Viewers of local ABC TV series Outback House last week witnessed openly gay participant Dan Hatch biting the testicles off sheep. But it was the footage of him topless he was most concerned about.

Apologies to anyone who saw this week’s episode where I was shirtless, Hatch told Sydney Star Observer.

That was a bit of a shock to the system, including for me because I don’t think I’ve ever seen myself shirtless.

What, he doesn’t own a mirror? I try not to look, he said.

Hatch revealed he castrated a sheep with his own teeth because firstly, that’s how it was done in 1861 (when the show is set) because it was the quickest and most efficient method.

Secondly, he did it to prove his masculinity.

There was a guy in there called Bernie, the senior shepherd, who was very homophobic and picked on me mercilessly, Hatch said.

He felt like he was the tough bushie and I was this flamboyant prissy little poof who flounced round hanging muslin from the verandah. When we were marking the lambs and Bernie was doing it with his teeth, none of the other boys would do it. So I went, -˜Right, this is how I’m going to show you how tough I am.’ So I did it.

The 25-year-old newspaper journalist from Perth described the sheep testicles as being the texture of a jelly baby.

So does his boyfriend of two years get nervous now? No, it didn’t have the effect I thought it would. I think he knows he’s on safe ground, Hatch said.

The thought of coming out to a national audience did play on Hatch’s mind a little before signing on to the show. After all it’s only two years since he came out to his family (he also has a gay younger sister and says his father is the proudest dad in the world).

I did think about whether I was comfortable with the entire country knowing who I am. But at the end of the day I don’t see why I should be limited in opportunities because of my sexuality.

People have fought hard for our freedom, and if I don’t take those freedoms up I’m doing a disservice to all gay people.

So I went in there comfortable in myself and hoping I could do the best as a representative for our community. And I might have started off a bit badly, but I got there in the end.

That bad start was when he burst into tears after being left by himself overnight in the middle of nowhere to look after a herd of sheep. Hatch puts it down to a huge culture shock and the fact he was pining for his boyfriend.

As for what life would have been like for gay people back in 1861, Dan said homosexuality was quite illegal.

This was 30 years before Oscar Wilde was jailed. So historically speaking I could have quite easily been hung, drawn and quartered or shot. Fortunately there was no gun on set and these actually were 21st century people.

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Outback House is on ABC TV every Sunday at 7:30pm.

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