Big Brother housemate Zach Douglas came within 500 votes of becoming the first gay housemate to win Australia’s Big Brother on Sunday night.

The 24-year-old Melbourne corsetiere spent 50 days locked in the Gold Coast compound after entering the house as an intruder.

He lost by a margin of 51-49 percent to Aleisha Cowcher, also from Victoria -“ the closest vote in the history of Australian Big Brother.

Douglas said the level of support had left him completely overwhelmed.

After growing up in a small country town, where I was always heckled for being gay, there was no way I anticipated this support, he told Sydney Star Observer on Tuesday.

I used to be abused in the street, guys would yell -˜faggot’ or -˜poofter’ from their cars and I have had people spit at me.

I don’t know if it’s my hair, or the way I walk, but I clearly stand out when I walk down the street.

Douglas’s father was concerned about Zach taking part in the show for fear his son would be further mistreated.

So to have the experience become one of the most positive and empowering of his life, Douglas said, reinvigorated his father’s hope in humanity.

Prior to entering the house, Douglas told Big Brother host Gretel Killen about his fear of blokey housemate Travis.

I said that because of what happened in my life prior to Big Brother, he said.

Travis just fitted the bill of the type of guy that would potentially bash me.

But it turned out that he didn’t care I was gay one little bit. It is extremely gratifying and comforting to know that there are people like Travis out there.

Douglas’s fondness for fellow housemate Billy was suspected by Australian viewers early on -“ and it was confirmed when he confessed to Billy that he was the perfect package and was delicious.

Billy is hot, we all know that, Douglas said.

But he was also compassionate and he gave me so much time in there. He was prepared to listen, he was genuine and he always made sure I was heard. It felt like a brotherly relationship.

Douglas, who works as a corsetiere for his own label Zach Douglas Designs, said he hoped to one day make a corset for Kylie Minogue or Christina Aguilera.

I had tickets to see Christina Aguilera but I couldn’t go because I was in the house, he said.

It was painful, they were A reserve, I lined up at 7am for those tickets.

Douglas won $20,000, a car and a Vietnam holiday.

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