Sal

I prefer to say my sexuality is bent rather than queer. The only reason I don’t say queer, although I do identify as queer, is because I don’t really identify with mainstream queer culture.

When I was 12, there was a girl in my school, and every time I saw her at the corner store I’d get this really sick feeling in my stomach, which I finally identified with embarrassment and an attraction to women. I guess I realised that in a town like Bundaberg that made me fairly bent.

I had a relationship quite privately for about 12 months when I was 20. The only person who knew was my older sister. Not long after that I told my whole family. As I was in a fairly serious relationship, I travelled home to Bundaberg to tell my mum, and I remember having a big lump in my throat about it. She was more upset to find I was smoking cigarettes than dating girls, so that was fairly lucky. Dad yelled out from the greenhouse, “Pass me the spanner; Yeah I always knew.” So it wasn’t really an issue for my family. My brother came ‘round to my place with a carton of VB in 10 in the morning to say, “I love you. I accept you. Let’s drink a carton!” I possibly had the best case scenario coming out story. I have a wonderful family who love me, no matter what and how I choose to love, or how I live my life. It doesn’t matter to them so long as I’m happy. They’re ace people.

I think I was pretty optimistic about telling people because people always thought I was bent anyway, and my sexuality was just in addition to my bentness. I was more shocked that some people didn’t react well. Most people just look at me and go, “Gay.” So they’d usually ask me when I was at work, but I never once tried to hide it. I don’t feel it necessary to walk into somewhere and go, “I’m gay” in the same way people don’t go to work and say, “I’m straight. I just thought you should all know that I’m straight.” I think I was out in all my workplaces and I always took partners along to staff parties. And now I’m self-employed, so I tell myself regularly!

Spirituality definitely affects my work as a painter. I have a sense of letting things be with the universe that sometimes helps me get through certain things. I don’t believe in any particular god. I sift through philosophies from religions, like the Dalai Lama, but I don’t have a particular spirituality as such.

I’ve never really been any other way. I knew I was different even before I started noticing girls, and I’m happy to be that way. I think I’d be really bored if I wasn’t bent. Being just a little bit left of centre introduces you to so much more in the world. Even if you’ve had to suffer as a minority, and there are times when you are marginalised, it opens you up so much more. To me it’s a positive thing. I don’t think I’d have had half the experiences I’ve had if I hadn’t been bent. So I love it.

I guess I’m a little extroverted. I apply creativity to most things in my life, or I like to think that’s the way I am. I like to think that I’m quite individual, that I don’t follow the normal path, but that’s bent I guess. It’s great. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I first suspected I was gay in my teen years, although I never acted upon it. I came out when I was 21. I lost a lot of friends at that time but I made up for it by making new ones.

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I prefer to say my sexuality is bent rather than queer. The only reason I don’t say queer, although I do identify as queer, is because I don’t really identify with mainstream queer culture.

When I was 12, there was a girl in my school, and every time I saw her at the corner store...

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The first word that comes into my head; sensual, and the best way I explore that is with another woman. It started early on in terms of insights and awareness of my own body, but labels and what society calls it would have been in secondary school. I was about 27 when I came out. It was so...

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I suppose because I’m with a woman at the moment, I’d describe myself as a lesbian, but I like that whole idea of describing myself as fluid, and I don’t like being put in a box; I never have. I was with a man before, so some people might call me bisexual. Personally, I’d rather describe...

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I would describe myself as being gay or homosexual. I’ve always known I was gay, but didn’t first tell anyone until I was 15. When I was about 19 I told my friends and family, so that’s when I’d say that I became gay or socially out. Once I said it to myself, I thought “God, this is...

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