Coming Out

D

DM090820

Okay, I'll try and keep it as brief as possible as we're all running out of time :)

I'm from a very traditional family that's both mad and rather violent.

As a small child I had an eclectic choice in toys, I really loved toy kitchens and hoovers - and train-sets and action man.
I also loved wearing my mother's high heels, and I kept dressing up in drag until I was a teenager and I was told to knock it off.
Didn't have the slightest clue what being gay was, and it took me a long time to realise it was actually legal.

Primary school was a really awful C of E school where we spent an amazing amount of time praying and singing hymns (I was in the choir), I once got a detention for deciding to apply some new knowledge I'd picked up from Time Team to insist that the houses in Jerusalem all had thatched roofs. I had an evil teacher in Year 3, who told us all 'she didn't like little boys', which sort of set the tone for that year. My headmaster was a horrible man, that took a particular hatred to me as my grandfather broke his nose twenty years prior.

I took up writing poetry, even though my family thought it was gay, and I wrote about everything I could think of, I developed an early love of literature, read most of Dickens in school.

As you can imagine the sex education was rather limited in year 6, but I did at least finally find out what tampons were for, they were a complete mystery to me beforehand. The boys and girls were split up in to two groups (because of course, why not) - so we got to watch a weird video where a teenager said he could see his sperm one day, which is obviously scientifically impossible, we left it there.

Big school was fun, the first assembly, as the teacher stood up to the lecturn, I was the only one in a room with over 1600 people in it to bow my head and put my hands together, it turns out it was a secular school and the vital urgency that'd been drilled in to me, that one must surely be able to rattle off the Lord's prayer at 500wpm was completely useless.

I was pretty badly bullied that first year, I wasn't exactly camp, but I had a very high pitched voice and I was very well spoken, so naturally everyone called me gay. My strongest subjects were English and Science, had really amazing English teacher that bought out my full potential, she left - and we had an NQT (whom I met in a bar a couple of years ago), the curriculum had a new book to read called (and which I've just spent 20 minutes googling) 'Two Weeks with The Queen', which I really enjoyed, and it was treated quite sensitively by the class.

In the first year, I also ended up fronting the World Aids Day assembly - I was bullied for that too, no I didn't have AIDS, no I didn't think I was gay then either.

Other than that we had a PHSE day once a year, where we usually learnt very little, we did have a play that was horribly overacted by a troupe of fifth rate actors in their late 30s which appeared to be about coming out to your parents, but it was fairly lost on all of us. We were eventually taught how to put a condom on a 'demonstrator', as the nurse insisted on calling it, when we were all 16, but at that point I already knew. We also had a bizarre shoehorned section where we did the gay thing, with a nervous teacher, which I'm sure I've mentioned. It boiled down to how lucky we were that Section 28 had been repealed a few years earlier etc and that we could discuss our sexual orientations freely - no-one to the best of my recollection ever took up that offer.

So skipping forwards as quickly as possible, as I realise I've been rambling :) I came out in stages, usually by accident - I had a bi friend that was also really into poetry (in fact our English GCSEs were the top of the cohort, I was just down on him by one mark). I'd had a very long day and he decided to write a joint poem, I was trying to eat my dinner at the time so I was being a bit lazy with the couplets, he started the first stanza with indeed indeed, I rhymed it with steed, and before you know it you're mounting the steed and it just went on from there - this ended up on Bebo and quite a few people read it and read rather more in to it than they really should have, but failed to mention it for years.

My mother found out from my sister who's a Lesbian, we don't get on particularly well, and there was a party and one thing led to another and before you know it I'm outside making snow angels with some random dude. I come out to her a year later and find this out, and well erm - she portrayed herself as being incredibly tolerant etc, but she really wasn't - she said I was confused, that I couldn't be gay, that I'd be lonely, I'd get AIDS and die, that was fun.

In year 10 we had an oral exam for Romeo and Juliet, we had to do group acting, I was Mrs Capulet, and I went full on Frankie Howerd - my teacher stopped me as everyone was in stitches and said 'ARE YOU GAY?' To which we all broke down laughing, I just said yes of course sarcastically, but I found out later they all already thought it anyway.

