I have been working with ACON and the youth projects for quite some time. It’s really not that hard at all, more so giving up a little of your time every six weeks and going in and talking to the young guys about my life and the gay and lesbian community as I see it.
It’s not just me on the community panel, there is a mix of other gays with just as interesting stories, from sporting to politics to film.
Sometimes the boys sit there in complete silence, even when opening the group up for questions.
On the flip side there are other groups that won’t shut up and, by the end of the community panel, you leave feeling like you have just completed an interrogation from the secret service.
I asked one of the quiet groups why they weren’t as chatty as others. One man said, at school, whenever there was public speaking, it would make him sick.
Having done public speaking all my life I thought it was quite a strange reaction given it comes quite naturally to me. So I stopped a moment to think of things that scared me stiff.
I used to get very anxious about being naked, even changing in a clothes shop would send me into a tail spin. I think this came from being a fat child and my body issues seemed to carry on. I’m fine with it now — I even got naked on the Opera House steps!.
The dark also sends shivers up my spine which I attribute to growing up in the country. When it is dark in the bush it is pitch black, and if you’re walking from the car to the house, which at times could be quite a distance, well you could step on just about anything.
Central Queensland is a wild place with its cane toads, stick insects, cats, dogs — and that’s just close to the house.
While I have sort of grown out this, the dark still makes me nervous sometimes, especially trying to pee in dark toilets while talking into an iPhone and holding up a glamourous frock.
So while I understand some you young people out there have fears, remember they can be overcome with a little bravery and a lot of heart. And doing so will make your life even more interesting.