Coming out Into: Troye Sivan and my Journey of Queerness


Coming out is perhaps the most over-wrung aspect of the queer experience. We see its ferocious face everywhere we turn. It’s expected of us, like we owe those around us an announcement, an explanation accounting for an otherwise private aspect of our identities. It’s morphed into this monstrous tangle of societal expectation and false catharsis that denies us the ability to define our identities on our own terms. Coming to terms with these frustrations, I’ve recently decided to redefine my journey as a queer person and my coming out process as coming into, an experience of autonomy, self-reflection and acceptance. To me it is an empowering act of self-actualisation.

Resonating with outside influence has propelled this process of coming into, leading me to consider the role of Melbourne’s very own Troye Sivan as a figure in my queer journey. I connect with Sivan perhaps due to a string of oddly specific coincidences; both born to South African parents, both grew up in Perth, both buggered off to the East coast and now both looming in Melbourne. Whether you were sobbing in your room to ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ back in 2016, sitting on your bed drooling over his gorgeous Carlton house tour, or screaming the lyrics of Rush in the club, Troye Sivan has weaved his way into many aspects of our lives. Sivan is an international queer icon who has used his fame to encourage youth to embrace their individuality, demolish the boundaries of gender expression and come into their own.

I first discovered Troye Sivan watching the 2010 film Spud at 13 years old. Spud, a coming of age book to film adaptation with an undeniably queer subtext, explores growing up in the murky politics of 1990’s South Africa right on the precipice of abolishing apartheid and the releasing of Nelson Mandela. The film is set in an all boys private school and follows the story of John “Spud” Milton (Sivan) as he navigates the transitory space between boyhood and manhood. Spud parallels the struggles between external and internal forces, the dynamics of suppression and oppression, diving into ideas of self and social-acceptance, identity, the process of growing up along with sexuality and the adolescent body. I was instantly drawn to Sivan’s character, a boy my age who I recognised in myself. His blue eyes possessing the same determination as my

hazel, shimmering with a fierce intent to wade through the swamp of puberty, and self realisation. Spud’s process of ‘coming into’ is splashed throughout the film. When he first arrives at the school he doesn’t fit in at all. He is bad at sport but is a talented singer, has no experience with girls, and is sensitive, soft and thoughtful. Less developed than his peers, he’s nicknamed “Spud”, intended to emasculate and exclude him. His sexual awakening is confusing (shown in montages of sexual fantasies about girls he likes—lesbian porn style—gross!) and he’s embarrassed about his close friendship with fellow outcast “Gecko”. Spud connects with his alcoholic macho-male English teacher who gives him books teaching him about love, identity, and finding meaning in life, as he struggles to be accepted by the other boys. This culminates in the final scene when Spud, playing the lead role in the school musical, receives a standing ovation for his performance with his family and friends cheering him on. It is through this that he comes into who he is.

Following my discovery of Sivan in Spud an obsession ensued. I ravenously consumed his music, I devoured his album ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ and his iconic singles. ‘Strawberries and Cigarettes’ became my favourite song, a beautiful ballad about lost love. After hearing it in the soundtrack of Love, Simon (a film that delves into and questions the process of coming out) I found a label, one that helped me capture some of the ways I felt: bisexual. I had always known I liked boys, but the world had taught me that it was one or the other, that attraction was binaric, so I made the easier choice. When I learned that you don’t have to make a choice, that you can define your attraction on your own terms, it felt like this significant part of my identity was beginning to fall into place.

Returning to Spud now has triggered a reflection of how I have navigated my own story of coming into. On a walk the other day I reminisced about my first crush.We were five, he was blonde, and we sat together in class. I think he was my first love. But when I think about my feelings for girls at that age, my memories are clouded with confusion and shame. My feelings for them were different, like screaming under water. The crushes on boys I could roar to the world, could sniff them out immediately. My crushes on girls were hard to place, and I only really realised they were crushes when reflecting back. The feelings for girls felt cheeky and exciting, like I knew they weren’t allowed but could feel they weren’t necessarily wrong. And

they were irresistible. My feelings came in fragments, lingering stares, intense admiration, wanting something closer than skin on skin. Some friendships felt so intense and overwhelming, like there was a gap with a swarm of unspoken words between us. However, as I continued to grow into my sexuality, my sexual feelings towards women started to feel dirty and perverted. Diving into friendships with other queer people allowed me to start discussing our difficult to pin down feelings. Resonating with those around me was deeply healing and has enabled me to feel safe and comfortable in my body. To gather, reflect, organise this part of myself was such a whirlwind of emotion but it has helped me heal a lot of trauma related to the way I navigate all relationships.

I’m 20 this year and I’ve realised while writing this article that it’s perhaps the final puzzle piece of coming into my identity as an adult and a queer person. Seeing Troye Sivan now, someone who has significantly altered the landscape of queer media and comparing his own journey to mine I can see that we both have come full circle. Sivan is a spearhead queer figure who has held my hand all along the way. Queer people no longer have to cower in the corner, with our true selves stuffed into our back pockets. We can live boldly and follow enriching and empowering lives. I myself am able to bridge the gap between a confusing and confronting adolescence and a fulfilling and exciting adulthood. Reconstructing my own process of coming into, has helped me grow immensely, come to terms with trauma, accept complicated and blurring facets of myself and accept who I am in the most loving way possible.

Farrago's magazine cover - Edition One 2024


It’s 2012 and you have just opened Tumblr. A photo pops up of MGMT in skinny jeans, teashade sunglasses and mismatching blazers that are reminiscent of carpets and ‘60s curtains. Alexa Chung and Alex Turner have just broken up. His love letter has been leaked and Tumblr is raving about it—”my mouth hasn’t shut up about you since you kissed it.” Poetry at its peak: romance is alive.

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