Front Cover: Q Magazine Featuring Michael El-Bacha 'oh my god! am i alright?'

"Oh My God Am I Alright? is the ‘coming out’ story of a young confused man growing up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney to strict Lebanese Christian parents. From the outside looking in, Michael El-Bacha seemed like any other Lebanese boy from a large family with strong values and an appetite for football, fast cars and chicky babes, but after his parents notice that Michael is not like other 'typical' Lebanese boys, he is whisked off to Lebanon to marry his first cousin. A young Michael struggles to deny his true sexuality and leaves his young bride and infant child to find his identity, before embarking on a downward spiral and losing a lover leads him back home. Sex, drugs, homosexuality and love potions are what make this tale of self-discovery tantalising. His story will make you laugh, cringe and cry.” 

Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings?

Born at Parramatta District Hospital on the 18th May. I grew up in Western Sydney and I have 6 siblings (5 brothers & 1 sister). 

When did you first know you were gay and did you have any issues with friends, family, colleagues in doing so? Did being of Lebanese heritage pose any specific issues?

I was an all-rounder. I was very sporty growing up and excelled at many sports, which in a way I was hiding behind these man-ly activities. Being from my cultural background and religious views, 
I really hadn't accepted my thoughts of men growing up. It was never the way I was brought up to believe. We were always taught to respect the wishes of our parents with no questions asked. There 
was no room for homosexuality in the Lebanese culture I must say. I had thoughts of men growing up but I would try and knock them out of my thoughts. I married my cousin in an arranged marriage in 
Lebanon at at the age of 19. I was a virgin at the time, so she was my first. It wasn't until I ran away and went into a men's sauna I realised I was undeniably gay. That was my moment. I was aroused 
without envisaging thoughts of men in my mind.

Why did you decide you write your novel: Oh My God! Am I Alright? Is this your first book? What was the process? Would you do it again?

My first book and the process has taken me 7 years and its still ongoing. It's all about trial and error. Yes. I would definitely do it all again, and the reason is my book has inspired and helped many already. I have also learnt many positive things along the way, which ultimately I could pass on. The suicide attempt becomes the best and worst day of my life, and this is when OH MY GOD! AM 
I ALRIGHT? came into fruition. So it was talking about my life journey, writing it all down that was merely the best medicine for my depression - along with the unconditional love and support by my family.

What advice would you give young men and women of Lebanese heritage about coming out?

I would say to have the courage to be true to yourself cause you would have to confront your issues one day. Remember, there is always support out there and a light at the end of the tunnel.

Any other information you want to share with our readers?

If anyone is seeking support visit where there is an open forum to discuss any issues and remain anonymous and I can steer them in the right direction for help. I am working closely with Plus Medical Clinic, so I am able to get assistance with professionals. There is also information on the blog of purchase details plus it is available at Hares n Hyenas Queer Bookshop Cafe. I will be in Melbourne Thursday 23rd October for 'Under The Skin' produced by Australian LBGT Multicultural Council & Hares n Hyenas (63 Johnson St Fitzroy) at 7:30pm. My son and I have a healthy respectful and honest relationship. He is a true blessing and my gift of life. In order to have found myself, I lost myself and I just wished I had someone to understand the turmoil I was going through at the time. It's all about giving back for me. I believe arranged marriages are a big issue within my community and this really needs to be stopped, perhaps with a phoneline we are able to call in to for assistance. The working film title for my book is called 'Matters Of The Heart' I hope to have this released on film too. My other dream, with so many elements to my story, I have had interest from Hollywood with it too. I want to make an Australian 
film, as it's primarily an Australian story.
With Thanks Brett Hayhoe The Editor of  Q Magazine .. celebrating 10 years !