by JAMES AITKEN
I’ll never forget the day I listened in on a conversation I heard my elder brother having with my mum during which he uttered the words: “mum, I am gay”. I’ll never forget because I felt my world fall apart around me in an instant.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and the words pierced through my ears, ringing as my heart raced. I ran to my room, shut the door and fell to the ground weeping.
I was fifteen years old. I was fifteen years old and angry. Angry that my brother, eighteen, had revealed this. Angry because now things were going to change within my family. Angry that there was nothing I could do to change the situation. Angry because he didn’t even encompass characteristics of what I had understood a “typical” gay man to embody. But mostly I was angry because he had taken this away from me.
Yes, I was gay too.
I was fifteen and in year 9 at high school. He was in first year university. Worlds apart in our stages in life. From then on things changed. I became reserved and quiet, restrictive and cautious about what I revealed about myself. I locked my soul away and felt the burden of a very secret shame. I was ashamed of myself and the genetics of which I was carrying. I was ashamed of my parents and their ability to produce two homosexual children. The unnaturalness of this made me sick and I couldn’t bear to be around them.