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national coming out day - our stories

 
 

Here at BOYBLUE, we wanted to mark 'National Coming Out Day' with non other than our writers and friends, telling us the variety of ways they stepped out from that dusty closet. Light hearted to harrowing, you may be able to draw some similarities and hope that from them - and you know you're not alone.

Coming out is always a difficult task, so to soften the blow I invited my mum out for a meal. There I am, freshly 16, eagerly waiting for the right moment to tell her. ‘Mum I’m gay, sorry for all those times you thought I fancied Nicole Scherzinger, I actually just wanted to be a pussycat doll.’  The food is approaching, this is my chance.  ‘Mum… so I’m gay’ – much to my surprise she asks, ‘you think I didn’t already know? This is the moment where I have to confess that I’m currently in a relationship with my once best friend in high school.

In summary, my mother really didn’t mind, I always feel so luckily and privileged to have such an accepting family who just accept me for the sickening individual that I am. I’m aware coming out doesn’t always end this well, but keeping yourself in the closet makes you a skeleton. Truth is, we’re all accepted and we choose our own family of those who love and cherish us for who we are. Come out, be queer, live your life as whoever you want to be. 

Author: Ash Taylor

Things at home hand't been great, telling my Mum I was gay was something I'd wanted to get of my chest for a long time. My frustration and secrecy were taking their toll on our relationship. Both being as stubborn as each other we skirted around the issue, even though we both knew there was something I needed to say. When it came to a point where I couldn't take it anymore, I just had to tell her. I'd being having my 'friend' stay over most weekends, and I knew my mum wasn't stupid, she knew the score. She was just waiting for me to be honest with her and she didn't want me feel forced to tell her. I was bursting at the seams with the burden of the 'unspoken' and I cowardly blurted to her I was gay and that my 'friend' was indeed my boyfriend. I told her my boyfriend would be coming round later that evening, she just looked at me smiled and nodded. I wish we'd had a relaxed and open discussion, but I'm very grateful my mum gave me the space I needed to deal with what I told her, which is something I should probably tell her more often, so thank you mum. 

Author: Conor Johnson

When I decided I was going to come out to my parents I thought I would be all dramatic about it and do it on New Year’s Day. We were all sat down, the air thick with anticipation. I did that thing that all the gays do when trying to ‘just say it’, so it all came out as incoherent gibberish. My mum turned to my dad and said I think he is trying to tell us that he’s gay. My dad turned to me and said that they already knew “You love sausage and mash too much”. 

Author: James Illsley

As an LGBTQ+ teen in a small town, the thought of coming out was terrifying. I spent a lot of time searching for stories online, hoping to find some guidance. Despite finding hundreds of tales of outpourings of love and support, I could only ever seem to focus on the negative ones, which pushed me back into the closet for another few years.

Visions ran through my head of me being kicked out, outcast from my family and what would the people at school think? I was already the nerdy, camp kid, with a stutter and hideous glasses; did I really want to add more fuel to the bullies’ fire?

So there I stayed, in the closet. I should point out that my parents had always been very loving and supportive, funding endeavours in drama and trips to see musicals, but for some reason, I was terrified of their potential reactions - my parents weren’t together and I didn’t see my dad much, so he just got a quick text when I was about 16, almost like a news update (apparently he had a bet on with his wife, and he won £20 from my coming out). My mother on the other hand, had to wait – I refused to come out until I’d left home and could survive on my own, and even then I was terrified. So, at 18, I moved out and, following a heavy night on the town with friends, I plucked up the courage to tell her – by text.

And her response?  “I’ve known for ages Ryan, now piss off, I’ve got a bookcase to build”

Author: Ryan Taylor

It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am today. As someone who can proudly say I have identified as every single letter in LGBTQ+, I have plenty of experience with coming out. Some have been more important to who I am today but all of them have shaped my identity as a queer person. In my younger teenage years, I came out to my mum as a lesbian, at the time I knew I was into women and thought “well, this must be it, I’m a gay woman”.

At the time, putting a label on the feelings I had felt right. However, it wasn’t until I was in the last year of high school that I realised things still didn’t feel right, the term ‘lesbian’ didn’t fit with who I was, sure, I loved women, but the term ‘lesbian’ to me was so female.

I began watching YouTube videos, trying to put a label to what I was feeling, I hated my body, I hated my voice, I never felt comfortable within dresses or make up, I never liked being called a ‘girl’. In college, I told my friends to call me Charlie, and instantly it was a huge relief, I felt at home in myself, college had become this safe space for me to express myself. The night I told my Mum that I am transgender was the hardest and one of the worst nights of my life. I handed her a letter that I had written the night before explaining everything.

Initially, my Mum protested, she didn’t buy it. I now understand that when you come out to someone as trans, there is a big adjustment period, especially for parents, my mum had ultimately lost her little girl. It wasn’t until a couple months ago when meeting my Mum in Manchester that I realised how much of a U-turn my life had done. I had gone from straight, to a lesbian, to a bisexual man, to myself now, a flamboyant and fabulous gay man (with the fantastic beginnings of a moustache). Although it was hard for me for a long time with my family, I don’t regret a single second of every time I have come out, as it has shaped who I am as a person today. Coming out is a process, it’s something that you will inevitably have to do for the rest of your life, but every time I tell someone who I am now, where I’ve come from and what I’ve been through, I do it with pride.

