Saturday, 15 March 2008

Why come out now?

So, I'm going through a process of telling people about my sexuality. But, I hear you cry, why now? And why not before? These are my top ten reasons, in no particular order:
  1. I didn't want to be this way! I didn't think there was anything wrong with me, but on the inside while growing up I really hoped that I would end up the same as everyone else. Because everyone at school was straight (though, as I later found, out not quite everyone) I not just felt different, I thought I was different. It’s taken a long time to realise I’m not.
  2. I grew up amongst some of the most wonderful people I've ever met, and that I'm still proud to call my friends. But when aged 14, 15, 16 I was not ready to come to terms with who I am, and talk to them about it. After a while it became harder and harder to be honest. So I never moved forward. But my friends have become more and more important to me over the years and now I know it’s wrong not to tell them.
  3. I still had sex anyway! As it turns out there were a couple of guys at school that I could at least fool around with, and then my first job, friends of friends etc. Nothing heavy, but some fun, even if I still needed to be ultra-discreet. Then, of course, was university, second job, third job, etc. Fine, fine booty to be had without the world finding out!! Though I think if I'd been more open, there would have been much more sex. Oh, well.
  4. I've had a couple of serious relationships with women that mean the world to me. I don't want them to think for a moment that the times we shared were lies. They weren't. They were committed relationships that could have lasted forever, and are still a hugely important part of my life and who I am. I'm not 100%-anything, and I felt that coming out would close as many doors as it would open. I now realise I should be proud of who I am and who I’m with, whatever the future holds.
  5. My family, I thought, would never accept this part of who I am. Some friends encouraged me to have an open mind and be more hopeful, but at best I thought they'd react like I told them I had some terrible illness that needs to be accommodated but somehow makes me less than what I was before. At worst I’ll be completely abandoned. Part of the reason I've taken so long to come out is that I’ve needed come to terms with that risk (and I still haven't told anyone in my family, by the way!).
  6. Being quite shy and introverted anyway it just took longer to appreciate I am who I am because I couldn't talk about it. There was no internet back then, and no real place to go to get help. I couldn't imagine a scenario when I could come out, so I convinced myself it was no-one else’s business anyway.
  7. Some people always knew. Presumably my lovers fathomed it out! Occasionally I told a friend or colleague in some drunken moment, though that never really worked out for me. As I moved about, met new people, it just became easier not to deny it; If I’d denied it to a neighbour of mine, he’d never have introduced me to Darren, and…
  8. As I got older I met more and more people who were openly gay and bisexual. Essentially, I saw it could work; I saw that it was normal; I saw that other people weren't bothered; I saw they were having fun. I was damned jealous. I also realised I wasn’t really being honest with myself in two different ways; pretending to be something I'm not and then denying myself all these opportunities. Not a recipe for happiness!
  9. About 10 years ago I was sexually assaulted. I reported it to the police, and I dealt with this WPC who was really fantastic and supportive throughout the whole process. But essentially the defence was "he's gay so he wanted it" and the response seemed to be "oh, well... that's OK then". That didn't exactly help my 'personal development', and while I'm rational enough to understand that doesn't make me, my sexuality, or that of others a bad thing... well, I was very badly fucked-up by it and I spent a lot of time wishing I wasn't me. And of course because people didn't know about my sexuality I was stuck without anyone I could really talk to about it.
  10. I'm with someone who makes me happy, and I'm totally infatuated. I never dreamt I would feel this way and I don't want to hide my relationship. I want everyone I know to know how fantastic my guy is, and how (and why) the sheer wonderfulness of it all makes me grin like an idiot the whole day long.

Telling people and being honest has been one of the most liberating and positive things I’ve ever done, and I wish I’d done it sooner. I’m much more extrovert, open to new ideas, and consistently happy with my life than ever before. I really am hopeful for the future and if anyone reading this is thinking about/worried about coming out then please use the links availalble to help you, or get in touch.

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