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Hugh Sheridan’s coming out and the complexity of human sexuality

Word Pride on little blocks
Image: iStock

Australian actor went public came out as… human.

He told Stellar Magazine why he took so long:

I’ve never felt I really knew who I was and I didn’t like the sounds of the labels that people were giving me, so I decided to say nothing.

The Packed to the Rafter’s star also talked about the pressure to keep his relationships with men a secret to make him seem ‘available’ to women viewers. This angered him.

When asked about his sexual orientation, The Packed to the Rafter’s star simply came out as “a human being”.

Love life and being outed by the media

Sheridan opened up about his attractions. As a child, Sheridan opened up about being bullied for being gay. Ironically, at the time, he claimed that he was in love with girls.

It wasn’t until he started he started his acting career that he first fell for a man. Unfortunately, the media caught on and rumours were spreading about his relationship. Sheridan said he felt outed. “It hurt a lot”, he explained.

He also exposed the catch 22 he and a lot of other LGBTQ+ celebrities risk: having to come out or thinking you’re ashamed of who you are.

Sheridan started the Renaissance Project, where people are invited to discuss issues of labels and identity.

On the issue of identity, Sheridan simply stated:

I believe labels are for clothes, not for people.

Sheridan’s coming out is met with support

There has been an outpouring of support for Sheridan. Many have written to him and thanked him. He’s also got love and support from other Packed to the Rafters co – stars.

Rebecca Gibney, who played his mother, Julie Rafter, penned an emotional note of support on Instagram.

I’ve loved this boy the moment I met him 13 years ago. He is one of the most joyful, open hearted, empathetic souls I have ever met and I couldn’t be more proud of his wonderful essay in the latest Stellar magazine where he talks about society’s need to label and how he has never fitted the labels that were given to him.

She concluded:

I’m so blessed to call you my friend. Well done for speaking your truth. Love you to the moon sweetheart.

 

Sexual fluidity: when coming out isn’t that simple

For a while, fluid sexuality has been researched and become public knowledge. University of Utah’s psychology professor,  Lisa M Diamond PhD did a study on women and sexuality. She discovered that women can go through numerous sexual experiences through different stages of their lives.

However it’s often assumed that men’s sexuality is largely static; either gay or straight. Male bisexuality is often erased and those who come out are often not believed.

And men without the need for a label? Well, you don’t really hear about it… until now. It turns out that complexity with sexual identity can affect people of all genders, including men.

 

I think Hugh Sheridan’s coming out is oositive. Not only are more LGBTQ+ people coming out in public, but it also shows that being unsure or without a label is also OK.

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20 years on, Cathy Freeman creates a legacy of hope for young Aboriginal women

Australian flag and gold medal
Image: iStock

Tuesday, 15 September (AEST) marked twenty years since Sydney hosted the Olympics.

I was eleven when the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000. While I wasn’t really into sport, I knew that it was a major event. I even got enthusiastic about it.

Australia claimed a number of new gold medallists; joining the history books with former swimmer, Dawn Fraser and hockey champion Nova Peris. Swimmers like Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe won Australia’s heart as well as gold medals.

So did sprinter, Cathy Freeman.

Cathy Freeman inspires generation of young Aboriginal people

According to ABC Life, a┬ánumber of Aboriginal women were inspired by Freeman’s success. Author of the article, Molly Hunt described Freeman as “a legend” that “forever changed the hearts of many young black people and the nation”.

Hunt, who was an aspiring runner herself, saw herself in Freeman.

Maddie Whitford said that she felt “proud” of Freeman’s success and that she was experiencing so much media attention.

Even though Jash doesn’t consider herself a ‘sports person’, she felt inspired by Freeman’s victory sprint:

I think it was so powerful when she had two of the flags because it reinforces the statement that, firstly, she is an Aboriginal woman, and that she won that medal, not only for Australia, but for her community.

I can appreciate the impact that Freeman’s win had on young Aboriginal people. It must’ve been great to see their heritage represented on the global stage.

Torch relay

The torch took off around the world, like it is every four years. 1500 people were involved in the Oceania leg of the relay. Freeman ran took the torch to Olympic Park in Sydney where Freeman ignited the Ring of Fire.

The beginning and end of the Australian torch relay was significant. Nova Peris – Kneebone started the relay, and Cathy Freeman ended it.

It was a spectacular coincidence; two Aboriginal women both started and ended the Australian Olympic Torch Relay. Aboriginal pride was there for all to see. I’m sure for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s an event that they’ll never forget.

400 m sprint

25 September 2000: The great moment – Cathy Freeman’s 400m sprint victory.

 

At 49:13 seconds, Freeman won gold. It was just short of the world (47:6 seconds) and the Olympic record (48:25 seconds).

Even though that was a monumental achievement, Freeman told the ABC that she was disappointment at her time. She thought she could do better.

 

The Sydney Olympics were a great chapter in Australian history. I’m sure it’s been etched in the minds of most Australians. Personally, I don’t think the 2000 Olympics have been repeated. Maybe it never will.

Media coverage 20 years on

I haven’t seen one negative article on Cathy Freeman. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that her victory wasn’t marred by politics.

The ABC, Alan Jones on Sky News Australia have expressed awe at what she achieved. It’s nice to see a news story (or history in this case), not be marred in controversy.

 

What are your memories of the 2000 Sydney Olympics? Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below.