Victorian father of four, Shaun Williams, 53, kept his sexuality a secret for almost 25 years.  “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.”

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Frightened To Come Out

 In an interview with Daily Mail, Williams said, “I suppressed it, I decided it would be something I would die with. I grew up in the 80s when there was a lot of gay-bashing, and the grim reaper AIDS ads, so I was too frightened to come out.”

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.

‘I Wasn’t Being Honest with Myself’

“My oldest daughter came out at 16, and two of my other children have come out as queer since. I realised I needed to support them and be honest.”

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Williams decided to talk with a psychologist, who eventually became the first person he came out to.

“Once I came out to him it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew then that I had to be honest with my family and friends,” he said.

Even though he didn’t know how his family would react, he came out to them the next day. 

‘One of the Worst Days of My Life’

“It was December 2019, just before Christmas, and it was one of the worst days of my life,” Williams said in an interview with SBS.

After telling his wife, he left the house to give her time to process and grieve.

“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 set up a private Facebook support group, which now has over 600 members.

Not Alone

“I was really amazed there was so many of us around. There’s a world full of men that have been through the same thing I had,” he said.

Williams currently has a partner of over two years.

Reflecting he said, “I have become a better person, a better father, being who I really am. And I’ve released that through hiding I wasted a lot of time.”

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