Staying Negative – Nicholas’ Story

I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. I lived here for the majority of my life, until recently when I moved to Florida. I found out I had type 1 diabetes when I was very young, only three years old. It was unfortunate, but I have long vowed never to let it slow me down. Living with type 1 diabetes is not easy. It means that I spend a good deal of my day thinking about what I’m eating and how much insulin I’m taking… It’s something that’s always with me. It’s always on my mind.
My parents have been married for over 37 years. I have a half-brother and a half-sister, both from my parents’ previous marriages. When I was born, my brother was 13 and my sister was 14. It was almost like I had two sets of parents just because they were so much older than I was. I felt like I always had someone there, you know, who could help me with anything I needed.
Growing up, I went to a private school for the first eight years of school. It was a small classroom; I think there were maybe 30 kids in my class, total and everyone knew each other really well. There were people who didn’t get along as well as others but, because it was such a small environment, we all accepted each other.
Then, before I started high school, I switched to a public school. I made the decision to switch to public school because they had school nurses. They had someone at the school who was a healthcare professional that would be there should I ever need it. It ended up being better for my education because there were more opportunities, more clubs to be involved in and more social interactions. There were about 250 people in my class at that point. It was challenging at first dealing with that many people all at the same time. But there was nothing I could really do to change it. So I learned to cope.

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Staying Negative – Gareth’s Story

I grew up in a military family; Dad was in the Navy, so we moved around a lot. I spent time in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, and then a bit of time in regional areas: Leinster, which is near Kalgoorlie, and Exmouth in Western Australia. When I was 12 my sister and I went to boarding school; she would have been 13 at the time. It was a private all boys school in Perth, (my sister went to the all girls’ school) and it was good in many ways. It was more stable, because I was now at the one school instead of a different school every year. It was competitive academically and in sports, whereas previously I went to a lot of schools where it was cooler to be a rebel than to excel. Sometimes as soon as you mention boarding school, people think of horrifying stories but I loved it; it was actually a really fun time. read more….

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Staying Negative – Aaron’s Story

I grew up in foster care in the country, about two hours south of St Louis, Missouri. Both of my parents had drug and alcohol issues, and in the US, a child can be taken away and placed in another home, until their parents can reform.

I spent 15 years in foster care, until I was 18.  Typically, a social worker would come in the middle of the night to shuffle you from one place to the nextYou never really get used to it, but I think after a certain point you just kind of turn off your emotions. It makes you kind of hard, or callous.

My mother passed away in 2000, when I was 21. Even though we talked, I stopped seeing her physically when I was 13.  She had a lot of mental health issues and drug addiction, but I never blamed her for the situation.  I always knew I had a different upbringing to other kids, and it was challenging, but I never looked at myself as being cheated or anything.  I was very conscious of what was going on which helped me cope with everything rather than playing the victim.  I think sometimes it’s easy for people to play the victim in that sort of situation.

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Staying Negative – Rithy’s Story

Born and bred in Melbourne, I was born to Asian parents, which has been a huge part of my life. My parents are from Cambodia, and they moved over here to escape the civil war in 1975, and have been here for over 30 years. They’re quite open parents, considering their background. They do struggle a little bit with my sexuality, but I did have an okay coming out process. (Gay Asian Proud)

Both my parents lost a lot of family in the war. Dad lost both his parents, and Mum also lost both her parents and all but two of her siblings during the Khmer Rouge regime. I remember drawing my family tree when I was grade 6, and my history was littered with more than 30 deceased family members. That being said, my childhood was actually a lot of fun because I had a lot of cousins in the house. Mum’s two surviving sisters moved over to Australia and they all stayed with us in our three-bedroom house. The house was full with ten of us living there and we had a big Tarago to transport us around town. At the time, it all seemed very normal, but in hindsight I realise now that it’s not your typical growing up experience in Australia. That being said, we’re a very close family and I’m still quite close with my aunties and cousins for that reason.

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Staying Negative – John’s Story

I was born in Dumbarton in Scotland, and I came out here when I was two. Apparently I had a wonderful Scottish accent when I first arrived, and I’m spewing that I’ve lost it. Anyway my parents are broad Scots and my dad’s a very proud Scotsman. I grew up with a lot of English, a lot of Scottish, a lot Welsh and Irish people.

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Staying Negative – Angel’s Story

I’m 34 years old and I grew up in Mexico City although I was born in the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico in a small city named Coatzacoalcoz in the state of Veracruz. I come from a family of six, my parents, three brothers and me. I’m the youngest of four boys. My Mum had a handful with four boys, but she knew how to manage the situation. My childhood was really difficult because in Mexico, it’s a very catholic country and a very “macho society”. I discovered that I was gay when I was four, a very young age. The reason I knew was because I had sexual intercourse with my cousin, he was a teenager at the time. I don’t know if I can say he raped me or something; it wasn’t that. It was sort of like seduction. But he liked me, so I started my sexual activity at four. And since then I always have liked men, especially older men. It’s such a coincidence: I haven’t had a partner or a boyfriend younger than me, ever……. read more

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Staying Negative – Stephen’s Story

I’m a migrant from China. I’ve been in Australia six years and I’ve adapted very well to living here. I didn’t really have a nice childhood or teen life because my mum was really tough on me. My life was always school and homework, that’s it. I didn’t have a social life; I didn’t have access to the internet and I didn’t have a computer. So my childhood was very plain and I just kept to myself, that’s kind of typical for a Chinese kids. I have lived that way all my life as my mum wanted to control me. But at school I was different. I was a totally different person. I was more outgoing. I’d get along well with all my friends and teachers. I was school captain and I did things which my parents didn’t think I would do. They thought I was such a quiet kid but I’m not; at home I didn’t really talk much.

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