Their Own Words - An Introduction
Real life stories about growing up Gay in Australia
Their Own Words – An Introduction
I recently found a quote on the Facebook page of a friend and fellow author which I felt should definitely be shared. Some of you may have seen this already, but for those who haven’t I think you will agree that it is very relevant in today’s world.
“ The pressures on gay teens can be overwhelming – to keep secrets, tell lies, deny who you are, and try to be who you’re not. Remember: you are special and worth being cared about, loved, and accepted just as you are. Never, ever let anyone convince you otherwise.” Alex Sanchez (Author)
Over the years I have spoken with, or received messages from, many young men who have felt overwhelmed by the feelings brought upon them by their discovering their sexuality, the secrets that they have been keeping and struggles they have faced on a daily basis.
Many have thanked me for my stories, and especially for the way in which I dealt with issues such as dealing with coming out or coming to terms with their sexuality. It has humbled me to think that my words have made a difference in someone’s life, because that was never really my intention. All I ever set out to do was tell a realistic and entertaining story, and one that people might be able to relate to.
In reading their responses and in some cases getting to know some of these young men and chatting with them online or in person, I have heard many personal experiences. These have ranged from the beautiful to the horrific, and in listening to all of these if there has been one thing that has stood out to me it is the fact that each and every boy who identifies as gay or bi or trans has, at some point in their lives, felt the pain of feeling as if they didn’t belong, the despair of loneliness, of thinking they are alone with their particular problem and not knowing who to turn to.
I know that was what it was like for me. And I know that is what it has been like for thousands more.
Some of the tales I have been told by these young men honestly left me shaken. Hearing of the brutality that some people have experienced, often at the hands of their own families or people they considered to be friends, also made me realise that, all things considered, I didn’t really have it that bad while growing up. I could still, however, relate to the events they spoke of, and to their pain and heartbreak and I found myself with a desire to try and show them that it isn’t all bad, and that it does get better.
When I mentioned this to another friend one time, someone who has been involved in educating and providing services to underprivileged children for many years, I suggested that it would be nice if these stories could be collected and made available in one easily accessible place, or in a book, so that anyone can access them. She just looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you do it?’, and so, that is what I decided to do. Some names may have been changed along the way, to respect the wishes of those who were brave enough to let their stories be told, but I began gathering these stories together and will now be sharing those that have been shared with me, in the hope that in some small way these varied experiences can help others to navigate the dark days they feel they may be facing.
Eventually I would like to publish the stories of these young men in print form, but for now this is the best place to start. Please find below links to these stories.