Re­jected by his re­li­gious par­ents on tele­vi­sion’s Bride And Prej­u­dice, Christophe­r Jewell tells Matthew Galea why he’s proud that his story has started a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENTS -

What made you and your part­ner, Grant de­cide to go on the show?

Christophe­r: Our story isn’t unique, by any means, and we’d seen some other re­al­ity shows that had given peo­ple a crazy idea of same-sex mar­riage and kind of triv­i­alised it. We thought that if our story was told right then it might help peo­ple who are go­ing through the same thing.

How has the ex­pe­ri­ence been for you?

We filmed it over two-and-a-half months so we had cam­eras in tow at some fairly per­sonal mo­ments. It was a lit­tle bit in­tru­sive. If you asked me if I’d do it again I would se­ri­ously think twice be­cause it’s all-con­sum­ing.

Look­ing back at the mo­ment your par­ents told you they wanted noth­ing to do with your wed­ding, would you have said or done any­thing dif­fer­ently?

That’s a good ques­tion. No, I stand by it. A lot of peo­ple have said, “I can’t be­lieve you didn’t get an­gry!” I could’ve gone into some ide­o­log­i­cal ar­gu­ment about the mer­its of same-sex mar­riage and equal­ity, but when you’re try­ing to deal with some­one who has such strong re­li­gious be­liefs, pre­sent­ing an ar­gu­ment that is log­i­cal isn’t go­ing to work. You can’t com­pete with some­one’s eter­nal sal­va­tion. It’s just a mat­ter of slowly

When you’re deal­ing with some­one who has such strong re­li­gious be­liefs pre­sent­ing an ar­gu­ment that is log­i­cal isn’t go­ing to work.

chip­ping away at it.

You knew your par­ents would have a neg­a­tive re­ac­tion to your wed­ding. Were you hop­ing to change their minds by go­ing on the show?

We hadn’t had an open con­ver­sa­tion about me be­ing gay, lit­er­ally, since I came out so it was very much a don’t-ask-don’t-tell pol­icy. My par­ents have spent time with my pre­vi­ous part­ners. They’ve gone to din­ner with them, they’ve even let pre­vi­ous part­ners stay at our house – even though we had to stay in dif­fer­ent rooms. There was a 50/50 chance they’d be ac­cept­ing be­cause, in some in­stances, mum has bent her be­liefs a lit­tle bit for other fam­ily mem­bers. I was hop­ing that would be the case for me.

In the past they’d let boyfriends stay over; what changed this time?

In the past they were con­sid­ered a friend; they weren’t con­sid­ered a part­ner. This so­lid­i­fied the fact that this is not a phase. I am def­i­nitely gay and I am choos­ing a man to be my life part­ner and my hus­band. There was no deny­ing what was go­ing on.

Since the show, have peo­ple con­tacted you?

I ex­pected the re­sponses to be kind of di­vi­sive but the mes­sages of sup­port have been over­whelm­ing. The con­ver­sa­tion it has started na­tion­ally is some­thing that we’d hoped. I hope that my story doesn’t politi­cise mar­riage equal­ity, but gives it a face and that peo­ple can ac­cept that our re­la­tion­ships are just as valid as any­one else’s. In po­lit­i­cal de­bates you don’t nec­es­sar­ily have the faces of a same-sex cou­ple in front of their eyes. One of the most amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences we had was when Grant and I were out and were ap­proached by a young fa­ther who said that he watched the show and it to­tally made him re­think how he’d re­act if his daugh­ter told him she was gay. If it’s chang­ing minds like that, it’s a good thing. We’ve had mul­ti­ple peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly within the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, say­ing thank you for putting your faces on it and start­ing the con­ver­sa­tion.

What do you hope that peo­ple get from see­ing what’s hap­pened to you?

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that there’s go­ing to be peo­ple around who sup­port and love you con­di­tion­ally. Fo­cus your en­ergy on those re­la­tion­ships. Sur­round your­self with those peo­ple and you’ll have sup­port.

You took the DNA Make Me Hot Chal­lenge last year and you achieved some amaz­ing re­sults; was it fun?

It was re­ally re­ally hard! [Laughs] It in­volved se­ri­ous train­ing and diet for three months. I had some good re­sults but I didn’t keep them up as good as I should have, par­tic­u­larly be­cause we were film­ing so much that the diet and the gym went by the way­side. I’m glad that I’ve got back into train­ing since Novem­ber, get­ting ready for Mardi Gras.

Did Grant ap­pre­ci­ate how hot you be­came af­ter the chal­lenge?

He loves me for what’s on the in­side – that’s what he’ll tell any­one but, prob­a­bly, yes. [Laughs]. The great thing about the chal­lenge was that I may not have kept it up over the past few months but I now know ex­actly what I’ve got to do to get back there, so that’s what we’re in the process of do­ing now.

Christophe­r af­ter com­plet­ing DNA’s Make Me Hot Chal­lenge to get fit. CHRIS WEARS ES COL­LEC­TION BRIEFS.

Christophe­r and part­ner Grant for Chan­nel 7’s Bride And Prej­u­dice.

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