My story is one of courage, conflict and coming out. And I love sharing it, so that I can hopefully help other people find their true path, and live in integrity. So when I was invited to share it with a room full of people, I jumped at the chance.

The background is that I was married for 31 years and had six adult children, when I separated and came out as a gay man. There had been a massive journey, from trying to pray away the gay, to acceptance, to great struggle in my 50s, around how I was going to live. Especially live with myself.

I came out publicly at work last year at a big LGBTIQ themed event, and was incredibly supported and affirmed. A wonderful colleague heard me, and many months later invited me to share my journey of living in my truth at a motivational event she and friends were organising.

Melbourne Inspiration Day was dedicated to: stories of ordinary people overcoming great odds; music that moves the soul; and dance that speaks from the heart. 160 people attended at a music venue in Doncaster and the day was a great success.

I spoke of my pain, and how my choices had hurt others, and how I was now trying to live an integrated life, no longer hiding my sexuality. Others spoke of overcoming the shame of a prison sentence, or of battling depression and ill health, or of near-death experiences.

Many people thanked me and acknowledged the power of my story. A wonderful aspect was the attendance of two of my children, as well as friends, and my partner.

And I have so valued the encouragement and support of my BUC community, and the interest and love shown me leading up to the event. And that has been my lived experience since coming to Brunswick two years ago. I have felt so tremendously love and accepted.

So a big thank you to everyone for your interest and engagement. Life has gone back to normal now; maybe one day I’ll get to share other aspects of my life – for there’s much more to tell!

Anthony Hinds, member of our congregation was a speaker at this event on Sunday 10th September.