Aurelia St Clair in My First Time web series

Aurelia St Clair in 'My First Time'. Photo supplied

Aurelia St Clair on coming out: 'It doesn't have to be extreme'

“I didn't have a party. It's not like a gender reveal,” says the non-binary comedian who stars in the new web series, My First Time.

Coming out. There’s no right, wrong, normal or odd way to do it. Yet, as Aurelia St Clair explains, many people have preconceived ideas of what the experience is like for people from the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“I think a lot of media depiction of coming out can be extreme,” Aurelia tells Missing Perspectives.

“At least from what I’m seeing, it’s either this character comes out and everyone loves them. Their families are really supportive and they’re like, ‘Why were you worried about telling us?’ Or it’s the opposite, and the family’s like, ‘How dare you?’ 

“But I just wanted to say it doesn’t have to be either extreme. It can be somewhat in the middle or something completely different.” 

Aurelia, who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns she/they, opens up about their own experience of coming out in My First Time, a new web series exploring ‘first’ experiences from members of Australia’s LGBTQIA+ community. 

The comedian and content creator came out as bisexual when they were 19. They later came out as a lesbian, and then came out as non-binary. Unlike media depictions she referred to earlier, her own experience which she describes as “a multi-year process” didn’t involve coming out to family members. 

“I never came out to my family because my mom passed away when I was in my teens and I don't have a relationship with my dad now,” they tell us. 

Instead, Aurelia came out to friends who didn’t judge her or make a big deal of it. “I didn't have a party. It's not like a gender reveal,” they say. “It can just be one person and you're like, ‘Hey, I think I’m gay or bi or whatever it is you are, and it can be just a thing that you move on from without going into it or having a big reaction.” 

Just as the experience of coming out varies for different people, so does their perspective on what their identity means to them. Aurelia said she had “a lot of notions” internally about what being non-binary meant to her when she came out. 

“For a long time, I thought being non-binary meant being androgynous, because that's again the [media] representation we see,” says the comedian. “It was like a non-binary person is someone who's neither male or female, so they must be in the middle. That didn’t suit how I looked, because to the world – and I think that’s one of the reasons I still use she and they as pronouns – I am quite femme presenting.” 

For some time, Aurelia thought she “couldn’t be non-binary”. She thought she had to “look really thin”, and felt it was an appearance she couldn’t achieve because “you know, I have double D chests”. Gradually she realised that being non-binary wasn’t merely about the exterior. 

“It's not about the size or fitting a particular visual look, it's about how I feel,” they say. “I feel non-binary. That's something that I can actually pinpoint once I let go of all the looks requirements.” 

As someone with German-Cameroonian heritage, Aurelia highlights the intersection of race, gender identity, sexual orientation and the discrimination people can then face. 

“The intersectionality is definitely interesting,” she says, explaining that she and her wife often receive peculiar looks from strangers, and it’s difficult to pinpoint if it’s about race or otherwise.

“Are they looking because we're a mixed race couple, or are they looking because we're gay? It kind of overlaps… The harassment isn't just for one reason. It's for multiple.” 

When you watch Aurelia in My First Time, there’s no filter. You’ll see their smile, tears and laughter. Talking about such personal experiences to a camera is not always easy, and there were questions they hadn’t prepared for.

“There were things that I hadn't thought about in years that I got to speak about, and that was really cathartic in a way,” they say. 

Aurelia stars in the raw and thought-provoking YouTube series alongside Pasifika New Zealander drag performer Kween Kong, playwright Wesley Enoch AM, trans elder and advocate  Katherine Wolfgramme, ‘78er’, lesbian and feminist activist DQ, non-binary Turkish-Australian model Seren Bakir, trans lesbian comedian Rosie Delaney, musician and performance artist Dyan Tai, bisexual advocate, writer, and researcher Stephen Spencer, and queer non-binary Lebanese-Australian writer Adrian Mouhajer. 

My First Time” is available to stream now globally on “We Are Pride” YouTube channel with new episodes premiering every Saturday until 20 April.