It amazes me that ‘coming out’ is still deemed necessary in todays modern world. But unfortunately, many young people have to still endure the terrifying prospect of ‘coming out’ to their loved ones. I also would like to point out that coming out is not just one conversation. It’s not one momentous occasion. The LGBTQ+ community have to come out almost every single day.
For this weeks Generation Z Series, we have Stuart. Who explains what happened when he began coming out at the age of 14..
“I started to come out as gay when I was 14 years old, but knew I was gay at the age of 11. In those 3 years my mind went over every gory detail of coming out to my family. It went from acceptance all the way through to being killed and everything in between. My fears were misplaced and I could not have wished for a better family to come out to.
‘You know if you have anything to tell me, anything at all you can confide in me?’ This is the line I heard practically every day, sometimes twice as day from my mother for over a year. See, she knew I was gay from when I was 7 years old. Apparently I had the exact mannerisms as my cousin who later came out himself. After what felt like a lifetime of asking, I finally plucked up the nerve to come out to my mum. Safe to say that I wanted to come out loud and proud and sit her down to have a heart to heart. Well… that didn’t happen, I sent her a text. At the time I thought it was an excellent strategic move to send her the text while she was having a bath. After typing out the text for over 10 minutes, re-reading it again and again, I heard the bathroom door lock and then..I sent the text to her.
The next 10 minutes were full of anxiety and I was tempted to run downstairs and delete the text off her phone but I resisted. The next thing I hear is the bathroom door unlock my mum going to her phone and then walking up stairs to me and giving me a huge hug. At this point I was an emotional wreck as the hug was a sign of acceptance which was not at the top of my mental list of outcomes. After a lengthy chat with her about how she knew for years and how she has being trying to coax it out of me for a while. My mum asked me if she was able to tell the rest of the family, which I was a bit apprehensive about at first, finally I did agree as I thought that would be easier for me.
The next few weeks were a bit of a blur. All of my immediate family were very supportive of me and suggested that I tell my best friend at the time, Michael. When I went into school the next day I did just that, at first he looked worried that I was going to pounce on him any second but he accepted me for who I was. I hate to say it but I did lose a fair few of my ‘friends’ at the time. At the time it felt like a betrayal but I soon came to understand their opinion and accept that they just could not comprehend my sexuality.
The last two years of school went by without any real hiccups. Before coming out I was bullied rather a lot. But after I came out, it was completely unexpected how I would be treated. Most of the girls at the school thought as a gay, I was their best friend and confidant. Which I loved at the time as I could be who I wanted and have a good old chin wag with the girls. The guys didn’t really bother me anymore with bullying, there were a few one off days where someone would have a verbal dig or punch me, but I didn’t let it bother me. Whenever this happened the girls would rally and give whoever it was a few choice words, well I like to think that what they said stopped them. I think it was more to do with the fact that they didn’t have any control over me and I didn’t stoop to their level and retaliate. It’s been a few years since leaving school and I have attended college and university and now have a full time job. Since school I’ve had no incidents where my sexuality has caused me any issues and most people are generally accepting.
I am not naïve enough to think that everyone is OK with my sexuality. There are a lot of people out there whether it be personal or religious opinion don’t agree with my sexuality, and I am fine with this as everyone can have their own opinion. I just hope in time the world will accept people for who they are as an individual, and not base their view on that person’s sexual preference.”