A vase of flowers, a frame, a stack of magazines and a dog lay on the ground. Stereotypically me.

A man walks down the street.

Just one look at him and you can tell – he’s one of “those”.

By his side, his preened pet poodle-cross trots on a leash.

He’s sipping an oat milk latte,

Holding a bunch of fresh flowers purchased from his local florist,

His headphones are in, tuned to the ‘Total Pop Divas’ playlist on Spotify –

This man truly might just be the gayest thing you’ve ever laid eyes on.

He pauses before quickly zipping into his local newsagent to buy the most recent edition of Vogue,

And wow – he’s done it,

He’s actually managed to get even gayer in the few seconds since you first noticed him.

But it all just seems too obvious,

It’s as though he’s a caricature.

Like a team of out-of-touch Hollywood writers have dreamt him up,

Throwing together a mood board of every gay cliché in the book,

And mashed it all into this one character.

But this isn’t merely a character –

Oh no,

This is a living, breathing member of our society.

He’s me.

I’m that guy.

I’m the stereotype.


There will come a time in your life where some way, somehow, you’ll catch yourself in the mirror and realise you’ve become a stereotype.

You’re it. It’s you.

That stereotype you’ve heard about all your life,

That one cliché,

It sneaks up on you,

Building from a passing interest, into a hobby, into a love.

It’s not something you ever planned,

But somewhere along the way, it’s something you’ve come to completely embody.

Rarely is it everything you are,

But you’ve got to admit,

There’s at least one thing you do that fits so perfectly with a stereotype that’s out there.

Yet – ashamed of it or not – it’s such a part of who you are that you’ve come to be comfortable with the fact that it’s something that you’ll never stop doing.


Whether you’re the girl who truly does just love the colour pink,

Or a guy who’s brought to tears by his team catching a ball the best.

The mum who joins a book club only to see the bottom of more champagne glasses than pages of any novel,

Or who has a ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ sign hanging somewhere in her kitchen.

The Aussie male who enjoys nothing more than smashing cans of VB,

Or who thought a southern cross tattoo would be a good idea.

The old man who suddenly finds himself shaking his fists at the disrespectful, unruly youth of today,

Or the lawyer who has no soul.

There are thousands and thousands of stereotypes out there, and sometimes we find we just slot right on into one –

Or two…

Or a whole bunch.

But what makes that a bad thing?


When I ‘came out’, I remember someone said to me:

“I love you, this is great – just don’t become a stereotype”.

So I tried.

I did my best to be the ‘right’ kind of gay –

Whatever that was.

I tried being the unassuming one, the one you’d only ever know was gay when they chose to tell you.

Just a dude…who happened to love another dude…

That lasted about a minute.

Maybe even less.

Because for me, and where I was at that time in my life,

After a decade of not wanting to be gay, then years of trying to hide being gay,

To end up in a situation where I had to avoid being the type of gay that wasn’t ‘acceptable’,

It was all getting to be too much.

The limits I was placing on myself were becoming suffocating,

I was stopping myself from being my truest self and enjoying what I wanted to enjoy,

So I ended up impeding any sense of happiness that I could have felt.

There were parts of me and my life that almost seemed like they were plucked off a conveyor belt in a factory that produced gay men they were such a cliché.

But why should I have to fight these things?

Pretend that I didn’t like them?

Isn’t it far more honest (and a whole lot easier) to realise that these are some of the most enjoyable parts of my day and my life,

And the best parts of who I am and what I have,

And about time I started enjoying them.



For so long, I associated being ‘identifiably gay’ as the biggest threat to my person.

Any hobbies, clothing, anything really, that someone may deem ‘gay’ was out.

And the floundering to associate myself with something more acceptable began.

Years were spent listening to music I didn’t want to listen to,

Pretending to be interested in people, movies and topics that brought no enjoyment to my world.

Lie upon lie built upon as a masked persona.

After years spent monitoring yourself and hiding what may give you away,

It’s hard to remember what you actually like,

And even if you do – to not then feel shame around the things you like.

But once you’re through that time,

And you’re comfortable being exactly who you are –

That’s when life is free and enjoyable.

Though unfortunately, some people don’t ever make it to this place.

They spend their lives apologising for who they are or denying it outright –

Forever endeavouring to live up to other people’s ideals, expectations, and judgements,

Only to end up with nothing.

For a while, or for forever, you can be so wrapped up in what other people think of you,

Spending so much of your life observing yourself through other people’s eyes.

