There comes a time in a young gay mans life where he reaches the decision to ‘come out’ to his nearest and dearest. Its probably the scariest moment in that young gay mans’ entire life, yet every single gay person does it in some form and deals with it in an entirely different way.

I will never ever forget the first time my mum became ‘aware’ of my sexual persuasion – at the time I was staying with my grandparents on the south coast of England, in Folkestone, and my mum was back home in Nottingham.

She had just started a computer course and thought that while I was away, she would see if she could access her newly set-up hotmail account without my assistance.

At the time (can’t quite remember the exact year – 2001/2, maybe…), I was what you’d call obsessed with a certain boyband called ‘a1’.

a1
Mark (bottom-right), was my favourite
I have no idea why I was so obsessed, but I really fancied Mark (bottom-right in the above picture). I was on the fan’s website all the time – posting on the forum’s and things – and one day came across an address to write a letter to Mark himself, directly.

I was so excited I didn’t really know what to do with myself – but I composed a letter in which I expressed my deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings towards him and the band, including the incredibly naive line “If you respond to this letter please don’t mention that I’m gay as my mum doesn’t know and she may open the letter before me”.

I saved this letter on my desktop, entitled “Letter to Mark”. I never sent it but knew it was there, waiting to go. You can guess what happened.

There I was, hundreds of miles away, having a great time on holiday (as much as you CAN be on holiday in Folkestone anyway!), when I received a text from mum.

“Is there something you wanna tell me?”

I thought.. that’s a bit odd! What does she mean? I obviously replied questioning what she was on about, to which she replied:

“Letter to Mark? I opened it. Is there something you wanna tell me?”

And at that moment in my life, I will never ever forget the feeling of anxiety, nervousness, sickness and general shakey-ness I experienced. I felt physically sick and didn’t know what to do with myself.

I feel ashamed that for the next 5 or 6 years I completely denied that I was gay – told mum it was just a phase, ‘I thought I might be but i’m not’, anything I could think of to stop her asking questions about the details that I had written in that letter to Mark. She would have been fine with it, if I was gay, but when you’re that young you just want to close everyone out completely and try and deal with it yourself.

Then, in 2006, I did it.

I’ve said in a previous entry on this blog my intentions and reasoning for coming out in 2006 (well, coming out properly, anyway).

I was about to start work on a production of ‘The Price Is Right’, which would be filmed up in Manchester. I was 6 months into my new career in television (an industry which completely changed my life), and the rest of the guys on the production team were gay.

As I slowly become more and more comfortable with the person I was I thought to myself – “When we go out after work in Manchester, one of the biggest gay capital’s in the UK, all the gay guys will go off in a group together, all the girls will go off in a group together – and I will be left on my own!” This, seriously, was the thought that made me come out.

That evening, on my commute back to Folkestone (in order to work in TV in London I moved in with my grandparents for a while so I could establish myself a bit), I decided to bite the bullet.

Now I guess I chickened out a little bit, as I did it via text – but I seriously could not have spoken out the words over the phone to people. The first person I texted was Tim, the Floor Manager on the show. I shall never forget his response – it was short, sweet, simple and so enveloping with warmth and love – no shock, no awe, just simply “Welcome to the fold”.

This opened the floodgates and I told my mum, aunties, friends and colleagues. Not one person texted back with disgust, shock or distain. My mum, of course after the earlier events in my life, already knew. As did my aunties, which kind of took the shine off the whole thing a little bit – but I guess it was still a lovely feeling.

There were two people I didn’t tell for another year or so, and that was my Grandma and Grandad. I have no idea why, but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them whilst I was living with them. My Grandma – and I know this sounds weird – was my father figure. Back at home when I was little, my mum would be out at work and my Grandma would always be the one to pick me up from school, I’d spend my school holidays there, and we’d do everything together. I was scared that because of her age she may not have the same reaction as everyone else in my life. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. When I eventually did tell her, she just said “I will always love you no matter what”.

For some reason, writing that line from my Grandma has brought tears to my eyes (she passed away in 2008, aged 68), but she was and always will be one of the loves in my life.

So there’s my coming out story – not particularly exciting or anything – but for anyone out there who may be in the same position as I had been – please do not feel like you are alone, or that when you reveal who you are the people you love will discard you, because nothing could be further from the truth. Being gay is not a choice, you are born with it. You can’t learn it from anyone or be preached to about becoming gay. If someone asks you “How long have you known you were gay?” Simply reply and ask them “How long have you known you were straight?”.

Much Love. xxx

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Written by Jay

I'm a 30 year old PR Exec, engaged to my boyfriend of 10 years and dad to a staffie called Loui.

18 comments

  1. wow great post. thankfully when i came out i got the responce of “Sean, I kind of already knew but wasn’t totally certain about it” off my dad, so that was easy, plus i was really off my face from a night out.

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  2. What a great post!! It means a lot to read other stories shared by so many young gay men. Coming out is the hardest part but in order to be happy you just have to take that step. Your story was a great one and I hope it inspires more young men to come out and accept themselves. I too got the “Honey, I already knew” response, Thanks Jay!

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  3. Jay,

    That was a very touching story. I must say my “coming out” story was much like yours. I had written a letter to my mother on the pc, & had planned to give it to her while my cousin and I were on holiday. However she found it a few days before we were to leave. She wrote me a letter and left it on my bed. I read it late at night when i got home from work. I remember feeling all the same things you felt. I was scared. However her letter was not the kindest. To sum it up she basically said she would not have a gay son and that could not have one living under her roof.

    I did not know what to do. I came home every day after work went right to my room and closed the door. We did not speak for about a week. Then she came into my room one night and said “we need to talk” then things went from bad to worse as we argued and she insisted it was a phase and I was confused and I could be fixed. The next day I packed my things and moved out at the age of 18 I was on my own. That was a very rough time in my life so I can only imagine how it was for you to try and deny it for as long as you did. That must have been very tough.

