Male model Big Brother contestant: I was ashamed of my lesbian mother
A Big Brother Australia contestant says he previously was ashamed of his mother due to her sexual orientation.
Leo (real name Ryan Burke-Gaffney) was booted out of the house on Monday.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday, the reality star revealed his mother’s same-sex relationship was something he felt ashamed of while growing up in Canada.
“My mum is an out-lesbian and I was raised by her and her partner, and also between my dad and my stepdad,” the Gold Coast based personal trainer said.
“I’m from pretty much the last generation before homosexuality was a really common and accepted thing.
“There was no Ellen, no Sex And The City kind of going on when I was in high school and junior high so I copped a lot of flak for it.”
He continued: “When I was young I was going through puberty and I would say to my mum ‘how could you do this to me, why are you putting me through this?’.”
Leo went to great efforts to conceal his mother’s relationship with partner Sheryl from his peers.
“There were lots of times I’d say ‘you’ve got to tell everyone she’s my aunt’ and if they ever came to any events at my school or if it was public I demanded that they didn’t hold hands or anything like that,” Leo revealed.
But more than a decade later Leo has regrets about his actions.
“Those are some of the biggest regrets of my life,” he said of his attitude to his mother’s sexual orientation.
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“I was young, I was confused, I was angry, and I was saying things that I still regret to this day.”
Having been in Australia since 2007, working as a personal trainer and model, a now-mature Leo maintains a strong relationship with his family back home.
“Me and my mum and Sheryl have a wonderful relationship,” he said. “They know how much I care about them and how much they mean to me, and I know how much I mean to them.
“My mum’s relationship with her partner is the happiest and healthiest relationship I’ve ever seen and I aspire to one day connect with a person the way they do and they really set an example for me.
“So I wouldn’t change it for the world.”