Posts Tagged ‘ coming out ’

My coming out story

*Disclaimer* – As I wrote this, I realised how many amazing people have played important parts in my life. I don’t mention everyone, but I hope you know how much you mean to me. I’ve also glossed over a few details out of respect. ***

 

It’s kind of a long story.

Let’s start from the beginning.

I was a fairly normal child (I think) – possibly a little more sensitive and little less into sports than other boys my age, but I’d bet that a lot of people feel that way when they’re young. I had a girlfriend or two when I was in primary school, in the way that kids do – again, not an uncommon experience.

I have a really strange memory of the 1997 election. I remember seeing John Major on television and wanting him to win because I thought he was more attractive than Tony Blair – obviously that’s an imperfect description of how I, a seven year old, felt; but that was kind of the gist.

The first person I came out to was my mum (gayyy, right?), when I was about fourteen. Whenever my mum had something important or awkward to discuss with me or my sister she’d wait until we were in the car together, usually on the motorway, so there could be NO ESCAPE. This one time, she just asked me straight out if I was gay, and I said yes, and she said that was fine, and that was that.

School was never really a problem for me. My secondary school was a boys’ grammar, so I was probably fairly sheltered. Shortly after I came out to my mum, I came out to a few close friends of mine. They were all girls, obviously. One of them had been a friend since primary school, and had moved to another country. One of them was a friend at the girls’ school down the road – I lost contact with her years ago, but at the time I think I had a bit of a girl crush on her.

The last was an amazing person who I’m proud to call one of my best friends. The boys’ and girls’ schools used to have joint discos for the year sevens, eights, and nines. They were hilarious – literally all the boys on one side of the hall and all the girls on the other, except for the cool kids (like me, obvs) who hung around outside and had friends at the other school. Around this time, my bestie told  me that one of her friends wanted to ask me out (in a schoolchildy way) and I had to ask her to tell her friend not to, and she asked me why, and I was all like “because I’ll have to say no… because I like guys”, and that was that.

I think it was about a year afterwards that I came out to my sister. My mum and dad are divorced and live separately, and I remember wanting to come out to my sister so that when we were at my mum’s house then everyone in the house would know – that I wouldn’t have to hide anything. Eventually it just felt like it was time. One evening I asked her if I could have a word with her. We went and sat outside on the patio, in the dark. I told her that I had something really important to tell her, but that it was really difficult for me to say, and that if she knew (which I was pretty sure that she did) and she could just tell me that she knew, it would really help me out. She was like “is it that you’re gay?” and I was like “yes” and we hugged and it was awesome.

A year or so later I started sixth form. My school was a boys’ school up until sixth form, when it was mixed. I got to hang around with girls, which was awesome. The friendship groups all shifted around, and I ended up mostly hanging out with this one other guy and three awesome girls who’d come over from other schools. In an amazing coincidence the other guy and one of the other girls also turned out to be gay, and we all kind of came out together. I have this really vivid memory of hanging out in the Westgate Gardens doing that stupid teenage thing where you’re like “would you rather Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston” or whatever, and me and the other guy would keep trying to steer it over to talking about men and the girl keep trying to talk about women. It all happened pretty quickly, really. I forget who came out first, but it wasn’t me. One of the others started, and then the other, and then I was just like “me tooooooo!” but that all worked out really well and the two straight girls were (and are) amazing.

School was generally pretty decent from that point onwards. There were still some jerks – there probably always are – but as we got older they all started minding their own business, which was nice.

After school, I took a gap year. I made some awesome new friends and went gay clubbing for the first time. I guess from that point onwards I was pretty much “out”. When I started university the following year, I started with a fresh slate. By then I’d changed my Facebook “About” section to clarify that I was “Interested in: Men”, so whenever I met a new person I just added them on Facebook and let them figure it out for themselves. It really saved me quite a lot of effort – thanks Facebook! I joined my university’s LGBT society and a local gay choir, and met some MORE amazing people (there are apparently a lot of them).

The last person I had to come out to was my dad.

In my final year of university a situation came up that really made me realise some things. It was time to let my dad know who I was. I didn’t feel right anymore with him not knowing, and so I made the phone call. I think I said something like “I’m not seeing anyone at the moment, but if I was it would probably be a guy”, and he said something like “that’s ok, I love you, but keep an open mind just it case”, so it could have been a lot worse. And that was that, I guess.

If my story says anything it’s that coming out is not a simple process. I started my journey out of the closet almost ten years ago. I only told my dad last year, and I don’t know if he’s told my step-family or any of my extended family on his side.

I’d like to finish with a quick message to anyone out there who might be struggling with coming out:

I know it’s difficult, and I know you might be scared. It’s ok. You are strong enough to do it, and whatever happens when you do, you will not be alone. Whatever you’re going through at the moment, it really does get better.

I made a video about this. It’s somewhere on YouTube. Here. Thanks for reading, and have a great day. x