When I told my Mum I was gay, I was nervous but not fearful. My
brother had already come out four years earlier so I had the luxury of knowing
my family would love me just as before.
But even when you know people will accept the news, you don’t know
what they’ll say in that moment – and neither do they. Here’s some of the responses I’ve received
over the last five years (slightly paraphrased, with names changed).
Mum: ‘That was an unusual
place to tell me’
There’s no ‘13 Best Places To Come Out To Your Mom’ article on
Buzzfeed. I did it in the cemetery, next to my Dad’s tombstone, because I
wanted to tell him too.
My brother told me by email. James broadcast it on MySpace. Eric
told me before a night out. I’ve realised the obvious: the best place to come
out to someone is the one you choose. To
the friends I told off for coming out ‘in the wrong way’, I am sorry. I was
insensitive and petty. I know you thought about how to say it.
My friend Zac doesn’t say much. When I came out to him, he just
giggled. But that’s Zac, with his standard ‘I don’t know what to say so I’ll
just laugh’ response. Later that day, he apologised for laughing in my face,
even though he couldn’t help it.
Robin: SORRY?! WHAT DID
When your friend is hard of hearing at the best of times, don’t tell
him in a crowded chicken shop at the end of a night out.
Steve: I have a girlfriend
Some guys translate ‘I’m gay’ to mean ‘I fancy every straight guy,
especially you and I will turn you gay so we can be boyfriends’. Their blunt, defensive reaction struck me as homophobic and self-conceited. How do I challenge that? By being open and firm in my identity.
John: Why are you telling
Most people didn’t care I was gay and some friends didn’t care about
me telling them either. It took me five years to be sure and comfortable saying
‘I’m gay’. It was a big milestone that I wanted endorsement and encouragement
for. My sexuality is not important.
Telling you who I am is.
I’m gay… I think I should go to a more inclusive church
Andrew: You won’t find a
Church of England church that supports same sex marriage
I was in Wetherspoons with a trainee vicar, having a quick curry. I
didn’t want all the answers on faith and sexuality. I didn’t want him to tell
me same-sex relationships are OK if he didn’t believe it. But I didn’t expect the
immense diversity of our national church to be brushed aside in a single
New message to Josh: I’m gay
*Silence* No reply.
I bumped into Josh at West Ham station and wanted to tell him
instantly, by which time he was on the opposite platform, so I BBM’d him, and
then lost my signal on the Jubilee Line.
Telling people by text or Facebook chat is a torturous way to do it.
You sacrifice control, as your message hangs around in cyberspace, begging to
be read. Then you don’t know who else might read it or if they really mean what
they text back. And sometimes the reply never came.
The silence is deafening
and makes you retreat from telling other people. Say something.
Whenever I talk about being gay on Facebook, I’m surprised and
overwhelmed by the likes and the messages of love from people who perhaps don’t
realise I’ve been gay and proud for five years now. But it’s drummed home this
point to me; whenever and however someone comes out to you, be it directly or
on their social network, your encouragement is always awesome and appreciated.
How do you know what to say? Well there was another trainee vicar I
came out to, this time on the phone. I still barely know her and I don’t know her
views on faith and sexuality, but her response was perfect for any situation.
Thank you for telling me.
RUComingOut is a fantastic website with hundreds of personal, diverse coming out stories.
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