This week is National Coming Out Week, which revolves around National Coming Out Day- the 11th of October. This day acknowledges and marks the anniversary of The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which is also known as The Great March for its profound scale and impact. Whilst the day was historically one which people used to come out, it is now more symbolically significant; a time for reflection on experiences of coming out and what it means to come out. As part of this week, our anonymous author shares their own coming out story.
Coming out is something that every queer person will have to do in some way at some point in their life. October 11th marks National Coming Out Day and October is a month where I mark the anniversary of my coming out. The process and experiences of individuals are many and varied and I do not want to speak for everyone at any point during this article. I will give my experience of coming out and share the things that I have experienced over the last 9 years since I openly said that I was gay. My story is pretty much all positive; I have had an incredibly supportive family and haven’t really suffered any instances of homophobia since I came out, or at least, none that stick in my mind.
Like many, my coming out story has two parts: both pretty dull and nothing out of the ordinary. I first came out to my friends and then a few months later to my family, or more accurately, to my mum, and then her inability to keep anything to herself did the rest for me.
I first came out to one of my friends at a house party, why I chose this night I do not recall, however, after a certain amount of cheap Malibu sneaked away from home, anything is possible. I decided to take one of my friends to one side and simply say, “I like boys”. She then nodded, turned, and announced it to the room. Whilst some may find this disrespectful I actually found it a blessing. In one sweeping gesture, everyone knew and what was in my mind a revelation was met with shrugs and nods and the night continued.
A few months later, I came out to my mum. I didn’t really come out of the closet but rather I tripped over my own feet and fell out face-first. I was introduced to a guy in the usual “I have a gay friend you two should get together by virtue of you both being gay” way. One morning I came down in typical teenage fashion to collect my work shirt from my mum who noticed a small mark on my neck. I froze and could feel my lungs in my throat. In my mind this was a now or never moment so I decided to tell her that a boy did it. Thinking about it now, despite looking slightly like a deer in the headlights, she simply handed me my shirt and drove me to work, asking several times on the way “so you don’t like women, you like men?” to which I simply replied “yes”. My biggest concern was telling my dad, a bouncer and ex-body builder but fortunately for me, my mum beat me to it and told everyone. Again, personally having one person tell all my family was a good thing. It meant not having to have several conversations, prior to which I would’ve worried and freaked out over what actually wasn’t a big deal to anyone. Quite happily, I left work to find very supportive texts from my aunty, uncle, step-mum and a call from my nan saying she loves me but isn’t quite ready to meet a boyfriend yet.
The part that I built up in my head to be some apocalyptic event; the first time seeing my dad after coming out, actually turned out to be nothing out of the ordinary. We sat down and he said he loved me and that he had always suspected. He may not have been super PC in his choice of certain words but I knew everything was all-good. My mum took a day or two to get used to what she considered a revelation (although the rest of my family saw it coming a long way off) but after that she was just as kind and supportive as the rest of them.
I think the thing that sticks in my mind most about coming out is that people can surprise you; sometimes the person you think will cast you out and be horrified is actually the person who takes it the best.
So that’s the story of my coming out- pretty boring, but to be honest, that’s one of the best things about it.
This article was produced in collaboration with SAINTS LGBT+ for National Coming Out Week.