Jake, in his own words: “Growing up in a small country town in South Australia, I never thought I’d be living in New York City some day. The difference in where I’ve come from to where I am today is astronomical. Not just in a physical sense, but my emotional state. I’ve never felt more myself in my entire life.
The gay community in Adelaide, my home city in Australia, is a closed knit scene with three degrees of separation. In ways it can be quite overwhelming, but for the most part it is humble and supportive. Moving to New York City has allowed me to experience an entirely different gay culture. Being fresh to America and New York, I can really appreciate the diversity. I feel as though I am constantly learning and expanding my understanding of the world.
Coming out to me was about showing that nothing changes after you take that step. I was very calculated with my coming out to my friends and family. I stretched it out over the course of three years, from 18 to 21. The last person to complete my progression was my Father.
You see, I knew my parents would never really stop loving or be upset with me, and my friends wouldn’t be my friends if I knew they wouldn’t support me. In fact I was lucky. My Mother’s response went something along the lines of “I have four boys, one of them had to be”, and we continued the night laughing and crying. My Father was much more difficult to tell because I am the apple of his eye. It’s always much harder to tell those you’re the closest to and I didn’t want to disappoint or tarnish his rose colored view of me. He cried. He cried until I spoke up saying that I am sorry. He looked at me and said, “I’m just upset it took you so long to tell me. I just know your life from here onwards is going to be more difficult than it needs to be. People should be able to be who they want to be and not be ashamed of it”. For me, telling my Father was the final tier. I was finally free.
Being gay has never really meant all that much to me. I’ve never wanted it to be my identifier, nor have I wanted “being gay” to consume who I am. Being gay to me means one thing and one thing only – I’m attracted to the same sex. Everything else is just who I am, not because I’m gay. I like to think of myself as a regular guy. I’m just chasing my dreams.”