On his journey to discover his true identity he ended up working as an escort.
The Marrickville resident has written a memoir about coming to terms with his homosexuality, called ‘Oh My God! Am I Alright?’, and has plans to turn it into a movie.
It was during a trip to the mardi gras that Mr El-Bacha realised he couldn’t ignore his feelings for men. Picture: Chris McKeen
Mr El-Bacha recalls a particularly traumatic moment on his wedding night, when he was not able to consumate his marriage.
“At 9am the next day my dad and her mum they came knocking on the door and the first thing my dad asked was ‘Did you?’, I said ‘No’, so you can imagine I got in trouble and she copped it from her mother,” he said.
“They said if we didn’t do it we would disgrace the family and they gave us one hour to do the deed. You can imagine the pressure on me. I felt like I had disgraced the family and was not a man.”
Afterwards their parents came back to inspect the bedsheets and two months later his wife was pregnant.
Mr El-Bacha is hoping to turn his life story into a film and wants Kylie Minogue to play herself in it. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN
The couple returned to Australia and their son was born in 1996, but Mr El-Bacha could no longer deny the fact his thoughts continued to turn to men.
“We went to mardi gras where Kylie Minogue was performing and we went to a hotel and were watching Kylie drag shows and I remember feeling so comfortable and the thoughts of men I could not ignore, but I wouldn’t cheat on my ex-wife and I had to leave her,” he said.
“There were two years in the marriage and then I became an escort — a high calibre one not just any prostitute — so to find myself I had to lose myself.”
The 39-year-old then fell in love with a New Zealand man and had a four-year relationship, until Mr El-Bacha discovered his boyfriend had cheated. He fell into depression so bad that one night he decided to commit suicide — until he received a text from his son, he said.
“I love you too dad — those are the five words that kept me breathing — a text message from my son saved my life,” he said.
Michael El-Bacha became depressed after his relationship with a man from New Zealand ended.
Mr El-Bacha said writing the book helped him with the depression and he wants to help others out that are going through the same situation.
“I really feel for the Lebanese, the Greeks, the Italians, the Australians who are growing up gay, because it’s so lonely,” he said.
“I still copped a backlash from my community. Like the Lebanese they say ‘Why are you so outspoken?’ I’m trying to educate them to understand I am proud that I am gay, that I’m not out there to shame them and I’m trying to help others going through the rough stages of life.”
Mr El-Bacha has been single for the last seven years, but is hopeful he will find love again, and that Kylie Minogue will agree to play herself in his film.
Actor George Elhindi stars in a web series, 'I luv u but ...' about a young Lebanese man and woman who get married to please their parents, despite them both being gay. Picture: Chris Pavlich
■ It is stocked in the Book Shop in Darlinghurst and on August 9 at 1:30pm Mr El-Bacha will be signing copies at the store as part of National Bookshop Day