For Jordan, growing up gay in regional Australia was hard. Here’s how he worked through confusion and anxiety to feel pride and joy for being himself.
I always had a feeling from a young age that I was into guys, but the environment I surrounded myself with deemed that to be wrong. Especially attending a catholic school, society educated me to be straight. That was the ‘normal’ thing to be.
In the small regional town of Murwillumbah, we didn’t grow up with gay pride events or meet-ups, and our options of finding other gay people in the area were limited. This sometimes made me confused and uncomfortable in my own skin.
It wasn’t until I left high school and started shaping my own life that I finally started being who I was, and very few judged me for it—even though I thought they would.
As someone who’s travelled a lot, you don’t just ‘come out’ once. You have to come out at every new job you start, or friendship group you associate with. However, over the years, this has become a way of growing pride in me.
For anyone growing up as LGBT+ in regional Australia, there are ways you can help strengthen pride in who you are, and take ownership of your destiny.
Find a sense of community
Surround yourself with people who are going to support you no matter what. Even though most people in the world are in support of who you are, there are still some uneducated folk out there basing their beliefs on what society has taught them regarding social normalities.
Attend pride events and festivals
This can be a great way to surround yourself with people just like you. Let’s be real, a drag show is great entertainment for just about anyone.
Mardi Gras is the largest annual pride festival in Australia held in Sydney every year. You’ll realise that, even though you grew up regionally, you’re not so different after all.
Sydney is also hosting the 2023 World Pride Festival so that’s also something to look forward to.
Connect on social media
If you don’t have access to any of these events, not to worry. Social media communities such as Australian LGBT Community pages on Facebook and Reddit offer chat and friendship virtually so that you can feel a sense of community from wherever you are.
Test out your creative niche
Believe it or not, a lot of LGBT+ people are well-established creatives—writers, actors, artists, you name it. Test out your choice of expression, whether that be poetry, journaling, cooking or painting. Expression through creation is an achievement in itself.
Growing up gay in regional Australia isn’t that bad. It’s actually great! Own it.