HE'S the "good Christian boy" who grappled with his sexuality as a teen.

Dylan Carmichael came out to his Baptist pastor parents at 18.

He expected a "backlash" but received love and acceptance instead.

Now Dylan, 27, lives as an openly gay man in Gladstone.

The systems administrator moved here from Tasmania in 2008 with his then partner.

And he's found it to be a fairly accepting town. But many of his peers disagree.

"Because they see Gladstone as homophobic they go way underground in self defence," he said.

Dylan reckons they'd be shocked at the level of tolerance. "I really do think they would be surprised," he said.

Dylan's colleagues at NRG Gladstone Operating Services know he's gay. And it's never been an issue.

But he conceded others may have had less than positive experiences.

"If the reality is that people in Gladstone are homophobic then I am very, very lucky," he said.

Dylan and his ex kept public displays of affection to a minimum as he was conscious it could make strangers uncomfortable.

"In the past I haven't specifically for that reason," he said.

"(But) I've become grumpy enough to say, 'It's their problem'."

Dylan understands just how hard coming out can be.

But he asked Gladstone's gay people to think about it.

"Visibility is important.

"The more they stay underground the harder it is for straight people to relate, to see the human face."

Dylan writes about gay issues on his blog at dcarm85.wordpress.com/



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