Adam Sutton’s inclusion in the Same Same 25 comes as no surprise. Many know him as the cowboy who worked with Heath Ledger on the film ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Since then he’s been the subject of ABC’s ‘Australian Story’, was the patron of this year’s Mardi Gras parade with Rupert Everett and released his autobiography ‘Say It Out Loud’.
“Being honoured in this way shows the impact that telling my story has had,” says Sutton. “I’m just a simpleton cowboy, there’s nothing special about me. I guess I haven’t accepted the impact that I’ve had. I’m learning as I go.”
Since Sutton’s story found its way into mainstream arena, he’s become a role model to a lot of young men facing coming out, not just in country Australia but in the cities as well.
“The feedback I’ve had after doing the book and Australian Story has been incredible – so many letters and phonecalls from people. I’ve suddenly found myself in this position and it’s something I didn’t know I was undertaking at the time, but I’ve been able to accept and learn about as I’ve gone along.”
Sutton responds to all the mail he receives and has even gone on to develop friendships with these people as a result. He’s also had people approach him in the street and pour their hearts out to him. “It took me aback a little bit at first, I didn’t know how to take it - speaking to these people, hearing their personal stories, listening to the burdens that they’ve had on their shoulders. It’s been quite humbling to speak to so many people from so many different backgrounds about so many different issues. It’s been amazing to know that you’ve made change and been a positive influence in so many people’s lives for so many different reasons.”
But has he found this new responsibility exhausting, or a burden at times? “I don’t like to see things as burdens anymore. It takes courage for someone to come up to you in the street and tell you something that they haven’t told other people. I see it more as an opportunity to help someone, an opportunity to share your experiences with each other. It shows me that the causes that motivated me initially are real and it inspires me to do more. It empowers me to do more.”
Adam struggled greatly with coming out – he says that the hardest thing was to tell his parents. It’s a story that’s all too familiar to most people in that position – but with the support of his sisters, he broke the silence and now says that being out is a wonderful feeling.
“I think waking up everyday, being able to stand on two feet and attack the day with a smile on your face is a good thing. To me everything is a blessing, I look forward to tomorrow and the next day.”
By Jonathon Burgess
The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders.
For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.