I was born in Nowra and I was six weeks old when I was adopted. From then I lived in the same house until I was 13, which is when I left home. When I was adopted, there was jealousy from my older adoptive brother, because the boy attention was no longer on him. He has hated me ever since.
As far as I can remember, I was always getting bashed by him. I copped getting slung into walls, punches in the face. There was name-calling too. It was basically just from him. All I remember is that he was my big brother and I was scared of him.
He is 10 years older and I have an adoptive sister who is eight years older. I have always known that I was adopted -“ my adoptive parents have always told me that. I was adopted because my biological Mum was into petrol and glue, and she wanted to put me up for a few months while she dried out. My biological and my adoptive parents are Aboriginal, and my adoptive parents are in fact my great aunt and uncle.
I have got to know my biological Mum and we have a very good relationship. I also have a good relationship with my biological father, but we just don’t see each other so much.
I was out as gay at 15. At that time I was a little scared. My family was all right with it at first, but because a lot of stuff happened between my adoptive Mum and my brother and me, my adoptive Mum just kind of turned a bit funny on it.
Most of the family have turned their back because they don’t like the fact that I’m gay. It doesn’t worry me; I’ve got some supportive family and they’re the ones that I stick by.
I left home not because of homophobia but more because of the physical abuse from my brother. From 13 to 16 I was in and out of friends’ homes or living with my sister. I just moved if I felt threatened. If someone raised their voice at me, that was a reason for me to pack up and leave.
My sister eventually got onto using speed and I wanted to try it. She refused, but I kind of blackmailed her and she let me do it. She thought if something went wrong she would know what to do. Then I got myself addicted to speed, and I was on that for about two years, from 15 to 17. I got off it when I came to Sydney, with the help of Twenty10.
I was living in youth accommodation in Nowra before I came to the city. The Aboriginal liaison officer there heard Twenty10 was a support for young gay or lesbian people that also provided accommodation.
I was 17 when I came to Twenty10 in Sydney. I am 22 now. At the time I came up, I couldn’t put a sentence together with all the drug abuse. I was injecting speed at that stage.
I lived with Twenty10 for almost 10 months and then I moved back to Nowra for a few months. The second time I came here, I stayed in Twenty10 accommodation for almost two years. Then I moved out with my current boyfriend. We have been together almost two years. It’s a pretty strong relationship -“ we’re doing well.
I lived in Twenty10 accommodation with other young gay and lesbian people. It was up to us to try to maintain the house. If that didn’t work out then we would have weekly group meetings.
Twenty10 lent an ear. I had always wanted someone to talk on the same wavelength -“ to not talk to a straight person about gay problems.
I still drop in from time to time. I have recently done a peer support training, supported by Twenty10 and ACON. A few of us young gay and lesbian people got together and we are planning to organise an event.
My life has changed dramatically since I came to Sydney. I am off the drugs and I have a totally different point of view on people. Back then I was juvenile and I wasn’t thinking about the consequences. Now I can’t stop thinking about the consequences. I also feel more confident and self-aware. I know that I am not alone. I know there are people and help out there.
Interview by Ian Gould