Lovehoney Pride Guide - What I Would Tell My Younger Self

A guest post on self-reflection by Jack Vidgen



Jack Vidgen is an Australian singing sensation, best known for winning the fifth season of Australia's Got Talent at the age of 14. His debut single and too album, "Yes I Am”, charted at number three on the ARIA Albums Chart, and was certified gold. In 2019 Vidgen took part in season 8 of Australian ‘The Voice’ and was eliminated after the SemiFinals. He has also appeared on ‘Eurovision, Australia Decides’, ‘America's Got Talent: The Champions’ and ‘I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!’. Jack is a fierce member/leader of the LGBTQI+ community who has faced major brands as part of Mardi Gras over the years and was in the top 10 googled Australians in 2019-2020. In October 2021, Vidgen was revealed as the "Kebab" on The Masked Singer (Australian season 3), again making it to the semi-finals.

When I think back to what I was taught in sex ed as a young queer person - whether I knew I was queer at that stage or not - I realise there really weren’t any conversations that would have created a space for me to have a healthy view on sex as a gay man.

From the lack of education and normalisation of sex as a queer person, sex became paired with secrecy for me. Every time I had a sexual experience with a guy, because I wasn’t taught that it was normal (I feel like I was almost taught the opposite), it felt like I was doing something perverted, and I always felt so much shame afterwards.

The only queer sex education I feel like I got was from porn and I think we all know that’s the last place we should be getting foundational learnings from! In hindsight, I know the mix of shame, secretive sexual encounters, porn, and an abusive relationship when I was young, were my only sources of gay sex education. This really opened the door to a lot of issues for me - body confidence, my identity as a gay man, and unhealthy romantic relationships which only now am I starting to work through. It’s taken its toll and it’s taking a long time to actually have a healthy view on sex as a gay man.

I’m reading a book at the moment called ‘The Velvet Rage’ by Alan Downs. It’s been such a powerful read I feel like the book was written about me and my experience. I’ve had a couple of gay friends who have read it as well and they’ve said the same thing. It talks about our parallel experiences of shame as gay men and the stages of life we go through.

So often we are the ones that are seen to be excelling in our careers and social lives in such a fabulous way. However, beneath the surface, serious problems within our community such as depression, substance abuse, suicide and sex addiction are at an all-time high.


"I can’t help but question whether we’d be having these experiences if we’d only been affirmed in our sexualities at a younger age, and actually had some level of queer sex ed?"

There’s a quote I read once, that basically describes gay men as often creating a version of ourselves, growing up, to feel safe and accepted. Then once we come out, we spend the rest of our lives unlearning this identity we created in order to embark on a journey of truly discovering our authentic selves.

I remember relating to that so much but feeling like there was a phase left out. I’ve seen this phase firsthand in myself where after coming out, I’ve expressed my sexuality in a very overt and over sexualised way.

I’m only now seeing that this has been part of my journey of self-acceptance and probably also related to the abuse I suffered when I was young. I denied myself of my sexuality for so many years so finally when I could, it kind of came bursting out the sides.

I’m fortunate enough now to have had some positive queer role models to look up to but this wasn’t always the case. If I take myself back 10 years, to my teenage self - even though being gay was a lot more accepted than say in the 80’s - I can see now by the lack of education and role

What I Would Tell My Younger Self By Jack Vidgen models available to me, the topic of queer sex itself was still very taboo. I just came across a video from an ABC special called ‘Little Kids, Big Talk’ and I’m wiping the tears from my eyes as I’m writing this.

The video shows a few children asking one of my favourite drag queens, Courtney Act, a bunch of questions surrounding gender. It brings me so much joy that something like this is on a national TV and from a predominantly conservative network.

I’m in a space in life where I’m truly seeking to live authentically. Whether that’s in my work, personal, spiritual, or sex life, I feel like as each year goes on, I’m peeling back the layers of a false identity I created to make myself feel safe, and now I’m getting to know myself as a gay man.

As Alan Downs so eloquently wrote, “we are a unique blending of testosterone, and gentleness, hyper-sexuality and gentle sensuality, rugged masculinity and refined gentility.”

One of the truths I hold on to throughout my life is that so much beauty can come from pain. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self that, and reassure him he will find happiness and authenticity as a gay man. I would tell him that two men having sex will one day be seen in the same light as those of the opposite sex. I would tell him that even though he’s going to experience abuse, it doesn’t define his worth. I would tell him he’ll one day be celebrated for his differences and will find peace in his journey of discovering his truest, highest form of himself.

"It warms my heart to see we are slowly changing and progressing, and our younger generation will have more education than I did. That said, it also stirs up sadness for me when I think of the young Jack Vidgen who knew he was different but couldn’t quite put a finger on exactly what it was about himself that was different. The vocabulary wasn’t really available to him and looking back, I still vividly feel the confusion my teenage self struggled with."


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