Australian man Lachlan Beaton, 34, has released a touching video about the struggles he experienced coming to terms with his sexuality.
A former Australian Rules football player at Melbourne University, Beaton realised he was gay in his mid-teens. "I felt like such an outcast," he says in the video.
"I felt like if I was to come out and tell people that I was sexually attracted to men that I would be disowned and people would stop loving me," he said.
"It made me feel like it was wrong. So for years I hated myself. I hated who I was."
Beaton's fear of rejection plunged him into a deep depression. He engaged in self destructive behaviour, and drank excessively to "numb the pain".
Hiding his sexuality from his family, especially his twin brother Charles, was very hard.
"That was probably one of the most tiring things that one person could ever have to do," he said. "Hide every move, every text message, because it felt like it was the wrong thing to do to be gay."
Beaton uses the video to call for marriage equality in Australia, saying the law makes young people feel like it's wrong to be gay.
"Whilst marriage is not allowed in Australia... people will feel like this," he said.
"People will hide, people will hate themselves. And trust me, you'll live with that hate for a long long time."
After years of private torment, Beaton came out at age 27. He was "very well accepted" by his family, he said.
He now lives in New York with his partner, Marcin.
This morning, Liberal MP and marriage equality advocate Warren Entsch told The Guardian he was moved by Beaton's story.
Entsch said he would use Beaton's video to persuade other politicians of the importance of marriage reform.
"The cemeteries are full – are full – of people that have never been able to come to terms with their sexuality and that's a fact," he said.
"Why should we as a society do things that will contribute to filling those bloody vacant spaces in cemeteries because we're not prepared to accept the worth of an individual for who they really are?"
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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