AN online video by former Aussie Rules footballer Lachlan Beaton, in which he urges Australian MPs to legislate marriage equality, has gone viral on social media.
In the video, Beaton gives a candid account of his life as he endured years of torment and depression while hiding his sexuality from those around him before coming out seven years ago.
[showads ad=MREC]Now living in New York, Beaton’s video is a message to raise awareness calling for #EqualLove, the hashtag synonymous with the historic US Supreme Court ruling that legalised same-sex marriage over there.
He said: “Until we feel equal, we will continue to feel like gay isn’t normal… and this can have disastrous consequences on a young person.”
The 34-year-old, who openly admits to alcohol abuse, suicidal tendencies and ending up in hospital due to anxiety and depression, attributed his mental health problems to feeling “like a lesser human” because of his sexual identity.
“I grew up in the country, in Australia. I grew up in an area where it felt wrong to be gay,” Beaton explained in his video message.
“From the age of 14 or 15 I knew I was gay, I was attracted to men, and I felt like such an outcast.
“It is time to stop this, it is time to stop young people making them feel like it is wrong to be gay. And whilst marriage is not allowed in Australia, and while there is still discrimination, people will feel like this people will hide, people will hate themselves.”
Beaton also quoted statistics that showed young gay men and women are up to a 14 times more likely to suffer from depression or attempt suicide, that nine out of 10 gay youth have reported bullying and that 30 per cent of youth suicides are related to sexual identity.
Watch Lachlan Beaton’s video below: