‘Families come in all shapes and sizes. Gay-parented families are just one type of family. We should celebrate families for who they are – a group of people that love one another and care for one another and are sometimes raising children together and sometimes not raising children together. For me that’s actually the thing that government should be trying to support and enable is that loving connection that gives people health and wellbeing and a sense of belonging and not trying to make judgements about what type of family is best or isn’t best. I think that all families are doing their best and none of us are perfect.

‘Some of the most powerful advocates of marriage equality are parents of gay men, lesbians and transgender people. They’re incredible advocates when they say they don’t want anything except for their son or daughter to be treated like everyone else. Every story helps with the realisation that this is a very normal thing and the world isn’t going to collapse. All that’s going to happen is that people that love each other can get married and just get on with it.’

 

‘I remember going towards the station and then everything goes black. I had a traumatic brain injury and was in an induced coma for 6 days. They weren’t expecting me to be walking or talking very much at all but miraculously I got out of hospital about 2 weeks later.

‘I was crossing at a pedestrian crossing and was run down by a station wagon. A year and a half later, I’ve finally been able to think about things like this and try and find the person who saved me.

‘The only information I have is that her name starts with an M – Melanie or Melissa maybe. I’m told that she gave me first aid – possibly CPR – and it very well saved my life. She called the hospital in the first couple of days probably 3 or 4 times just to check in and the hospital staff tried to take her name but it all got lost in the paperwork.

‘Not only did she probably save my life on that night but knowing that there was someone like her out there has helped me recover and has probably saved my life throughout this year. It’s given me faith to pull through.

‘I just want to let her know that the person that she stopped and saw that night covered in blood is alive and incredibly grateful. I hope to meet her one day just to say thank you. I’d like to be able to explain it with a deeper meaning but in the end it just comes down to two words. There are a million ways to say it but the message is just “thank you”.’

‘They always thought I was a freak – that I wasn’t normal. I just wasn’t the average Joe as they say. It pretty much lowered my self-esteem and I thought I can’t dress this way or be this way and I have to look the same.

‘I used to live in a country town but now that I’ve moved here I have the chance to be myself instead of hiding away. It’s like I’m free now.

‘You can’t let other people’s expectations get you down. Just follow your heart and what you really want in life. If you want to be yourself then why not do it? Nothing is standing in your way. It’s only yourself that’s stopping you.’

‘Recently I broke up with my wife. Having to walk away from that and say I can’t do this anymore was really hard.’

What did you learn from your marriage?

‘Never confuse your projection of someone else with what they are. What you think someone is isn’t necessarily what they are and no matter how much you want to be someone else, they are them. Whoever it is, you’re going to be with, you have to accept them with no conditions.’

‘I felt my parents just didn’t understand. They didn’t see what I saw. Not many people understand what you want to do and what you see; what your vision is. It held me back and it made me feel really insecure about myself at the time. I just had to keep going…and I have to keep going.

‘After school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was kind of lost so I just kept on with my dancing. It made my parents angry but it’s a hard road trying to be a dancer. I have a troubled relationship with my parents and don’t live at home so the Ted Noffs Foundation Street University helped me to work on my art.

‘As long as you persevere, have faith and the right support then you will get there. You will show people that this is what you were meant to do.

‘Parents just need to support their kids – that’s what they need. It’s going to be a hard road for both sides but continue to support and see where that gets them. It will take them far.

‘For young creative people, be confident. Post your work online. Tell people about what you do. Show people. Don’t hide it. Don’t keep it to yourself. Go and open up your work for the world to see. There will be someone who is interested.’
Eliam formed The Pioneers dance group who will perform and model at this Thursday’s Fashion Parade at Noffs Shop Newtown launch from 6-8pm – 461 King Street.