Being asked to write an article for the Mr. Gay New Zealand competition is probably the second scariest thing I have ever done for a number of reasons.
First and foremost because I have no idea how to write an article.
Secondly, because we were told to pick a topic to write about which made my head spin, as there are so many topics available to us.
So I thought I would write about the scariest thing I have ever done. Attend a queer youth group for the first time.
Now you may think, “Oh what’s so scary about that?” Well for a 13-year-old, who is just coming to terms with their sexuality and has some serious social anxiety issues it’s worse than being thrown into a den of wolves and that’s what it felt like stepping foot in the doorway of the building Waikato Queer Youth was being held in.
Here was I, an already frightened little baby gay from Huntly, stepping into a world full of confident, loud, proud, brave people.
I can distinctly remember hearing my own blood pounding in my eardrums. The feeling of my hands sweating out of nervousness. The thoughts bouncing in my head of “why did I let him talk me into this?” Him being my first ever boyfriend.
Thinking back on it now I would never have had the guts to go by myself so to him, I am incredibly grateful for introducing me to a place that, little did I know, would soon become my second home.
As I walked over the threshold into the aforementioned den of wolves I was greeted with nothing but warmth and welcoming. The feeling of belonging was instant and addictive.
Suddenly I had found people I could be myself around. Colourful, beautiful, kind people.
I was seeing more rainbows than I had ever seen in my life. I was hearing laughter, talking, and smiles in people’s voices. I kept thinking, “Why was I ever afraid of this?”
That was 7 years ago now and I still have not left. In that 7 years, I have seen people come and go, babies be born and grow up, I have lost friends and gained a family.
But above all my pride, confidence and self-assurance has grown exponentially. I am not the same frightened teen I was when I first attended and I owe it all to that little group of people just like me.
In a way, I guess this is an open letter to my younger self and anybody in the LGBTQI+ community who is afraid to accept themselves for any reason.
It will get better. One day you will hold your head up high and be who you are for the world to admire. I was just as frightened as anyone could be.
Now here I am in a competition to fight for the rights and issues of our community around the world.
I went from a frightened teen to a confident young man in a short time all with the support of my community and especially that beautiful little group of people.
I owe my pride to Waikato Queer Youth and the people who have attended and continue to attend.
I am now a youth mentor there and every day I am in awe of the young people who come into our group filled with confidence and pride in who they are.
I admire the youth who walk through our door and I’m privileged to watch them grow and move on to start their own support groups in schools and help each other be better people in the world.
I would argue that the queer community is one of the strongest communities in the world.
We have and continue to face so much prejudice and hate but in the face of it all, we stand defiant and strong and proud.
Sure, we aren’t as held down as we once were but we still have a long way to go until we are all seen as the equals we are.
For more on Logan and the other finalists of Mr. Gay New Zealand visit the website www.mrgaynewzealand.com
Last Updated on Jan 29, 2017