Author: Charlie Logan

When I was 12, I entered my kitchen where my parents had bought fish and chips for dinner as, once again, they were too drunk to cook. I sat down and looked at my mum who was staring at me, not with a disgusted stare but more of a disappointed look. She had found a bottle of lube in my room whilst doing her weekly “drug search” (I have never touched drugs in my life, but due to my insubordinate attitude, they had decided I was high all the time). My mum said “you’re gay, aren’t you?”, to which I shrugged. She lunged at me with her palm held high and I threw mushy peas at her face. I ran upstairs as fast as I could whilst my Dad grabbed my back legs, we both fell on the stairs whilst my Mum screamed. I ran back up again and they both followed. The toilet was at the top of the stairs and I tried to lock myself in, but my Dad got in too and smacked my face against the sink twice. After a struggle, I managed to get my bus pass and the money I kept for when things went south with my parents and ran downstairs to find that the front door was locked and the key had been removed, so I climbed out of the living room window and ran as fast as I could to the bus stop. I was in foster care and on the streets for a while after that. We have a good relationship now they’re controlling their drinking, but I still don’t feel accepted. 

Author: Alexander Coe

My generation is a product of divorce. And so, when your family is scattered across the place, coming out isn’t ‘one night only’ but a multi-date tour, with it’s own venues, dates and maybe even dance routines. Whilst coming out to my family meant multiple conversations, no single one was easier than the last. I remember the weeks beforehand, and feeling like there was literally something about to bubble up out of my mouth declaring myself out and proud - like some kind of gay heartburn. Eventually, when the time did come, it was more subdued. And frankly, not much of a shock to anyone. More of a clarification than a declaration. After all, there’s only so long you can go pretending your love for drama, fashion and dressing up in drag at every possible opportunity is a result of millennial innocence and an artistic flair.

It wasn’t easy for all of my family, not at first anyway. As time has gone by, there’s a respect and, I’d like to think, more of an understanding. My mum once told me that “no one wishes their child turns out gay” which at the time was a drop kick combo shot to the heart. But as we’ve gone on I’ve understood what she meant. It’s because, as a mother, she worries constantly. But being gay it’s exacerbated. Even when I leave to work in the city, she worries. What she meant was “I wish the world wasn’t still so dangerous for gay people”. I think it’s a sentiment many parents share, albeit with poor choices of words at times.

So whilst coming out might not be nearly as easy as it was for me, and lord knows I’m grateful everyday for how good I have had it, know that the reactions you’re met with are not always the end of the story. Coming out is as much a process for the people who know and love you as it is for you. And it won’t stop, because LGBTQ people have to come out every day. But whilst the first few times were the hardest conversations I’ve ever had to muster the strength to have, the coming out I do today is much easier, much more confident, and infinitely more rewarding. I’m here. I’m queer. The world is slowly getting used to it.

 Author: Grant Steven Holmes

As much as there was an adjustment period for the people around me when I started dating a boy after an extremely girl-heavy history of relationships, it was never a particular shock to anyone (including myself,) when my queerness started to bubble to the surface. I never came out, but as I’ve grown up I’ve realised that choosing a label is not essential and it’s much more freeing for me to identify simply as ‘queer.’  The real beauty of umbrella terms such as ‘queer’ and ‘trans’ is that they set you apart without forcing further explanation. When it comes to self-expression and partner choices, I’ve never viewed things through a gender-filter. My queerness and transness are parts of my identity which I take great pride in, but I’ve never felt the need to clarify myself to anybody.  Coming out is an incredibly brave thing to do, but it’s also not something you necessarily have to do, especially if you aren’t in a safe environment to do so. The best advice I can give to any queer person is to not get too hung up on labelling yourself. Being queer is beautiful, enjoy it! 

Author: Avani James

I aways pictures my coming out story to be this big, dramatic story - when in reality its pretty simple and plane. I didn’t and haven’t fully even come out to some of my family but here goes.

For years I knew there was something different about me, as young as primary school I was getting picked on for being gay or just that little bit feminine. Most of my friends where girls, which honestly I preferred anyway, and the boys just never seemed to really like me. Secondary school was a whole different ball game. I was the only one from my primary school to get in so it was a fresh start for me, or so I thought. Making friends was hard and I never really had a strong group of friends.

Around the end of year 8 I started to become self aware that I liked the other boys in my school, I tried a lot to date girls but it never seemed right. I got really depressed and even tried to harm myself along the way until I was stopped and the school council team told my parents about what I was doing. Mum asked me what was going on and I didn’t even know, it was hard for even myself to understand.

Skip a few years to sixth form and I finally have the courage to tell my best friend that I’m gay, her reply was “Bitch, me too!” turns out she was Bisexual and I never suspected a thing. I then came out to a few friends at sixth form and within the next week everyone in my year knew.

The way my brother found out was horrible. I don’t even get how he knew. I was dating a guy at uni and I was still not out to my family, my boyfriend at the time posted a picture of us in bed together on his profile and somehow my brother found it… I was mortified. My brother started calling me out, swearing and even saying that he doesn’t know if he can accept me. I was heartbroken, a month passes by and I come home to Manchester and he’s waiting for me at the station, he goes in for a hug and says “I’m Sorry”. I was fighting back so many emotions in the car ride back it was painful and a massive weight off my shoulders. I wish I had the courage to just tell him.

I told the rest of my family other than my parents I was Gay last year on my 22nd birthday after too many drinks at which point I forgot about everything and really didn’t care. To this day I never actually said those words “I’m Gay” to them. Today is the day.

 Author: Jonny

If you need more information or support on coming out please click here.

With thanks to all of the BOYBLUE Team.