Why I Posed, by Norman

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Homophobia is something I have grown up with all my life: in my childhood, Primary School, High School and as a young closeted adult; even after I came out I was assaulted when coming out of a gay club in my early days in Sydney.

Growing up I felt a sense of self-hatred - because I had been raised to hate gay people - and a sense of worthlessness, because I had been brought up without any respect for gay people. I grew up without any positive or ‘acceptable’ gay role models, given that society wrongly perpetuated the myths that gay men are all predators, effeminate or AIDS-carriers.


I was taught to believe that I would be better off dead than gay. At school the term 'gay' was used to define weakness or disgust along with terms like ‘poofta’ and ‘faggot’, which I was called often. My greatest fear growing up was how my homosexuality will affect my family, that my friends will abandon me because I was gay; however, as I found out my real friends accepted me for who I was.

One of the biggest catalysts that changed everything for me was the shocking gay hate crime that led to the death of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Matthew, University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was finally found. I still mourn his death each October. Matthews’s death gave me the courage come out of the closet and face my fears.

Throughout my journey I learned that in the end you've got to respect yourself. Now I can say that if other people have a problem with me, that's their problem. I know I'm a decent, loyal, loving and kind person, and that should be enough for people.

I have also been very fortunate to have so many great friends in my life who have given me strength and support. Some people walk into our lives and leave so quickly, while others leave footprints on our souls. These people, who we seem to love the most, have one quality that others don't: They can show us that which is lovable about ourselves. My two friends Mike (pictured on the right) and Maty (pictured in the middle) have been my greatest inspiration, teachers and supporters through this journey.

My advice to everyone struggling with their sexuality would be this: Don't be afraid. Don't fight it; it’s something that is inevitable, whether you like it or not. I tried to be straight, and it took years of pain and depression for me to see that it just doesn’t work. Last of all, be yourself. If people can't deal with it, too bad. You are here to stay. Always remember, you must love and accept yourself before you can love and accept others.

Now I am totally at peace with myself and have gained the mental strength to be honest about my homosexuality. I reject ignorance, hatred and homophobia and campaign and fight against it.

Proudly participating in the NOH8 Campaign is something I have wanted to do for years and is just one small gesture I can make in my fight against homophobia.

Thank you Adam and the NOH8 Team, for your great work and for allowing me to be part of it.


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