Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: MasterChef’s Khanh shares his difficult coming out journey

“It was hard for me to accept who I was."
Loading the player...

While MasterChef contender Khanh Ong’s family accepted his sexuality, it was hard to be a gay teenager at his all-boys high school.

“I switched schools when I was 15 and effectively had to go back into the closet,” Khanh, 27, tells TV WEEK.

“It was a hard time.”

Things haven’t been easy for the MasterChef star.

(Image: Instagram)

After nine months there, Khanh was relieved to return to Melbourne’s Haileybury school.

“I felt more accepted at that school, but at 15, I also thought I was the only gay kid in school,” Khanh says.

“It was hard for me to accept who I was then.”

Minus 18, a charity that supports LGBTQIA+ youth, helped Khanh at that time.

“I had one gay friend then, who suggested I come to an event,” he says, adding that it allowed him to “meet my people!”

Khanh is often wearing his charity T-Shirts on screen.

(Image: Instagram)

Khanh is selling the ‘You Are Loved’ T-shirts he wears on MasterChef to raise funds for the organisation.

“I had hoped to raise $5000, but we’re up to $25,000!” he says.

“It feels so good to give back when they helped me so much.”

In 2018, during his first stint on MasterChef, Khanh [spoke to *TV WEEK]*(|target=”_blank”) about the challenges he faced within his culture as a gay man.

“Being gay in our culture isn’t really a thing, so that was hard for me,” he tells.

“You go through the first half of your life pretending you’re not gay; that what you’re feeling isn’t normal.”

After spending the first two years of his life in an Indonesian refugee camp, Khanh’s family eventually settled in Australia.

Torn between two cultural identities, he says he struggled to fit in.

“It’s hard enough growing up gay, but then there’s this whole refugee element,” Khanh explains.

“No-one grows up choosing to be an outcast or picked on – it just happens.”

Related stories