I was asked a question recently as to when I realised it was important to stand up for those in the LGBTI community. This was a difficult question to answer after hearing so many brave people tell their own stories.
I simply said that the moment you realise your brother considered ending his life, because he hated that he was gay, is the moment we need to stand up and make change.
Now, I am owning my past contribution to the problems associated with the LGBTI community. Enough is enough, and our children need to understand the impact of homophobic words and actions.
The current debate about marriage equality – and returning to my hometown recently – has got me thinking about my youth, growing up in country Victoria. Despite having a fantastic and happy childhood, I haven’t stopped thinking about some of the homophobia I contributed to during that time.
I wasn’t born free from homophobia. Just like I wasn’t born homophobic. But there is no doubt I was definitely a product of what I was exposed to. Growing up, it was common to come across homophobic language, whether that be at school, on the street or on the sporting fields. The word p**f, or fa**ot, was part of my vocabulary.