Coming Out is a different story for every single person. Some have joy, some have sorrow but most have relief.
I remember before I came out (I was in a relationship with a guy for 2 years at that point) I was petrified about outing myself. I thought lightening would crack me down, the ground would swallow me up. I worried that I’d haemorrhage friends like cash out of an Icelandic bank and that somehow every plan I had ever made for my future would suddenly become null and void. I was, however, aching to be free of this self-incarceration. I wanted to talk gay things, I wanted to talk about my relationship, I wanted to be myself – which when you’re bound by your own inhibitions is a crippling impossibility. I felt I had no voice.
Plucking up courage and with 2 bottles of wine inside me (okay it was cheaper than wine – I was at university – so it’s excusable). I decided to come out to a friend,
“Yes dear, we know, the whole university knows…” was the numbed response in-between smoking his Marlboro lights. I couldn’t believe it.
“Really?” I said,
“Yes, now pass more Lambrini!”
So that was it. No lightening, no earth shattering and miraculously I hadn’t become a social pariah overnight. The next day, I felt open, more relaxed, I was easier.
I am lucky because of my set of circumstances: the university course I was on, the city I live in, the country I was born. It’s easier than ever to be gay in the UK and I never take that for granted. We don’t live in a country were our very existence is abhorrent to the society at large. You won’t be stoned, put too death or spend a life-time in prison for being gay – and for that we should be proud.
You may feel that people won’t understand, that your family will disown you and that the world will disappear down the toilet if you decide to come out, but more likely you’ll get a shrug of the shoulders and a:
“If you’re happy, we’re happy…”
You don’t need to come out in a huge explosion of confetti, glitter and gold lamé, you don’t need Liza Minnelli to attend the after party, you don’t even need to tell everybody, but coming out, I believe, is one of the most important civilisation changers we can do. It’s only because of our gay forefathers’ campaigning that we enjoy the civil freedoms we have today and they achieved that by coming out and having a public voice. You see coming out gives us a voice. It gives You a voice.
Drunkenly or otherwise, I gave myself a voice 12 years ago when I came out in that dorm room. A voice that I have never regretted.
This month is dedicated to Coming Out and new beginnings. We’re asking for your stories and your contributions. Visit www.thehub.thegayuk.com if you want to share your story.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.