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Steves Full Story

Well, my coming out story is a little bit different, I can't divulge all the details but here goes.
I am in the Armed Forces and I came out a bit later, when I was 22. I kind of always knew that I was "different" during school. I had a few girlfriends but didn't really think of them as lovers. I thought that I was just going through a phase and that things would be better later on in life.

I joined the military with the thought that I would become straight and butch. I never thought that I was gay; I just thought I would concentrate on work and someone special would come along.
I fell in love with a boy I knew. I denied it for ages and ages, I didn't know what I was feeling. I talked to heaps of people, asking for explanations of the feelings I was having. It was really tough and I was really depressed.

The military isn't the best place to be when you’re having problems but I was offered really excellent counselling advice and people were really helpful. But, I was still in denial. I went around for about 1 and half years with this crush on this guy which turned into an obsession. I started wanting to know everything that he was doing, where he went and who he was with. I even wanted to have the same clothes as he. I wanted to have the same body, use the same shampoo etc. It was nuts and I really was a mental mess.

I talked to my Mum and Dad a lot about it; they were really supportive and didn't judge me. Both my parents said that they would still love me no matter what. But I was convinced that I wasn't gay. I turned to religion, went to different churches to try and fit in. The obsession continued to get more and more intense. I needed to get away from it all. It took me a long time to realise that all the signs were there and all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place.

I had a really low self esteem and I needed to let go. I finally came out to one of my friends; I said "I am gay". We both had a really big cry. I felt so much better, like a load off my mind and my body.
For two years, I was in constant mental battles with my mind but now I was over the first step. Not knowing how I would be accepted at work was the next biggest hurdle, but I found that people don't really care, if fact, they think it is great!

Not many people have gay friends of my age and they think it is really cool. I am so much happier now! I have a boyfriend and we are living together, life is great! Work in the military is perhaps different but all my bosses and people who work for me don't care or if they do they don’t show it.

I also go into schools in my area to talk about being gay and coming out with an organisation called Rainbow Youth. I feel that if I had that when I was at school I wouldn't have taken so long to come out, but all things are there for a reason.

Love who you are. Don't live life with a mask over your face.

What we mean when we say queer

A reclaimed word that represents sexuality and gender diversity. We use it to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, fa'afafine, and takataapui identities, as well as everyone in between and not sure. This word is used by many people, but it is also appreciated that it is not the preferred term for everybody.

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