So today it is IDAHO, international day against homophobia, and I thought I would mark the day by telling you my ‘coming out story’.
I grew up in a very female household, there were 3 sisters, my mother, and my Brother Andrew, who suffers from a rare muscle disease.
Our dad had left when I was 5, so there was a real lack of masculine influence in my life, until my mums partner moved in when I was 12. (Completely discounting my previous step father)
So, football was never on, never anyone saying ‘coooorrr look at her!’
Instead as a young boy, I was asked to brush my sisters hair, the sister of which I blame my career choice on, three guesses for what it is!
I always used to get comments from my family, as, by my own admission I am a ‘jazz-hands’ gay!
I of course denied it. I had many girlfriends and at that time, completely believed I was straight.
Then one day, when I was 14, I had a very vivid dream in which I was having sex with one of my class mates…from our all boys school…
I woke up panicked and remember thinking
“Oh dear..I think I’m a gay!”
I didn’t mess around with the turmoil of not knowing what or who I was, and the next day approached a boy I knew was probably gay, the one from the dream.
Not going in to detail. But things happened, and at that point, I knew.
THAT for me is when the turmoil happened.
By this point i was living in a house with my mums partner, VERY manly man, AND my sisters boyfriend who was the kind of man you expected to hate gays.
I HAD to keep up the belief that I was straight, so I went and got me a girlfriend, one that everyone wanted, and one that was, and still is very pretty!
This went on until I was 16, and eventually came the time that I couldn’t keep lying to her, and that sex with her was not at all enjoyable. Not because of her, but because to me it just didn’t feel right.
I was 17. I had moved out and had my own little life, I’d become good friends with a girl at work, Kelly.
Kelly was a goth girl back then, and one of those people that is chilled out, laid back and very open minded.
In her I gained the confidence to come out for the first time!
I did it to her, her boyfriend and her friend Sabrina…
Sabrina made me get in wardrobe and quite literally ‘come out of the closet’.
That experience and how fine it was, gave me the confidence to tell my other friends.
At this point, everyone knew but my family.
I came out to my sister Katrina first. I always had a close bond with her, and I knew she wouldn’t judge, and she didn’t.
Then, in the middle of A&E in September 2007, I blurted it out to my Mum and my sister Gemma.
My mums response?
“Is that it? I’ve known since you were 2!!”
Gemma, a fan of Catherine Tate, turned to my mother, and in a Northern Irish accent said…
“Mummy, he’s a gay man now…”
WHAT A RELIEF!
None of them were remotely homophobic, but I had this fear that they would disown me or judge…but they never did, and I was left wondering why I hadn’t done it sooner!
The next one. The one I was scared about. My father.
Without talking about him too much. He was a BNP supporter, a skin head and part of the national front.
He had once regaled me with account of when he went out ‘kicking in Faggots’.
I was terrified, so I did it over the phone…drunk.
I blurted it out, and I can imagine it was very slurred!
The next day, when I was reminded by a friend that I had done it, I was horrified.
I sheepishly called him, and he told me it was ‘fine’ and that he didn’t care.
I believed him. I believed he was fine with it. I was wrong.
It must have eaten at him for years, because he didn’t disown me for it until years after!
When he realised I wasn’t going to be his carpenters apprentice and drink beer with him whilst screaming at the football…he realised that he would never have the son he wanted.
My brother god bless him was born with his disability, and could never be what my dad wanted, and then I had also been a disappointment to him.
Oh how tough that must have been for him….
So, all in all, it was a good experience, uneventful really!!
I do wish I had done it sooner, but very happy to have had the support from my family, the ones that matter!
Lots of Love