When Magda Szubanski was in year 8 she fell in love. But it was a love that could only exist within herself, one destined to be unrequited. A secret.
All because the person she’d fallen in love with happened to be a female friend.
In Wednesday night’s episode of ABC program, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, the now-famous Australian actor spoke about the turmoil that experience stirred up inside her.
Watch: Magda was one of the most prolific campaigners for marriage equality.
“I started to really realise then that I was gay,” she said. “But it was a terrifying realisation, because it was 1974. And then, it was considered to be a psychiatric illness, it was illegal and, really, you were going to hell.”
Magda couldn’t open up to anyone about what she was going through at the time. Not a soul. She didn’t dare. Back then, she said, coming out as gay meant being a pariah and guaranteed social isolation.
But there was loneliness in her struggle, too.
“With LGBTQI people, you’re a minority of one within your family. And that’s a completely terrifying feeling, because that’s primal. That’s your unit of safety. And to know that you carry this secret that eats away at you and everything around you is telling you that it’s sinful, you’re a sinner, you’re going to hell, it plunged me, frankly, into a nervous breakdown,” she said.
“I completely lost my confidence, I was crying all the time, my grades — I’d been one of the top of the class — they just absolutely went to hell.”