Flash forward to sixth form, I come out and forget to check behind me, the school telegraph was right there.

Dad I never really intended to tell, but my mother did a few years ago - he walked in to the kitchen 'Son, you mother says you're confused about your sexuality' I say 'no dad, I'm not confused I'm gay' - backing towards the knife rack in the process, he does the last thing I expected and hugs me.

I've missed bits out for brevity, but that's the key points :)

Yours,

Reece.
 

alpacasqueak

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It’s hard but lovely to read that @Falken
I’ve said before I went to an all girls grammar school, 90 of us in each year so a small school compared to the other ‘normal’ ones, instantly bullied by people I lived by, with anyone else in my age group I was gay as in a council estate and a tiny town!
Picked on throughout my teenage years, even a joke in the family. Realised I was bisexual at about probably 10. But it would still be an issue for some of my family if I were to bring a female round rather than a male for Sunday dinner!

That is lovely with dad cuddles :)
 

hannahs26

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Thank you for sharing @Falken. Life was/is still tough for anyone who was/is different. It sounds like you had quite disturbing experiences. I'm thankful I'm able to home educate my two beautiful children - my ten year old son who has gorgeous hair down to his waist, who everyone mistakes for a girl as he's so pretty; and my fifteen year old daughter who is neurodiverse, and doesn't feel she belongs on this planet, let alone feel female or male, and doesn't get people at all. I feel that both are likely to have non-heterosexual relationships in the future, and they know that I am a hundred percent ok with them being whoever they want to be in life. They have grown up knowing their lovely uncle was gay, and they know that I accept them whoever they choose to be with in life. They know that if I was younger, I'd offer to be a surrogate for my brother and husband in a flash, and they understand why.
My brother has a touch time with our older brother and father when he first came out to them - I'd known since he was about 11, and my mum since he was about 18, but he'd not told my dad or older brother until he was in his most serious relationship, a few years later. It took my father months to speak to him, and my older brother behaved very angrily towards him, due to fear and ignorance. Thankfully they're all ok now though, with my brother and his husband sometimes staying with them when they visit, and my folks visiting the inlaws' home for holidays too.
 

Swissgreys

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Thank you Reece for choosing to share your journey - I sincerely hope that after coming out to your family what followed was smoother.
One of my dearest friends for over 30 years asked me to be his female love interest, when he couldn't come out to his own family.
Thankfully it all ended well - he came out, his family loved me anyway, and to this day we all muddle along.
Ironically it was my own family who ultimately struggled to accept my friendship with a gay man - funny how life works sometimes.
 
D

DM090820

Thank you Reece for choosing to share your journey - I sincerely hope that after coming out to your family what followed was smoother.
One of my dearest friends for over 30 years asked me to be his female love interest, when he couldn't come out to his own family.
Thankfully it all ended well - he came out, his family loved me anyway, and to this day we all muddle along.
Ironically it was my own family who ultimately struggled to accept my friendship with a gay man - funny how life works sometimes.
Thanks Swissy, and thanks to everyone for sharing their own experiences.

I have a friend that's not unlike yours, he's 31 now, design graduate, still living with his parents, he tried to come out to them but it didn't work out too well, so he's still extemely discreet, to the point that I had to sneak out at 03:00 in the morning to avoid them finding me there, felt like a teenager again.
 
D

DM090820

:) While we have time - which was my school's motto - (incidentally, it wasn't quite as bad then, but - Is this Britain's worst school? Secondary gets damning Ofsted report)

There were a handfulof LGBT people in school, we all sort of knew eachother but we were so scared of socialising that we spent most of our time pretending we hated each other, which to be fair some of us did. Some of the sixth formers were more open, but not by much.

Homophobia was rampant, gay was a general pejorative term. There was one time I was asked to guide two prospective NQTs and some little twit said some horrible homophobic thing to them, which I was under order to present the school in the best possible light, and to their credit all the candidates walked out in protest. Naturally the PE department was particularly nasty about it, but PE teachers have never really been considered particularly bright. In the SMT the sport was ran by two very butch lesbians, who knew me by name - even though I often forgot theirs. The head of Art was a very camp, but conventionally married man, he used to get terrible abuse, and he heard it once and ran in to his office crying, those of use with a soul cheered him up. Similarly, he once asked if I liked football - I said no and he said 'you're a man after my own heart, if only he'd known how true that was.

