Terence, in his own words:. “It has taken a long time to reach this point but I don’t really think about being gay as much as I used to. I used to see it as an aspect of me that made me different. Now it’s just part of who I am along with my dark hair, brown eyes, skinny legs and very distinctive laugh.
I lost both my parents at a very young age and getting through all that trauma has been one of the biggest obstacles of my life – especially the loss of my mother. Over the years I thought I had dealt with it but after having a big break down earlier this year I realised, with the help of a counselor, that I had actually just suppressed my true emotions. I have however made a lot of progress this year with the help of my counselor as well as doing a TRE (Tension & Trauma Release Exercise) course. Coming out and accepting myself has probably been THE biggest challenge of my life. Coming out not so much but definitely accepting myself.
It hasn’t all been bad though, I’ve achieved quite a lot in my 21 years. I did very well in school, excelling especially well in culture activities. I live for the performing arts! I study musical theatre and next year will be my last year. I’ve been in a few productions and have received distinctions for every single one of my exams over the last 3 years at college. I’ve recently written my very first professional show that I’ll be putting on in a theatre in a few months.
Coming out, oi! This is going to be the shortened version: I started noticing it for the first time when I was 14. I honestly didn’t know what to make of it and the next two years would be the most confusing time of my whole life – and then there was still puberty!
When I was 16 I decided that I must be bisexual. And I was satisfied – for the moment. I then had this burning desire to want to tell more and more people. I carefully chose the people whom I told. Of course they were all very supportive and for the first time in years I was completely and utterly happy. During the holidays after I finished school (18) I finally had the courage to tell my group of male best friends. They were semi-jocks, hence why it took a long time (and a lot of alcohol) to tell them but like everybody else they were extremely supportive. From there a new tradition was born: On my birthday they’d take me to my favourite restaurant, Beefcakes (the waiters walk around shirtless) and they’d get me a body shot. From there where’d party the night away at the only real gay club we have here in Cape Town, Crew. The night would end with us taking a taxi home and them arguing who got hit on the most. Gotta love straight men! I then started my first year of college and doing musical theatre it meant that 3/4 of the guys at my college were gay, yet I was still convinced I was bisexual. I would have these internal conversations in my head and whenever my voice of reason tried to point out that I’m probably gay I’d immediately silence it. I’d continue this charade throughout my 1st year even though I was surrounded by so many gay guys who were so happy being out and in an environment where prejudice didn’t really exist. At this point I hadn’t publicly come out as bisexual – a few high school friends knew as well as most people at my college. At my 20th birthday party this would all change. As per usual my straight friends took me out to Beefcakes and that year we went to the lesbian club, which I was totally cool with it because the music is always better. They then hooked me up with this cute Jewish guy they met at the bar and after 30 minutes of chatting, the two of us were making out like there was no tomorrow. Now at this point in my life I had been clubbing a lot and made out with a few guys but this was completely different! I felt like he had awakened something in me. The next day for the first time in my life I uttered the words: “I’m gay”. A Facebook status followed (“I kissed a boy and I liked it”) and the love and support was overwhelming! The rest is history.
I personally don’t like the Cape Town gay community. Simply because I’ve never experienced a sense of community. There are just too many stuck up, pretentious pricks to deal with and aint’ nobody got time for dat! You get judged on everything: your walk, your talk, your clothes, your appearance etc. I don’t mind a bit of NSA now and then but I feel like that’s all people care about here and don’t even get me started on the drugs. Our “community is also still a little racially divided which is a bit disappointing. Obviously I’m generalising but the above mentioned are frequent occurrences. I really just prefer hanging out at straight bars and clubs and meeting foreign gay guys – they’re way more interesting! Cape Town as a whole really isn’t such a bad place to be gay in. I always refer to it as the “liberal hub of Africa”. This is probably the only place in Africa where a black man and a white man can hold hands in public and no one would really care.
What advice would I give my younger self? Stop being such a pussy! Fuck what societies thinks. You have friends and family who love you no matter what! You accepting and loving yourself can make such a big difference to someone else who is struggling with the same problem. Be an inspiration. Be someone to look up to. Be proud. Most importantly, be yourself. LOVE YOURSELF.”