This article is based on the story of William S. from Sydney, Australia.

At 19 I was in my second year of university, hated my degree, and was at the verge of dropping out and finding a regular job. I decided to move out of home and move closer to my university downtown as I have always loved the city life and as a change of weather. I immediately found out that my new roommate is also gay and he was quick to show me some really cool gay bars around town.

I suddenly found myself surrounded by gay guys from all sort of different categories that I’ve heard about. There were the buff ones, the flamboyant ones, the big hairy bears…and then there was me. I hate hair and I am super skinny, so there is no way I could be a bear. I would have loved to be a jock, but I also love pizza too much and we know who wins here…

I weighed my options and settled on being the flamboyant skinny little party boy. I bought the skinniest jeans I could find, and wore open sleeveless shirts to clubs every weekend. I did this for about a year but I never really enjoyed it. It felt like it was fake and I was trying to fit in the crowd.

Later that year I met my first boyfriend. It didn’t matter to him that I was flamboyant or a jock. He loved me for who I was, but there was still this void inside that I tried to fill. I always felt like I was putting on an act and I am crying for attention.

A few months into our relationship we decided to take a trip to New Zealand. While strolling through the city one night we stumbled upon a gay bar and we decided to go inside for a few drinks. We sat at the bar next to another couple, who ended up being from Los Angeles on a holiday. These two did not fit the description of any anyone I have ever met. They wore Nike hats, sports t-shirts and jeans that were not tight at all.

These guys were too straight to be gay, they were bros.

I was so confused but at the same time there was a moment of great realization. They didn’t need the bells and whistles to prove their gay. They were just guys who likes other guys and had great confidence. They didn’t let the stereotypes drive them, they drove the stereotypes. It made me realize that I can be myself and still be gay.

Things ended with my ex-partner a few months later after that trip, but I gained two new “bro” gay best friends in the process and we formed our own click where the topics jump from super bowl to showgirls in the matter of seconds.

Hanging out with these guys opened up more options of who I can be. I can be myself. I don’t think they changed me, but they opened my eyes and gave me confidence that allowed me to bring positive energy into my life.

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