Looking back, coming out to my closest friends seems quite innocent. I excitedly typed the words ‘I think I like girls’ into my phone to show my best friend because I couldn’t say the words out loud. I then came out gradually to more and more friends, mostly drunk at parties and occasionally through being found hiding in a closet kissing a girl. The irony!
I’ve never seen my sexuality as something I need to announce to everyone. So, after I had told immediate friends, I let people find out by themselves. Unlike my brother, I haven’t been bullied for my sexuality. Instead, most people have shown intrigue, as well as multiple boys commenting….
“ That’s so hot! ”
When I was 18 I had my first girlfriend. It was like most first loves, however, it had a different element to what I had experienced with boys. There was another level of intimacy, another understanding for one another’s bodies and emotions. Telling my family and friends about my new relationship also required more than I had experienced with previous relationships.
I wasn’t scared to tell my Mum, for we had discussed the possibility of my brother being gay beforehand, and she seemed very accepting of him. I was surprised and devastated to receive a very different reaction. My Mum told me that I was not to put it online where people could see, that she wished I could be ‘normal’, and that I would fall in love with a man.
I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why my brother was so easily accepted; yet I had to justify my feelings. I was made to feel ashamed. Later, she asked why I was so upset and I told her how excited I was to have met somebody special, yet she couldn’t share that happiness with me. Upset, she told me she loved me unconditionally and apologised. After that point she was just what you’d wish for from your Mum, and treated our relationship as I would wish for her to do whether my partner is male or female. However, after her reaction, I was terrified to tell my Dad who is of an older generation and doesn’t quite understand the LGBT+ community, people with tattoos, piercings, coloured hair.
Sorry Dad, I fit all categories.
I wrote my Dad a letter, and his reaction was also a surprise to me. He was much more calm and rational. He was honest about his feeling and asked questions, reassuring me ultimately that he loves me unconditionally.
Yet, during my 11-month relationship, he always treated my girlfriend as a friend of mine. Some people have told me that they would have protested, yet he was always generous to us. I believe that you should be patient with people around you when coming out, as they too have their own process. They must come to terms with your sexuality, and take time to adapt to this new perception of you. People, through my experience, tend to be a lot more accepting than I initially thought they would be. Be patient, honest, and strong.