If gay was covert then, then trans was positively non-existant, I'd learnt about it a few years before, and I honestly cried, I thought if being gay was so hard, despite all the mixed emotions I had over it - imagine being born in the wrong body and how much harder it would have been, but in retrospect there's no-one that jumps out. There was one guy that I felt may be, but he was just veeeeeery veeeery camp.

It really was, for most of my time there the love that dare not speak its name - except in the English department, and I'm really grateful for all the help and support they gave us all really, even if it wasn't always well received at the time.

Again, there is so much more, but so little time to talk about it.

So I'll leave you with this.

Reece.
 
D

DM090820

One of my favourite things about the world we live in is the diversity of people. How utterly boring if everyone was the same.
:) I've always written the same when asked about it, honestly, might not be totally on board with some things, but I'd prefer people try to be genuine individuals than follow everyone else.
 

Betsy

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:) I've always written the same when asked about it, honestly, might not be totally on board with some things, but I'd prefer people try to be genuine individuals than follow everyone else.
Well said Reece. You shouldn't be a sheep and follow the herd. I'm not gay but I had a hard time at school with bullying and stuff cos I didn't fit in and refused to change for anyone. I'm me, I like myself and if you don't that's your loss. I used to feel awkward in social situations and still do to a certain extent. However I still have my 2 school friends I've known for over 40 years and have been very happily married for over 30 years to the only man that "gets me" and loves me for who I am.
 

Emx93

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Deepest apologies to the lgbt+ planning group for hiding behind 'ally' and not being 100% honest. i hope you understand when you read this that i was too scared to be honest even 10 years later. Also i don't feel like i fit into one specific label or category which means it gets confusing. I wasn't going to post this and i've typed and deleted this a million times but Oh encouraged me to post this because 'why hide who you are' and 'it just might help someone'. As far as i'm concerned i'm very happy in my current relationship those who need to know know and those who dont dont. But he has a point, its a part of me that i've hidden the past 8 years. So here we go.
I've always known i wasn't entirely straight. Growing up in a very judgmental family with a religious mum and homophobic stepdad was hell. I came out as bisexual (though sexuality is bloody confusing and its probably more like somewhere between bi and asexual- i feel attraction to both genders but very limited sexual attraction towards anyone, sexuality i think is somewhat fluid and a spectrum to some degree) to my friends and it soon spread round the school. Lots of 'friends' disowned me and people started calling me a 'freak' and a 'weirdo' or telling me 'just pick a side'. a close friend was also bisexual and i decided to tell my mum that to see how it she reacted. 'shes just confused' 'you cant like both' 'i don't want you hanging around with her and no you definitely cannot sleep at her house' 'your a sinner, shes a sinner, your just saying this because she is, shes a bad influence'. NO. i stopped then, hid it when i did get a girlfriend and pretty much kept it a secret. Then i met my wonderful (male) OH, he knew my sexuality and was always fully supportive. As it happened my bloody family disowned me anyway because they decided they didn't like the 6 year age gap and i must choose him or them. id had enough at this point and accepted the loss. i still don't have a single family member in my life from my own family. Then it got worse, 'oh it was just a phase then' people would say? no attraction to women didn't dissapear because i had a male partner but i'm happy in my relationship so i didn't feel like i had to justify or explain. I'm so lucky he loves me for me, entirely as i am, he knows i love him unconditionally too and we are both truly happy. His family knows too, he was always open with them from the start so i didn't have to and they were all 100% supportive, infact when a member of his family came out they told me first because they knew they could come to me. the experience with family and kids at school stuck with me though to the point that to support lgbt+ openly i felt like i had to hide behind ally and that feels like hiding a part of myself, oh is entirely right with that, i should just be myself. This feels like coming out for the second time and i have all the same nerves i had the first time. Again lgbt+ planning group i'm deeply ashamed of myself for hiding this from you.
 

