Mitch starts new chapter in life to assure others: 'You're not alone'

Art student at exhibition

Mitch Poole - Credit: Submitted

College student Mitch Poole, who contemplated taking his own life during the darkest days of his sexuality nightmare, has emerged stronger and more determined to assure others: 'You're not alone'.

It was an art exhibition at South Devon College which has helped him start a new chapter in his 'journey of pride'.

And now, after turning to comedy and fashion as part of that new dawn, he has caught the eye of a famous fashion company.

The college has hosted its annual Summer Art and Design Exhibition. There were many stand out pieces of work where the student artists told their story.

With June as Pride Month, Mitch delved into spreading the message that being different or being gay is ok.

He didn’t have any experience of screen-printing on to clothes before starting his course last September. But T-shirts and crop tops are all statement pieces and use a play on words to encourage equality in society, whatever your sexuality. 

He said: “This project is a celebration of difference but also something to make me feel a lot more comfortable with being gay in a more creative sense with comedy and fashion than going to counselling and other more clinical paths.” 

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The clothes have phrases partnered with illustrations such as “Camper van” featuring a rainbow-coloured van between plain ones. Mitch also brought in reference to his spirit animal, the crocodile, and used a similar style play on words with “Call me and make it snappy”, making his work a hybrid of challenging societal norms and expressing his personality. 

T-shirt with funny logo

Touch of comedy - Credit: Submitted

The T-shirts and crop tops aren’t intended for a specific gender. Mitch says: "Someone who is gay doesn’t have a set build or body profile that defines them as gay. Just as much as someone that’s straight, gay people can be all different sizes and with crop tops assumed as a female item of clothing, the limited size options remove the ability for some people to express themselves the way they want with their clothes.” 

He had a picture taken of himself in his burgundy suit, rainbow tie, high heels, and an umbrella over his shoulder. He posted it on Instagram and it received recognition from fashion and accessory company - ‘imverygay’, who offered him the opportunity to become an ambassador for the brand.

Art student's colourful work

Mitch's colourful stand at the exhibition - Credit: Submitted

Mitch  now has even more confidence to chase his dream and go forward with his own business. He has already been in talks to get funding through the Princes Trust

His personal journey about himself and his sexuality hasn’t been plain sailing and he wants to encourage others going through the same that they aren’t alone.

Mitch had difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality whilst being raised by foster parents who didn’t share the same beliefs. He came out for the first time just around two years ago but then still feared the judgement he would be subjected to so returned to concealing it. 

He says: “I got trapped in the mindset of thinking being gay is wrong and had a conflict of being conditioned to having homophobic thoughts but also being homosexual at the same time."

After it being 'outed' at his previous school, Mitch suffered malicious comments and bullying that resulted in him isolating himself and at the worst point, pushing him to want to take his life. 

Thankfully, there was a part of Mitch that knew there was more to life.

After returning to live with his mother, he left school and joined the college and has since been surrounded with people that love him for who he is.

He said: “There are so many people going through or have gone through the same thing as me and think they’re on their own, so I want to be able to help others know that they aren’t alone.” 

If you’re interested in studying Art and Design like Mitch has, you can discover the college’s range of courses at southdevon.ac.uk