Green MP Stephen Bates’ emotional first speech on coming out

A Greens MP has shared his moving story of coming out, the importance of inclusivity and solving Australia’s mental health crisis in his maiden speech in Federal Parliament.
Stephen Bates made history on May 21 as .

He said his experience in poverty-paying jobs and coming out as gay shaped his politics.

“I spent my teenage years knowing I was gay and doing everything in my power to hide it,” he told parliament on Wednesday.
“I made a promise to myself once I got out that if I ever find myself in a public role, I’ll be open and proud of who I am.
“That I would be the person I never saw growing up, because if I could even help one person, then that life would have been worth it.”

Mr Bates admitted sharing his story was harder than he thought and took a moment to compose his emotions.

I spent my teenage years knowing I was gay and doing everything in my power to hide it.

Stephen Bates, Green MP for Brisbane

He said he would use his time in Parliament to stand up for those who have lost their voice due to the mental health crisis and shared the story of Maya Birch, 24, who took her own life earlier this year .
“Maya is just one name in a long list of people whose lives have been cut short because of government inaction,” Mr Bates said.
“The decisions we make here impact people’s ability to survive.
“It’s my job now to make sure Maya’s death wasn’t in vain.”

At 29, Mr Bates is one of the youngest parliamentarians and said he hoped his election would inspire young people to stand for office.

Green Senator Larissa Waters is campaigning with Stephen Bates. Source: AAP / JONO SEARLE

“I’ve heard many times that I’m too young for politics and don’t look like a politician, which is a compliment, but those are the qualities that got me here. today,” he said.

“This election has shown that the people of this country are done with the status quo.”
Mr Bates received a standing ovation from the cross bench at the end of his speech.
LGBTIQ+ Australians looking for mental health support can contact QLife on 1800 184 527 or visit . also has a list of support services.

Intersex Australians looking for help can visit Intersex Peer Support Australia at isupport.org.au.

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