‘It sucks to be gay in the bush. You want to kill yourself’
E captured the hearts of Australians with his self-effacing country-boy persona and typical Aussie drawl as a breakout star of Big Brother in 2006.
And then the "Gay Cowboy' made them catch their breath as he bravely came out on the reality TV show.
More than a decade on, 'Farmer Dave' Graham has brought his earnest country drawl, 'fair go' approach and country boy logic to the same-sex marriage debate in a heartfelt video, with a cheeky twist: he reveals the desperate struggle of growing up gay in the bush, but finishes on an upbeat note, laughingly revealing he's "single as sh*t".
His "A farmer's view on the marriage vote" video has had more than 62,000 views on his Facebook page.
It opens with a polite country boy thank you, as Dave thanks "everyone involved for making this a massive issue because, you know, when you're alone and living in the bush a lot of times all you hear is the bad stuff".
"So this is extraordinary to hear that it's a national issue to let people like me who want to fall in love, and want to spend the rest of their life with one person, it's just incredible."
He then targets some of the "weird" arguments against, targeting the Coalition for Marriage advertisements featuring mums fearing what a yes vote means.
"There's that woman that says 'oh my God, they're making my kids role play'," he says.
"Newsflash, you stupid cow. That's what every gay person's had to do nearly all their lives, especially people in the country, like me.
"It sucks to be gay in the bush. You want to kill yourself. And you try. Many times. Because it's not a choice. It's how you are.
"So we have to role play every single day, and pretend. And the worst thing is you hurt people, big time, because you're forced into a lie.
"If your kid has to try, for like five minutes, to role play what it's like to be like this, it's not that bad, sheila."
Dave "wouldn't wish on anyone" his own "terrible" experience of growing up hiding the fact he was gay for more than a quarter of a decade.
"Seriously, I did it for 26 years where I had to lie to myself, my family and community about who I was."
He told news.com.au that he was saddened the debate had been sidetracked and muddied.
"Every part of the 'No' debate is red herrings," he says.
"This (debate) is about marriage. This is about two people who love each other getting married.
But since "no voters" have brought up the controversial Safe Schools program, he's happy to share his experiences as a teenager in high school.
"But on Safe Schools, you know what? I was spat on. I was abused. I was bashed, I was whacked. I was mistreated every single day of my school life, and I went to an all-boys boarding school. Anything that would have been able to stop that … would have been a good thing."
He told news.com.au in regional and country areas, the debate had been muddied, but believes it's quintessentially Australian to believe in a "fair go".
"That's what this postal vote offers," he said.
In the video, he challenges Australians to look in the mirror and "just put yourself in that mindset of 'what if there was nothing I could change about myself and the law said I was a second-class citizen and I wasn't allowed to get married'?"
Challenging Australians to get rid of this "bullsh*t law" banning anyone from getting married, he signs of with a cheeky appeal to help a single bloke out.
"Let's just get on with it, it's 2017," he says.
"And if you know anyone that's really nice, I'm single as sh*t, send 'em my way."