I grew up quite an effeminate individual, and mastered the art of hiding it from friends and family. It wasn’t until I used to get home from school, and played the cheesy pop music from Spice Girls or Steps on the local radio station while dancing around. I hated hiding behind the more masculine version of myself, and wished I had the confidence to live my authentic self.
Section 28, introduced in 1988 prohibited the ‘promotion of homosexuality,’ as the party in power felt that children in schools needed to ‘be taught to respect traditional moral values’, and that they are being ‘taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.’ This meant that I, like others, didn’t have that figure to look at in books at school, and certainly couldn’t speak to any teacher about who I really was.
Growing up, coming out and in my professional life, I still struggled being my true self as I was concerned that people wouldn’t like me for my orientation or respect me in the workplace, so I still held myself back – I needed someone or something to help me along the way.