    Fast forward a few years and me and my mom are all ok with each other now she loves me and accepts me for who I am as do the rest of my family. I only just recently found out that my grandfather knows. Something my mother had neglected to tell me all this time.

    Topher.

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  4. Haha, Jay – totally remember this when it happened. In the morning on the train to Manchester you were sitting next to me reading Nuts (or was it Zoo?) magazine. Then on the way home I pointed out a fittie at a station, but didn’t think much of it.

    Low and behold a few hours later I get the text saying “yeah, I kinda agreed with you about the hottie”. Haha – good times, eh Jay!

    James x

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  5. I had a similar story, which basically involved my dad reading my diary – well, a book i wrote my thoughts in. “is there something you want to tell me” is a phrase that’s haunted me ever since…

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  6. you had a very lucky comming out story not everyones is that easy even in this day an age people still struggle to come to terms with there sexuality and when they do they can be met by disgust and lack of understanding. When you have your dad say he’ll disown you if you come out what choice but do you have but live a lie.
    BEST.

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    1. To be honest I think if your Dad says ‘if you come out I’ll disown you’ then he pretty much deep down already knows that you’re gay, and just doesn’t know how to deal with it.

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  7. lovely story Jay…. made me cry reading the bit about your gran, mine was the same she said she loves me whatever!! we are lucky guys my whole family are cool with it and my mum says she always knew despite me getting married and having two kids!!!!

    x x

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  8. Great to read Jay, I can recall a lot of those feelings myself.

    I came out to my parents last April. We were all together in the kitchen, I just went with ‘There’s something I need to tell you… I’m gay’, hardest thing I’ve ever had to say. It gave my mum the shock and disappointment of her life. At first all I got from her was insults, but luckily I had revealed all on facebook, which was soon seen by my cousin and after a lot of bullying from aunty, she came round to it. My aunty reaction was; ‘It was something we used to discuss around the table at dinner’. Which did leave me surprised!

    Over Christmas mum has had a few too many and said a few things, but I tend to dismiss that.

    My dad has never discussed it with me, and it made me all the more angry as I found out he had already known from at least a year before as my sister’s boyfriend had let it slip. However we seem to be getting on better than ever nevertheless, subject avoided.

    I had told my sister 3 years before that, her reaction was ‘I’m not surprised!’ 😀

    Aidy x

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  9. It’s a big step for anyone.

    I didn’t come out until my mid-20’s, ten years ago. My friends were great, my brother and my sister-in-law were fine with it. Mum took a little while to get round to the idea that it was okay, but she did.

    No matter how, or when, you do it, it’s an important part of a gay man or woman’s life. It’s different for everyone. To anyone that’s considering coming out, you have my very best wishes.

    Pete

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  10. Wow what a great post, the part where your mum opened the letter on your computer… aaargh!

    I suppose I should get on with it myself, but… what a cringe!

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  11. It’s a great story, thanks for sharing 🙂 You’ve given some great advice, I’m going to bookmark this to return to!

    I never formally came out, my family always ‘just knew’! It’s never been discussed – I mean, boyfriends are talked about, they’ve met many of them, even my baby nieces ask about my boyfriend(!) but I’ve never been asked “When did you know?” or anything awkward.

    I felt a little angry that your mother texted you the question she did though! I’d like to think that if someone had found out about me, then they’d just keep the knowledge and make it clear they would love me no matter what, so I felt comfortable telling them. Trying to force it out of someone will likely scare them out of it.

    Caspar

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  12. Jay,

    Not sure how long you have been following me on twitter, but at the ripe old age of 38 I finally came out to my family over the holidays. While I was out so to speak in a lot of areas of my life, I was not out to any of my family or to most people at work. It has been eating away at me more and more for the last year that ultimately I was not being true to myself, nor was I truly being fair to my family and friends. In the end all was good, they all still love me and support me, and I feel like a huge rock has been lifted of my shoulders. There have been a couple of bad reactions from people, but hey I now realise that that’s their issue not mine.

    I also now feel like a bit of a git for not doing it WAY earlier, but we all have different reasons I suppose. For me it started with a bad first experience with my best friend were he basically pretended it didn’t happen and never spoke to me again. I freaked out and thought that it must be me, that there was something wrong with me and that if I denied it and didn’t do anything more about it it wasn’t true. I didn’t do anything about it again until I was 28 and also slept with women in the belief that if I was having sex with them the I wasn’t gay. The longer I felt it the harder it become to ever thing out coming out.

    Towards the end of last year I came to realise that I just had to do it and trust that family would stick by me because they loved my and that my true friends would still be there. While I was very anxious about it and put it off a number of times in the end if it wasn’t now it was never going to happen.

    I also have to say that one of the best things I did was talk to a number of close contacts I made on twitter who have become what I consider real friends. Their support, encouragement, openness, willingness to be there, to share their own experiences, to listen to me no matter how I went on about it was a big help. And also, the more I talk about it now the happier I feel. Amy now a very happy gay Aussie 🙂

    I’ve think prattled on enough – sorry.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

    Greg.

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  13. Fantastic story – glad to see the reactions you got were so positive. Although my “journey” was different from the yours I never suffered from any adverse comments or feedback and think myself very fortunate.

    I bet you feel even better for putting it all down “on paper”. It’s great to get it out as we carry these stories around with us. Mine was emotional when I “extracted” the story like yours was but it’s all part of rhe process.

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  14. Great blog entry – always great to read a positive coming out story. In fact, VERY FEW are negative.

    I was going to write a blog entry this week as another blogger came out last week and I was going to comment on it. I may well mention you if that’s OK?

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