Long Overdue: My Story in Brief

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Graham Douglas-Meyer
Joined in 2009
January 10, 2013, 23:38

What follows is a copy of my submission to: The Senate Standing Committee on Legal & Constitutional Affairs

on the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012

It is also a very brief look at My Autobiography which I am hoping to have with publishers by the end of March this year.

Dear Senators,

I am a 49 year-old man who is very happy to have survived to this age.

On a number of occasions, throughout the last 39 years, I have been in the position of either

contemplating or taking action to take my own life.

This may sound dramatic. However, this is the inevitable outcome of the considerable torment

both internal and external that I have experienced over these years. The cause of this torment

was not of my own initiation; I never did anything that would either cause, or initiate such

treatment. Instead, this persecution arose simply because I existed.

There were no adults, or authorities I could turn to, to be able to seek assistance, or solace.

When I did actually confide in someone I was raised to trust I received either scorn, or was

palmed off with a platitude requiring me to either “Man-up,” or to simply “accept that it was

my lot in life.”

I was brought up in a “good” Irish Catholic home. I took part in my faith community as a

regular reader in church and as an altar server; both from the age of 11. I would always take

myself to church, even on Sundays when the rest of my family did not attend. I grew up

thoroughly indoctrinated by my faith and the Catholic traditions of my forebears.

Arriving in Australia in 1973, at the age of 10 ½ I had always maintained a good group of

friends and for the most part, like any other child, I enjoyed going to school.

However, upon enrolling at Lynwood Primary School in February 1974 my world was

shattered. Coming from England and with my family up bringing I was a well-mannered and

well-spoken child. As a result I became the target of abuse by the more “goonish” members of

my peer group. From that day I was labeled as “Poofter Kid.” I’d never encountered the term

to this point and when I finally found out what it meant I was both mortified and felt shame

for the first time in my young life.

The bullying changed very quickly from verbal to physical abuse. Any other student who

dared to attempt friendship with me swiftly became a target of the very same bullies and in

most cases their voices joined the chorus of abusers. I was a social outcast, the isolation

caused teachers to cast me as a loner; a lone-wolf; they were either blind to, or simply chose

to ignore, what was happening before their very eyes.

As a Christian I took this to be my cross to bear in life and I prayed for those who abused me.

However, over time this also became wearing. The original goons, who were a year older than

I was, moved on to the local high school. But, the damage to my reputation and social standing

was already done and even the following year the bullying continued.

Upon arrival at High school the original tormentors were ready and waiting to continue their

campaign of vilification, slander and defamation. Their audience had increased because the

school had drawn from a number of feeder schools. What should have been my opportunity to

expand my social network, was perverted by the now growing group of thugs, who used their

brawn to ensure that; anyone who showed any interest in making my acquaintance was brow

beaten, or physically threatened, should they initially reject these idiots.

When the move to change schools, in Geraldton, came I was thrown from the frying pan into

the fire. The boy that the principal chose, to orient into the school, was himself the victim of

the same kind of abuse that I had faced in my previous school. That year was a horror that

eventually saw me being sexually abused by another bully under the supervision of a female

teacher who simply chose to ignore what was happening.

It was during these sensitive teen years that I discovered that I was oriented sexually to my

own sex. I had no attraction, whatsoever, to the opposite sex. With my background and with

the torment that I had received and continued to receive over the following years I grew in

shame and to despise whom I was. I could find no solace; I fought against my orientation at

every turn and eventually turned to thoughts of and then acting out those suicidal ideations.

After leaving school the physical abuse ceased, for some time. Upon entering the workforce I

discovered a much bigger world than the school environment permits many young people to

envisage. I still discovered that there was one part of who I was that needed to remain hidden.

A part of me that even I despised still. I spent the next 10 -15 years in different programmes

and courses to try and “heal” my sexuality. I was led to believe that I had something seriously

wrong with me. I was still socially unacceptable.

Needless to say that I was never healed, it is impossible to change something that is as

intrinsic to your being as eye, hair, or skin colour; or, as in my case my sexuality. Until I came

to my own personal place of acceptance I was unable to move forward; hamstrung by a false

set of limitations that need never have been there in the first place.

I gained a degree in Communication and Cultural studies; majoring in English and Literature

and eventually trained as a High School Teacher. Even in the process of attaining my teaching

qualification, through Notre Dame Australia I faced prejudice and discrimination, whilst on

practicum, from the supervising teacher, who was more interested in the fact that I wore a

coat, scarf and hat while on duty, during the middle of winter; than in my teaching ability

(which, she acknowledged to my university supervisors, she could not fault.) I was neither

open, nor overt, about my sexuality; choosing to keep my private life private. The university

ensured that I was well treated and placed me in a much safer place to finish my practicum.

When I eventually entered the teaching workforce, the following year, I was placed in a small

country town and chose to ensure that my privacy be maintained. Unfortunately when you

are forced into cramped shared accommodation the keeping of secrets is eventually futile. Yet,

even though my sexuality was not generally a topic of discussion assumptions were made and

used against me. Statements made by my supervisor and his wife (also teaching at the same

school) to discredit me, were eventually, proved to be fraudulent and both of them were

removed from service.