alpacasqueak

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You weren’t hiding anything from anyone, you haven’t talked about certain parts of your life but why should you and you most definitely shouldn’t feel guilty about anything. How lovely you feel like you can talk about things now and I’m sorry you’ve had a nightmare at times.
Only one person on here knew I was bisexual until I talked about it last night when we were having the lovely night we did and talked openly about stuff. It was a great evening and glad you feel like you can talk about it now matey :hug:xx
 

Gem789

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Deepest apologies to the lgbt+ planning group for hiding behind 'ally' and not being 100% honest. i hope you understand when you read this that i was too scared to be honest even 10 years later. Also i don't feel like i fit into one specific label or category which means it gets confusing. I wasn't going to post this and i've typed and deleted this a million times but Oh encouraged me to post this because 'why hide who you are' and 'it just might help someone'. As far as i'm concerned i'm very happy in my current relationship those who need to know know and those who dont dont. But he has a point, its a part of me that i've hidden the past 8 years. So here we go.
I've always known i wasn't entirely straight. Growing up in a very judgmental family with a religious mum and homophobic stepdad was hell. I came out as bisexual (though sexuality is bloody confusing and its probably more like somewhere between bi and asexual- i feel attraction to both genders but very limited sexual attraction towards anyone, sexuality i think is somewhat fluid and a spectrum to some degree) to my friends and it soon spread round the school. Lots of 'friends' disowned me and people started calling me a 'freak' and a 'weirdo' or telling me 'just pick a side'. a close friend was also bisexual and i decided to tell my mum that to see how it she reacted. 'shes just confused' 'you cant like both' 'i don't want you hanging around with her and no you definitely cannot sleep at her house' 'your a sinner, shes a sinner, your just saying this because she is, shes a bad influence'. NO. i stopped then, hid it when i did get a girlfriend and pretty much kept it a secret. Then i met my wonderful (male) OH, he knew my sexuality and was always fully supportive. As it happened my bloody family disowned me anyway because they decided they didn't like the 6 year age gap and i must choose him or them. id had enough at this point and accepted the loss. i still don't have a single family member in my life from my own family. Then it got worse, 'oh it was just a phase then' people would say? no attraction to women didn't dissapear because i had a male partner but i'm happy in my relationship so i didn't feel like i had to justify or explain. I'm so lucky he loves me for me, entirely as i am, he knows i love him unconditionally too and we are both truly happy. His family knows too, he was always open with them from the start so i didn't have to and they were all 100% supportive, infact when a member of his family came out they told me first because they knew they could come to me. the experience with family and kids at school stuck with me though to the point that to support lgbt+ openly i felt like i had to hide behind ally and that feels like hiding a part of myself, oh is entirely right with that, i should just be myself. This feels like coming out for the second time and i have all the same nerves i had the first time. Again lgbt+ planning group i'm deeply ashamed of myself for hiding this from you.
I'm so glad you felt you could share on here and I know no one on here would ever judge anyone especially for their sexuality. I'm so sorry to hear your family hasn't been accepting. I am glad times are changing though and more people are accepting. I don't bat an eyelid if someone says they're gay, bisexual or trans etc. I only tend to not like people if they're nasty or not nice people in general.
 

Emx93

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Thankyou everyone, my family disowning me wasn't entirely sexuality related, they just never really liked me i don't think. we had a strained relationship my whole life. They had an on off relationship with us where they constantly picked faults with me or Sam or both of us up until around 2y ago when they just decided they never wanted to see or hear from us again. I always wonder why or what i did wrong but i have my own family now and i'm happy so what else matters. But i cant thank this forum enough for last night, for being welcoming and just a blooming lovely bunch of people :)
 

eileen

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it is very sad that people still have trouble accepting diversity.i do not judge people for there sexuality.you take the person you see as they are.i have been bullied at school....some one set fire to my hair ! i have friends who are gay ,transgender,but i really do not care what there orientation is ,just good friends. Thanks for sharing ,it must have taken alot of courage.
 

alpacasqueak

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it is very sad that people still have trouble accepting diversity.i do not judge people for there sexuality.you take the person you see as they are.i have been bullied at school....some one set fire to my hair ! i have friends who are gay ,transgender,but i really do not care what there orientation is ,just good friends. Thanks for sharing ,it must have taken alot of courage.
How horrible for you, I’m so sorry @eileen xx
 
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