Tanya Saad's story to be aired on SBS's Mardi Gras coverage

Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad will feature in a piece for SBS's 2016 Mardi Gras broadcast. Tanya is the subject of the piece as she talks about what it was like growing up in a country town with an arab background, whilst finding her sexuality as a lesbian.

Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad will feature in a piece for SBS's 2016 Mardi Gras broadcast. Tanya is the subject of the piece as she talks about what it was like growing up in a country town with an arab background, whilst finding her sexuality as a lesbian.

TANYA Saad and her parents Mon and Michael stand in front of a film crew.

They are asked to hug and as Tanya squeezes her parents tighter they erupt in laughter.

They are together, united and happy.

Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad stand in front of a film crew. When Tanya draws her parents closer they erupt in laughter.

Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad stand in front of a film crew. When Tanya draws her parents closer they erupt in laughter.

Their morning was spent walking the fields behind Tanya's parent's home with SBS film crew and television presenter Patrick Abboud.

Their conversations trace back to what it was like for Tanya growing up in a country town with an Arab background, whilst finding her sexuality as a lesbian.

"I bore the outer shell of an Arab, so immediately I looked different, but I didn't feel different," explained Tanya, who struggled with bullying throughout her schooling life.

"I talked to people of my father's generation, and I heard similar stories to my own.

"They were basically tortured, but they felt complaining about it wasn't going to do anything."

Tanya has chosen a life of talking about the things which are difficult to talk about.

In 2014, she released her memoir 'From the Feet Up', detailing the experiences of undergoing testing for the BRCA1 gene fault with her two sisters.

The SBS crew film Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad in Taree last week. Tanya's story will feature in a piece for SBS's 2016 Mardi Gras broadcast.

The SBS crew film Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad in Taree last week. Tanya's story will feature in a piece for SBS's 2016 Mardi Gras broadcast.

A positive test meant their chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer increased exponentially.

Tanya and her sister Paula tested positive.

They each underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, with Tanya also having her fallopian tubes and ovaries removed.

She is now an ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia, and is attending various events this February for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Tanya explained her memoir was also her way of coming out to the community, Australia and the world.

"My sexuality was a huge part of my journey and it is weaved throughout the book," she said.

Growing up, Tanya didn't immediately identify with her sexuality, although she said she had an inkling.

"I didn't have posters of guys up in room, I had posters of sports women," she said.

Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad were filmed in the Manning Valley for the SBS program.

Mon, Tanya and Michael Saad were filmed in the Manning Valley for the SBS program.

"When I think back there were lots of telling signs, I just had no idea."

Tanya explained that being gay just wasn't talked about at all in that time.

"No one in town was openly out and there was little gossip about who might be," she said.

Following a move to Sydney, Tanya was met with an influx of new experiences.

"Sydney is a melting pot of culture - there are so many different people from all walks of life."

Tanya continued dating men, but inside she held a certain level of discontent.

"I thought okay, if I fall in love and I look up and it's a guy, it's a guy. And if it's a girl, it's a girl. It was my way of trying to work it out without labelling it."

Coming out was the first step in what would lead to further uncomfortable conversations with her parents.

"I had to talk to them about facing the idea of having a child on my own," said Tanya.

Last year, Tanya had her last preventive surgery to remove the remaining ovary. Originally, Tanya had wanted to avoid this procedure for as long as she could to give herself a chance of having children and delay the early onset of menopause. Unfortunately waiting was no longer an option.

Tanya has dealt with emotions and experiences that could stump any person completely.

Although she takes each of these challenges as further steps in her journey - a journey she wants to continue to share with others.

She hopes sharing her story on SBS will generate thought for gay youth in country towns on how to take the first steps in starting their journey.

"Even if your parents won't initially embrace your sexuality, don't discount it," she said.

"It can be uncomfortable, but you and your family will grow stronger in the journey."

Tanya's story will be the subject of a piece for SBS's 2016 Mardi Gras broadcast.

The episode will air on the 2016 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on SBS at 8.30pm, Sunday March 6.

laura.polson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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