After Coming Out To Wife, Shaun Williams Created Support Group For Gay Fathers
In 2020, Victorian father Shaun Williams was true to himself and came out to his wife after 25 years of marriage.
Since then, Williams has created an online support group called Gay Fathers Worldwide, for men in similar situations.
The group currently has over 800 members across 6 continents.
In an interview with Star Observer, he said, “It’s set up as a safe space where men can talk without shame or judgment.”
‘I Wasn’t Being Honest With Myself’
Last year, in an interview with Daily Mail Australia, he described the inner turmoil he was feeling before coming out.
“I had to decide between coming out, losing my family and my amazing wife or ending it all to get away from the pain I knew I was going to cause everyone,” he said.
Eventually, not being himself started to affect his mental health. “I was struggling with depression and anxiety, I wasn’t being honest with myself,” he said.
Williams decided to talk with a psychologist, who eventually became the first person he came out to. Even though he didn’t know how his family would react, he came out to them the next day.
“It was December 2019, just before Christmas, and it was one of the worst days of my life,” Williams told SBS.
After telling his wife, he left the house to give her time to process and grieve.
‘There Must Be Other People Going Through This’
“I had felt so alone and it took me about six months to really find my feet. I’d felt isolated. So I said ‘there must be other people going through this’.”
In October 2020, Williams, with his now partner, set up the Facebook support group, Gay Fathers Worldwide.
“I was really amazed there were so many of us around. There’s a world full of men that have been through the same thing I had,” Williams shared.
Gay Fathers Worldwide will also be getting a website to complement its Facebook page.
Williams explained, “It’s about having a space of non-judgement and a place where men can talk openly and without feeling ashamed.”
I Wanted To Change Jobs
In October 2022, Williams started his own private counselling business, called Bent Couch Counselling, in order to make “positive change in the mental health of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
“I was working in construction – after the interview, and after starting up [Gay Fathers Worldwide], I came across a lot of people who resonated with my story,” he shared.
“I started talking to a lot of people and realised I wanted to change jobs, so I went into counselling and I went to study full-time.”
‘Know That You’re Not Alone’
For people who find themselves in a similar situation, Williams had advice. “Know that you’re not alone. Know that there is life after coming out and being your true self.”