It’s been a long time, and much has happened. So many wonderful moments, but there are also the sad, troubling and anxious moments too. Those moments make you stronger, so much stronger than you think you could ever be right now at 17 or 18. Your life will challenge you over the next few decades, which is the best thing for you, and it has made you the person you are today. These challenges have pushed your boundaries beyond the quiet and good young man you are. Which is all you really aspired to be.
Your life goes nowhere that you think it is going to go right now. That young blonde girl you talk to on the tram when going to school, well you marry her and have two awesome children, the youngest you are about to walk up the aisle where she will start on her own life journey. The other child, a son, now has gifted you an amazing grandson who you just adore.
This all sounds unbelievable doesn’t it? And it would, because you have been considering so many different options as to where your life should go. You don’t want to be gay, but you do want to be with that boy. You like the feeling when you’re together. It is so scary I know. You feel the guilt is written all over you. You haven’t looked your parents in the eyes for a few years now, and there has been no affection in your home for as long as you can remember. You don’t think you want anything that your family offers, and you’d rather be alone. You’re scared. It is the time of the AIDS crisis after all. You think that is what is awaiting you and you probably deserve it. I mean, that is exactly what everyone in church and around you are saying. They’re wrong.
Soon you will make the right decision for you and start working for a merchant bank, much earlier than you expected, rather than going to university. You learn that there is a big world out there, and you’re not a bad person. Also, you’re not that quiet, but that still takes a while to find out. Unfortunately, you find that some workplaces are just as homophobic as your family and the church, and the guilt of your past rises again. You are married and have a child now, so you are in the clear from most of the comments but not all of them (it’s the 1980’s and those pink, mint or yellow shirts and the woven flat bottom and leather ties were always going to spark some criticism from some in the office).
But that feeling of loss and not being true to you is never far away. It never has been.
You will change jobs and begin to work at NAB where you find your place.
At NAB they don’t tolerate homophobia, they’re fun people, and it’s a great place to work – it must be, you’ve been there for 26 years now.
You divorce quietly, and then you have the courage to come out and be true to yourself. While you don’t don the pride flag on your suit or become someone different, you do come out at work in a big way, which is so unlike you. It’s the boost to your confidence you need. You’re at an end of financial year work party, the waiter has been attentive all night and when a certain song comes on, out of the blue he drags you onto the dance floor to dance, and then you kiss…. It is like time stopped and everyone is watching, but you won’t care. For the first time in your life, you have done something just for you.
I know that you have always worried that your work would not accept you, and you would lose where you felt safe and supported, but they will support you, now more than ever. Believe it or not you are even part of the NAB Pride Events Committee.
Where are you now? Well, time has been good. You have your own family, who are all very close. You’re still good friends with your ex-wife. You really enjoy your work life. You have an amazing group of friends, some new, some old, and some are your ‘NAB family’. Oh, and for the last eight years you have been married to your amazing husband. You’re doing good.
One piece of advice and only one: Keep going, choose you but think of others too. You’ll be more than ok.
Wear It Purple Day’s purpose is to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for LGBTIQ+ people. NAB strives to offer all employees a safe space to be their true selves, and does not tolerate any kind of prejudice. We’re all entitled to be our true selves, both at work and at home. To learn more about how NAB nurtures an inclusive and diverse workplace visit NAB Pride.