In honor of Pride Month 🏳️🌈, I’d like to share a personal story: When I was fourteen, I traveled to Italy with my family to visit relatives. It was there, in the International airport in Rome, that I saw something that would impact my life in so many ways.
Let’s jump back a bit: I was fourteen, in my second year of high school (in Australia). A “pubescent teen” 🤪. I didn’t think it was an option to come out as gay at the time, nor did I really think that much into it. I’d just survived years of bullying through my primary school days and in high school, the bullying only intensified. I was told I was gay every day… among other things. So, just making it through my school years was my soul focus before I could even think about who I was. I’d figure everything else out whenever I’d see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, back to the airport in Rome: Walking with my mum and younger sister, I was observing all the international people around me. And there he was: this hot guy (about my age now), heading my direction. He was wearing a white tshirt that read: “SMILE, if you’re gay!” 🌈 I read that shirt and I SMILED! Here was this guy from somewhere in the world, traveling solo, wearing his #Pride, and, whether he knew it or not, impacting the lives of so many that saw him and read his shirt.
As he passed me, I quickly changed my face to ‘neutral’ 😶
in case I was ‘detected’ by my mum or someone else looking 😅
. Though my smile lasted only a few seconds in that moment, I stayed smiling on the inside. That smile would get me though all the torment I’d endure in the years ahead. Whenever I felt alone, misunderstood, and like there would be no happy future, I’d think of that moment.
The moment I turned eighteen, I travelled to New York, and - the rest is history! After this last past year, I just needed to breathe life into that memory. Enter my 2021 Pride collection. 😃🏳️🌈
By bringing this memory to life, I hope that young, closeted, confused, victimized LGBTQ+ people will take notice and SMILE. Because being your true self is ALWAYS something to smile about. I’m a proud gay man and I’m smiling because of it. We are NEVER alone.
Happy Pride Month everyone!🖤🤎❤️🧡💛💚💙💜