I have recently moved out to Penrith back to my family home. I am really enjoying the change. It”s quiet, peaceful and so much cheaper.

One of the big changes for me though has been my wardrobe -” suddenly I have to rethink my whole attire.

Maybe it really is not a good idea to wear a belt in the middle of Penrith Plaza saying -˜I Love Boys”. Or even simple things like a shirt that”s just a little too tight or jeans that hang just below the belt line. There is so much to think about… and I haven”t even left the house.

Having said that, why should I hide who I am? I like wearing aussieBum undies so people can see the label. I like wearing my favourite pair of skinny jeans.

I”ve made these changes in order to stay safe in an area not renowned for appreciating our sexuality. I could really wear whatever I like and just deal with people”s abuse and comments. But sometimes it isn”t worth the time or energy. And is it worth my own safety?

We only have to look back to school days to see what happens to guys who are a little bit effeminate or women who have a slight masculine side.

It”s a shame we have to think about these things in order to keep ourselves safe. But there are things we can do to stand against homophobic culture.

The International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO) is coming up on 17 May. Soon you can go to a new Australian website to upload your picture and statement against homophobia.

If you experience homophobia the Lesbian & Gay Anti-Violence Project is there to support people. You can call, sms or make a report online. Call 9206 2116 or 1800 063 060 or visit acon.org.au/anti-violence.

It”s important if you have experienced homophobia to report it. You shouldn”t have to hide to be safe. Seen it? Heard it? Report it!

info: If you want any information about groups, services, organisations or community events in western Sydney, contact Matt Vaughan on
9206 2064.

Matt is the Community Development and Liaison Officer for the ACON Western Sydney Community Development Team.

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