Sometimes I let my jealousy blind me from that fact. Most of the time I only say it with a thumbs up. But a like on Facebook can never capture my joy and gratitude like words do. So here’s what I want to say.
Yes! You’ve graduated! I am incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved and how you persevered through the self-doubt. And you look awesome in a gown, please wear one everyday.
Congratulations on your new job! They picked the perfect candidate. Your new colleagues must make room in the office for the oodles of joy coming their way.
Please send me the recipe for that cake. Or make it again just for me. It looks incredible, how did you do it?
The words of your blog went straight to my soul. Just one suggestion, put ‘warning: may cause goosebumps and tears’ at the start.
You are a great parent. The utterly sacrificial love for your family is humbling and inspiring.
Your smile is beautiful. It’s contagious, now I’m smiling.
Thank you for being honest. I feel the same and it’s empowering to know I’m not alone.
I wish I had been there to see the show! Your talent and creativity is ridiculous. Thank you for sharing that passion with everyone.
You’re engaged! Congratulations! What Disney song do you want me to sing at the reception?
I am so happy for you. You are winning at life because you’re waking up everyday. I love being your friend and am so grateful for the encouragement and kindness you show me without even realising. I’m already excited for next time I see you.
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 YOU SAY!
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 me?
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 sentence.
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.