My 'coming out' gay holiday
How did you 'come out'?
I was 22 when I came out, my mates all had girlfriends and even I had two heterosexual relationships, as society predetermined that we were all straight.
I recall many nights lying in my bed fearing how my entire friendship circle, family and colleagues would all turn against me when I decided to out myself.
The first person I came out to was my best friend Dean.
I think he could see something was wrong when I started not being myself, and after one night's party, turned to me and said four words to me "It's OK, I know".
I was initially shocked as I never expected him saying something but that moment changed my life instantly. It was the first person that I acknowledged being gay to and there was no going back.
Soon thereafter I decided to start taking the next steps of telling more friends and more importantly, my family. I called it "my coming out holiday".
I took a few weeks leave to see my family around the country and tell them face-to-face. I prepositioned them all by saying I would be seeing them soon as there is something important I need to discuss them.
Things went well initially, that was until the time had come where I had to tell my folks, who were divorced.
Being relatively close to my mother, I thought she would accept it relatively easily. It was my father that I was worried about. I was so wrong.
After sitting down with my mother and telling her, she became quite cold and hurtful. The words: "The thought of two men together sexually, repulses her!" still reverberates in my mind and it's something I can never forget.
I battled to understand why she was responding this way, as I thought she had always known. When I asked her about this later, she said knowing and suspecting were two very different things. I suppose in hindsight, that meant she had to deal with it too, much like I had to.
After a few months, the relationship became more estranged and we then did not speak for nine years.
We tried to make amends before my sister's wedding, but a lot of time had passed and we no longer have any form of relationship.
My father was the exact opposite. I recall sitting in the garden being absolutely terrified to tell him, and me thinking he would ask me to leave immediately.
This never happened. His first words were that he loved me and nothing would change.
These were the words my heart and soul had been longing to hear all those closeted years. He was amazing and I finally felt OK; the huge weight on my shoulders had been lifted.
After the chat I walked back to the house and realised my father was no longer walking besides me.
I turned around and saw my father kneeling on one knee. I walked back to him and he was crying. I asked him not to cry as it would make me cry, and he placed his hand on my leg and said everything was going to be OK.
My relationship with my father could not be better, in fact, due to my parents' divorce we were never close, so something good came from this all.
My sister, brother, stepbrother and stepsister have all been amazing.
I carry that love and warmth with me and try (although this can be very difficult at times) to ignore the hurt and pain associated with my mother.
I live by this mantra when it comes to me being gay: There is more than enough space in the sun for everyone!
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