One of the biggest problems at that time was the inappropriate law governing gay teachers at

that time, in WA. Many GLBTI teachers lived in fear of being “found-out” and run out of town,

or out of a school.

I faced a further 6 years of persecution from either deputy principals, or for the most part

Heads of Department (HOD) who were prejudiced against Gay people. In my final year

teaching I faced a constructed dismissal by a HOD who would phone me up at home to tell me

“You know people are talking about you!” speculation around my suspected HIV status was, in

his mind, the topic de jour. The fact that I had recently received a positive diagnosis and was

working through that, as well as my full teaching load, even though I had not disclosed to

anyone; created sufficient stress and its subsequent effects on my overall mental and physical

health to the point that I was brought before the department’s doctor and informed that if I

didn’t disclose, what was wrong with me, there would be no further assistance and that

refusal would require me to resign.

This seven-year period provided it’s own opportunities to contemplate and once again

required great strength and courage to stop me from acting out suicidal impulses.

This history is important for you as a Senate committee to know, before you decide on your

recommendations to the government about the proposed Human Rights and Anti-

Discrimination Bill 2012. Even though there have been changes to Federal laws that should

protect GLBTI people and also HIV positive people from discrimination many people face

similar acts of discrimination as well as violent acts of both verbal and physical vilification

every day in this country; particularly our youth, who at the most vulnerable stage of their

lives are dependent on at least someone, if not the government, to provided them with

protections for simply being who they are.

Sexuality and Health status should never be acceptable grounds for someone to deny

someone a job if they have all of the qualifications and experience required. In the case of

religious institutions, unless a person is giving religious instruction, particularly if they are the

most qualified for the position, their sexuality should not be permitted to be a barrier to


It should not be acceptable for organisations like the ACL and their followers to peddle in halftruths

and outright lies about GLBTI people and expect to be able to do that with impunity.

We don’t accept that kind of activity on the basis of race and should therefore not accept it on

the basis of sexuality, or HIV status.

If we want a better Australia then we need the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill

2012 to provide protection against unjustifiable acts of discrimination and vilification that

includes sexuality.

Kind regards

Graham Douglas-Meyer

Joined in 2012
January 11, 2013, 15:51

Wow… your story is so moving and its so brave of you to write to the senator…. hope this will help to bring about the much needed change in society…

God Bless you!


Graham Douglas-Meyer
Joined in 2009
January 12, 2013, 02:10

Thanks Amilia. I've never considered myself brave. I've just taken each step that I needed to take to make it to the next day.

On many occasions I needed, and was smart enough, to ask for help.

In my recent return to church fellowship (almost 2 and 1/2 years now) I looked back to see how much that I had actually been carried through. I was on one level sad (because I believed I should have been the strong minister, making his way fighting along side the Lord in the good fight of Faith.) However, my sense of gratitude won out as I realised Just how fortunate I have been to be carried by My wonderful Lord.

I am so pleased to be able to put my life experience to work as I, along with my wonderful Co-leader Bev, am able to develop the New chapter of Freedom2b in Perth.



Joined in 2009
January 12, 2013, 09:13


You are indeed brave & I am sure telling your story will help others immensely. Thank you!

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
January 12, 2013, 12:56

Hi Graham

You've gone through so much. I find it horrifying and shocking that bullying and abuse like you experienced was allowed to happen, especially during your employment. Good on you for writing your story out and sending the letter to the Senator.Thanks also for the wonderful work that you and Bev are doing in the Perth chapter. 🙂


Ann Maree

Joined in 2011
January 12, 2013, 17:23

Hi Graham,

Congratulations for writing this and thank you for sharing your story. You have perhaps given a voice to others who have been through similar experiences.

How wonderful that you continue to help people through the f2b chapter in Perth.

May 2013 be a wonderful year ahead for you and I will follow with interest the response you receive to your letter.


Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
January 18, 2013, 17:27

Hi Graham,

Thanks for sharing your story. You are most certainly brave and courageous not only for sharing your story on the forum or for sending your letter to the Senate but for all the trials and persecutions you have been through in your life. You are a strong and amazing person who has endured so much yet still has such a positive outlook on life – well done! 🙂 f2b is blessed to have you as one of their chapter leaders, you lead by example 🙂

God Bless

Joined in 2010
January 23, 2013, 12:17

Querido Graham,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Though you have said that you do not think yourself as "brave",

oftentimes courage is, as Jose Marti put it, "Not the act of being fearless, but rising beyond fear and inspiring that in others". In that case, you have certainly done this (you have certainly inspired me in my own life).

I pray that your words will be found by a young man/woman who needs them, that your own courage serves as a guiding light for them out of the darkness they feel surrounded by.

Yours in Christ,


Graham Douglas-Meyer
Joined in 2009
January 23, 2013, 20:58

Thank you Anne-Maree, Mother Hen and Raul.

Your kind words are appreciated. I do see myself as a survivor through those trials that have come my way through life.

I have learned that Courage is not a quality that you see in yourself. It is something perceived by others. So, I graciously accept your assessment.

The fact that Christ has carried me throughout all of these struggles, even when I thought he was distant, has become so much clearer with hindsight.

If my story helps one person to avoid going through the same experiences as myself, or helps someone to come to self acceptance then I will have achieved my goal.

Much Love


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