Once was a little Goulburn boy growing up with my family. It’s amazing how time flies and you decide to make adult decisions and before you know it you’ve been to university, finished your degree, bought your first property and scored an awesome job.
My next adventure was to apply for Mr Gay Pride Australia. The competition itself isn’t as well know across the country, but it gives the finalists a platform to help represent the community and any issues that may be present.
I thought why not take the next step an apply... So before I knew it, I was shortlisted! I could not believe it! I couldn’t help but imagine how am I was going to compete against the other finalists.
But the competition is not that type of competition. Rather, it’s an opportunity for seven individuals from across Australia to come together and work as one to help raise awareness for the LGBTIQ community.
After my entry, I wrote an article for the organisers (http://eikonline.com/who-are-we/). The article was written from my heart about how it felt moving from Goulburn to Sydney. It was an incredibly tough move leaving my family and all of my friends to live in the big, wide city of Sydney.
I struggled immensely admitting to myself who I was. It wasn’t good enough to me just growing up and facing the reality that this person is who I am. I needed to know why and how I was that person. Don’t I have a choice? I was scared that my family wouldn’t accept me for who I was.
Looking back on this experience and talking to many young individuals both in Goulburn and Sydney struggling with the same issue - I found a common mention of the word stereotypes.
There is as much pressure for woman to look "beautiful" in size 8s to men needing to be a "man". When you move to Sydney this stereotype becomes more and more apparent but with twice as many people.
The pressure to feel the need to "fit" is disturbing painful. This is where mental health plays a key factor in the youth of today.
My goal for this competition is not to aim at the number one winning podium but to connect, network and find where I can make a real difference next.
I want people to know that your background does not make you who you are – only you have that choice. I will never regret growing up where I did because it taught me many life skills and who I was. Its okay to not fit the mould and this does not affect who you are. Because we are who we are.
- Are you aged in your teens or 20s and would like to see your writing published here? If you’ve got a story to tell, we’re all ears. Get in touch with us here.