possible consequence in everything, especially with my sexuality. Nowadays, I take a more optimistic approach (within reason, of course) and ask myself: ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’
Interview and photography by Tanner Muller
This piece was originally published in Edition 28