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"For years I felt like a lesser human. I hated myself."

“For years I felt like a lesser human. I hated myself.”

Lachlan Beaton was haunted by his secret for more than a decade — convinced he’d face rejection if he confessed to the people he loved.

“From the age of probably 14 or 15 I knew that… I was attracted to men and I felt like such an outcast,” he says. “I grew up in an area where it felt wrong to be gay.

Lachlan. (Image via Facebook)

Beaton was raised in country Victoria, then moved to St Hilda’s college at Melbourne University, where he played and coached at the university football team.

For more than a decade, he was so ashamed and frightened expressing his sexuality that he engaged in self-destructive behaviour to “hide it” —  drinking heavily, becoming depressed and even feeling suicidal.

Related: 18 arguments against gay marriage- and why they’re bollocks.

“I hated who I was. I could cry on a weekly basis, wishing I wasn’t this person who was born into this world,” Beaton, now 34, says in a powerful new video shared on YouTube. “I felt like if I were to come out… that I would be disowned and that people would stop loving me”.

He adds in the video: “Most of all I would numb the pain by drinking.

“It was 10 to 12 years of hating myself that… destroyed my soul during that period.

“I felt that I wasn’t a worthy person. I thought that I would be hated for being who I am, and I thought that nobody would ever love me again.”

Lachlan breaks down in the video as he recalls his struggle with revealing his sexuality early in life. (Screenshot/YouTube)

At age 27, Beaton finally found the courage to come out — and to his amazement, he found his revelation was “very well accepted” by those around him.

He says he hasn’t endured one single negative response from the guys in his footy club — and that’s ironic and sad, he tells Mamamia, because “[i]f I had’ve known society were so accepting I would not have gone through so much pain.”

In fact, the video was so warmly welcomed by Beaton’s old footy team, that it posted two tributes to Beaton on its Facebook page, remarking that “bravery comes in many forms” and adding it was “so proud” of him.

One of the Facebook posts by Beaton’s old footy club.

No professional AFL footballer has come out publicly as gay yet — but Beaton hopes the positive response to the video will send a message to professional athletes that it’s okay to be gay.

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“I think it will help them realise that it will be OK and that society are so accepting,” he tells Mamamia.

“It’s the fact we don’t have equality that makes people think they won’t be accepted, go through years of pain and denial to realise at the end of it everything is OK.”

Watch Beaton’s powerful #EqualLove video here. (Post continues after video:)

The heartfelt clip has already started making waves politically, too: After Beaton’s twin brother sent the to Liberal MP Warren Entsch last week, the North Queensland-based  MP pledged  to use the clip to persuade his Liberal colleagues to support marriage equality.

(Read more about Entsch’s push on cross-party efforts to legalise gay marriage here.)

“I am in shock and in tears,” Beaton says of Entsch’s positive response to his video.

He adds that he’s received more than 500 emails from people sharing their own heartbreaking stories of feeling alienated by discrimination.

“If I could have ten minutes with our politicians I reckon the stories I’ve received would change any doubting mind that equality is a right and not a fad,” he says in a post on Facebook.

Lachlan and his partner live in New York. (Photo: Facebook)

Beaton’s candid video has already been viewed many thousands of times, and its powerful message is one that we’d love to see passed on across the country.

“It’s time to stop young people making them feel like it’s wrong to be gay,” Beaton says. “People will hide and people will hate themselves, and trust me, you live with that hate for a long, long, long time.

“No one should feel lesser of a human. We are all #Equal.”

If this post brings up issues for you, or you just need someone to talk to, please call Lifeline on 131 114.

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