I grew up on a farm in Gippsland in Victoria. My parents had quite a big transport company, so I grew up around farming and trucks. I was able to drive trucks around the farm when I was about eight years old, I think.
Trucking is something that I’ve been brought up with. It’s like the old saying: It’s in your blood.
When I was 17 my father was killed in a horrific truck accident. Despite that, I got my truck licence at an early age, when I was 18.
I was driving interstate, so I was driving from Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane and so on. I have virtually done that since, driving all over the country. I am 32 now, so it’s been about 13 years since I started as a truckie.
I knew I was gay even as a young kid. But I got married because I thought this would change the way I felt. The marriage didn’t work out. My wife and I grew apart, partly because of the way I felt, but also because we were opposites.
I was working for a company transporting cars around Australia and I worked with another woman there who also drove a truck. She showed an interest in me and I thought: This girl is completely opposite to my wife.
I had left my wife at that stage, so this other woman and I took up together. I thought again this might change the way I feel. It lasted a few years, but then I finally decided that I was gay and I would accept it. I came out to my family.
I met my partner Jason. He had nothing to do with trucks, so I helped him get his licence. Then we bought a truck and he started coming with me on trips and we started driving. We have been together about three years and we have been working together about 12 months.
I’m out as gay to a point among other truckies, mainly among my friends who are truck drivers.
But it’s not really accepted at all in the transport industry.
I did know of one chap who was out. He was a driver for a large company, and his truck was spray painted with the word fag and all that sort of thing. He was also the subject of verbal abuse, and he didn’t last long in the industry.
Truck drivers have got this image -“ the Stubbies shorts and thongs and they’re men -“ and they can’t picture a gay guy driving a truck. It’s not something that’s tolerated or spoken about.
That said, there are a lot of truck drivers who have experimented, I think. You are away from home a lot, sometimes for weeks at a time. A lot of gay guys that I know have a fetish for truck drivers.
There’s a truck stop coming out of Melbourne that is quite an active beat. It’s a rest area. There’s a toilet block there and it’s pretty obvious.
Generally what happens is one truck driver and a non-truck driver get involved. But anything like this is never spoken about among truck drivers.
I am also a driving instructor now for heavy vehicles, teaching people to drive. I am quite openly out there. I have been doing that for about six months. I do that in Canberra.
A lot of people that I teach can’t understand I’m gay. I don’t tell them straight away, but after they’ve spent a few hours with me, it might come up in conversation and they can’t believe it. They say: You’re a gay guy and you’re driving a truck. It’s not the norm. The two don’t go together.
But many of the people I teach are younger guys and their attitudes are changing. A lot of my students, when they find out I’m gay, say: I don’t care. It doesn’t worry me.
Interview by Ian Gould