Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes has wowed the online world with his brilliant and eloquent account of why LGBT equality is so important.
When the Brisbane born and raised pop star heard the news about the victory of marriage equality in the United States, he joined millions of other people taking to social media to offer his support. But in an age where celebrities take to twitter every few minutes to offer their often ill-considered and grammatically incorrect opinions, Hayes’ genuinely deep, personal and touching contribution was a breath of fresh air. Opening up about issues such as being bullied at school, depression, coming out, and his marriage to husband Richard Cullen, Hayes is extremely honest and engaging. Here’s what he had to say:
“You can’t control or choose your sexuality.
I wrote that lyric 16 years ago when I was trying to tell the world that I was gay. It was from a song called ‘Affirmation’ and I still remember the moment when I performed it on the Jay Leno show, and on that particular line I looked toward the camera and winked. I wasn’t ready to do a sit down with Barbara Walters or have my ‘story’ on Us Weekly magazine. But I needed to let the people who loved me know that I was slowly starting to love and accept who I was.
I was born gay. I’m not a scientist, but I think it’s pretty clear sexuality is a trait, not a choice, and no more or less significant than eye colour or shoe size. But a trait perhaps with more in common with skin tone or race. A trait that has been used as a means of discrimination and separation.
The Supreme Court ruling today is a massive shift in human consciousness. Many people who take exception to a trait that I did not choose or decide upon, will feel slighted or maybe won’t understand why this is so significant to me and the millions like me. But let me put it to you in these terms. That trait was used to separate me, isolate me and make me feel outside life looking in for many many years.
When I was a little boy, I was innocent. My sexuality was emerging, like everyone’s does, through social behaviour. I would maybe sometimes want to play with the girls or dress up their dolls. Once I was caught kissing the boy next door. Society told me in no uncertain terms, that was wrong. And the feeling was bad. A feeling of deep shame, of wrongdoing. A feeling that made me feel like I was a bad person.
I was a child.
I grew up, knowing that who I was, who I was born to be, was bad.
I grew up, knowing that the fairy tales were for everyone else. The Prince marries the Princess. He doesn’t marry the Prince, right? The happy ever after was for everyone else.
So for years, I buried myself, and that burial was brutal. Combined with a very traumatic and violent childhood, and years of being bullied and physically threatened for being gay at school, I think I experienced depression and anxiety as a result. Conditions which I still deal with at 43 years old.
My depression got so bad, and my self-hatred so extreme, that I was, like many LGBTQ people, depressed to the point of suicide.
Thankfully, because I had such an understanding family, beautiful friends and the privilege to be able to afford to go to therapy – I managed to work through a lot of my sadness and get to a place in my life where I was emotionally strong enough to not only come out but to also be open to love. That’s how I was able to finally have a healthy relationship and ultimately find a soul mate.
I married my husband, Richard Cullen 3 times. Once illegally in the UK in 2005. Then a Civil Partnership in 2006. Then again in the United States in an ‘actual’ marriage with a license and everything in 2013. That’s how much I love him. But when I was a 13-year-old boy, praying to God to not make me gay, fearing I was going to die from AIDS and being spat on at school – I don’t know that I ever believed I would be here today. But here I am.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to live in a time when I know that the journey I went through is one that many young people in The United States and other countries where same-sex marriage is legal will be able to avoid.
Acceptance is a trickle-down theory.
Equally must start from the top tier of society and work its way down to action and results.
Today, the United States has sent a very clear message about the true nature of equality and I feel so very grateful for the hard work and perseverance all of those who came before me.
Love yourself. Love one another.”