Second-guessing every move you make and suppressing your happiness out of true fear of rejection or violence,

That when it is that you ‘come out’,

Or completely accept yourself in whatever form that may take,

It can be hard to turn that tap off.

So instead, you let it flow.

Years of hiding and of pain, now an unstoppable flow of freedom and pride.


And wherever the mockery or sneers may come from,

(Whether it be from inside your community or externally),

We’re all tarred with the same rainbow-coated brush.

‘Masc’, ‘fem’, ‘I’m not like the other ones’,

Is all irrelevant.

Besides, once you’ve had a you-know-what, put in your you-know-where, or put your you-know-what, in a, you-know

You’re just as gay as the next guy, no matter what colour shirt you’re wearing,

And no amount of fighting against a certain stereotype is going to make you any less gay.

Or make you any less middle-aged.

Or any less male.

Or white.

You are who you are – so what are you going to do about it?


Because when you make it out of the closet,

You do so by shedding the shackles of what people may have expected from the ‘old you’.

To the outside world, it looks like you’ve ‘changed’,

When in reality, you’re more you than you ever have been before,

It’s just that now, everyone else is invited to see the real you too.

So to go back to denying your reality all over again to fit some external expectations of what a gay man ‘should be’ can feel like the worst case of déjà vu –

Like coming out of one closet only to walk right on into the next one.

Because once you’ve given yourself that initial taste of true freedom,

It’s hard to go back to putting parameters on how ‘you’ you will be for the sake of other people.

Besides, it’s too hard to keep up with what other people want from us.

There will never be one consensus, no one will ever completely agree, and we’d be constantly shedding parts of ourselves, adding new layers, then shedding those too.

So the best cure is to be completely and utterly who we are on the inside.

Our truest self.

Because that’s when the fun really starts…


Life’s too short to deny ourselves the simple pleasures.

Because pleasures in life are really all we have.

The only balm to a world that can oftentimes be too cruel to comprehend.

So if we live to appease everyone else’s opinions,

We will end up having never really lived at all.

And the things I do, the things I love,

They are what makes me who I am.

And are what make me great,

And new.

Those things are like my skeleton.

A part of my DNA.

The things that I am built upon, too far deep inside of me to ever be truly tampered with.

And no matter how hard you may try, you can’t change your skeleton.

You can’t change the way you’re made.

You can try – sure.

With all manner of masks and disguises,

But what is underneath will always remain,

No matter what.

And that is who you will go to bed with every night,

And who you will wake up as – day after day after day.

And if I choose to hide these things,

Deem them shameful or embarrassing,

All it does is pass on the shame I feel on to someone else,

Who will have to fight their own battles with the exact same thing.

So I choose to live for them (but more importantly, for me).

I choose to be happy –

I choose to be the stereotype.


We’ve been saying it for years now,

That ‘Love is Love’,

That all love is equal, that all love is real, and that love should come without shame or consequence.

Love for ourselves, love for the world around us – and an unapologetic love for the things that we…love.

Because love is everything we should be striving for right now.

In a world marred with wars, endless hatred, and pandemics,

Where the joys of our lives can be snatched away by external forces at any moment

– why would we ever give them up earlier than we need to?

Besides, I’d rather be able to share and revel in the joys of my life so that others can too,

Than be an empty frame, too afraid to offer up what colours my world.

Because to love something is the greatest gift we not only give to ourselves,

But that we give to the world too.

Because when we love something,

It lights us up,

And so then the world around us lights up too.

We shine when we have it, when we talk about it, or when we experience it.

And whether it’s a film, our dog, a place in the world, or that one Taylor Swift song we simply can’t get enough of –

Being a source of light, of joy, of happiness in the world,

Is exactly the antidote to a whole bunch of the problems we have right now.

It’s a cliché, I know…but isn’t that kind of the point?


Who I am now – the stereotype,

I’m everything now that my 16-year-old self would hate.

I’m making it ‘too obvious’,

Putting myself out there too much,

Which will inevitably get me hurt by something that someone else says.

But amidst the hatred that he’d have for me, stemming purely from a place of severe fear, self-preservation and self-loathing,

What I have now that he doesn’t – is happiness.

True, honest, happiness.

A pride in oneself that he hasn’t found yet,

A peace in knowing exactly who he’s meant to be.

So this is for him.

All of it.

Everything he’d tell me not to do.

Everything he’d tell me not to be.

Because I know that deep down, I’m living out his dream right now.

In fact – I’m going to go get a little gayer,

Just for him.

A real stereotype.