Celebrate the first day of feeling free and coming out.
National Coming Out Day is on Sunday October 11th and to celebrate I have designed a series of cards to help make the process fun and make it more lighthearted. It also made me think out my experience and even though I realise it isn’t particularly Hollyoaks and I’m not a celebrity or gym fit guy, I enjoyed discovering my old diaries and writing my story.
Back in the 90’s when I was 9, Clarissa was Explaining It All and the pink electronic Dear Diary toy for girls were big, so I decided to start writing my own diary. I kept writing until I was 21 and forgot about them until recently. Reading them back reminded me of a life I completely forgot or blocked out prior to coming out to my friends and family.
Until I started my GCSE’s all seemed fine, the most exciting entries before were along the lines of my sister not liking her omelet or loving hedgehogs. But then more and more I started to write about hating myself, hating my life and feeling lonely. The older I got the more I grew apart from my friends and the more time I spent at home on my own, worrying about who I was. I had always felt different from everyone else, I just always felt like I could hide it and will myself to change.
When I was 18 I first wrote in my diary and told myself that I was gay. Reading it back I felt like I was there again, wanting to be like everyone else and to have a family and life with a girl. I knew even then I shouldn’t feel guilty about being gay though. I just didn’t know how to deal with it or ever bring it up in conversation to get advice from anyone.
For a year and a half I didn’t tell anyone, even though I knew who I was. My diary entries became even more lonely and worrying about the future. On May 25th 2007 I told my best friend Becky I was gay. I was too scared to even say the word gay, so I gave her a letter. We didn’t really talk about it, she hugged me and we got on with our day. I told myself the hardest part was done. It wasn’t a secret only I had now and I realised being out as gay to someone hadn’t instantly changed my friendship like I worried.
Two months later I told my Mum. Writing a letter had worked out so I wrote one again. Once it was written I knew I couldn’t bottle out. Asking her if we could talk didn’t get a great reaction alone, my family all love each other but we find it easier not to say it out loud much. When I did give her the letter she screwed it up and gave it back, saying it was my choice and that she didn’t know what to say, as she had never been in this situation before. I knew it could have been worse and put it down to shock.
After then we didn’t speak about it ever. It made things go back to normal. I was going to Uni that year so I knew it was off my chest and with a new group of people I could just be me, without the fear of my parents finding out. My Mum even met a guy I was seeing while at uni and realised that being gay didn’t mean I would change or that other gay people were what she had imagined or that are represented in the media.
“From the moment I came out, everything did get better. I met amazing people, went to amazing places and was loving being myself.”
From the moment I came out, everything did get better. I met amazing people, went to amazing places and was loving being myself. Now, 8 years after I came out I have Adam. I know I have met the person I want to grow old with and am setting up my own shop with him which I never thought I would have the confidence to do. I have a great relationship with my Mum and all my family which was always my main worry. If my younger self saw me now he would think I was ‘pretty gay’ and cringed to death. Now whatever I do I’m proud about about and even more importantly I’m happy I’m pretty gay.
Mine and Adams work at 11 Rugby Road is currently at The Fishing Quarter pop-up gallery and at our flat for the Christmas Artist Open Houses. The coming out cards are available from our website 11RugbyRoad.com. They are available blank inside just waiting for your story.