I’ve got a story I’d like to share…

Today is National Coming Out Day. From those six words, you’ve probably pretty much grasped what this article is going to be about. I’d like to share my story with you, which will hopefully enable me to live my life to the full, without worrying that someone might find out…


COMING OUT…

…is different for everyone. My story is totally unique – there aren’t really many clichés when it comes to people coming out (that I’m aware of). There’s also (in my opinion) never a ‘right’ time to do it. The moment will just arise at some point, and once you’ve told one person, telling the next one, and the one after that, gets easier and easier.

For me, the moment was at about 11pm on Sunday 10th July 2016. “‘Twas the night before…” well, my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition. I never thought I would come out as gay in a Youth Hostel on Dartmoor, but as I said, the moment arose, and I seized the opportunity. The first people to find out were my DofE group. In fact, when it came to it, I was actually incapable of uttering the two words, “I’m gay.”

The previous night, we’d started to delve deep into discussion – very deep. It was the first time I’d really opened up to anyone, and I’ll be eternally grateful to the four people who set up that safe environment that I could trust. At the end of this DMC (for the uneducated: Deep, meaningful conversation), in true broadcaster-style, I ‘trailed’ the next night’s DMC, asking my companions to try and guess what the “something important” was that I wanted to tell them.

The next night, the usual light conversation had ended, and I was still sat on the side of my bunk. I was about to start speaking when there was a knock at the door and another DofE group from our school came in, and started a conversation. The only detail I remember from that conversation is that there was a reference to the smell of the room – apparently it was quite weird! I expect that the reason I don’t remember much of the conversation is that I was physically shaking for the entire duration of that little conversation…in many ways, they were the most nerve-wracking few minutes of my life.

It was noticed that I was still sat on the side of my bunk, and I reminded the group of my challenge to guess the thing I was going to say next. After a period of awkward silence & reluctance, I heard the four words which still make me feel a fuzzy warmth inside…

“SeB, are you gay?”

Obviously, I responded positively, or else I would not be writing this right now…

Having told my friends, I spent the next day planning how to come out to my family, and rang my Mum in the evening.

I never really worried about being accepted – my parents have always made it clear that being gay is okay, and I wasn’t worried about being accepted by my friends – it’s 2016. Being gay – in my society – isn’t a problem. Having said this, I know I’m very fortunate to have this privilege, and it’s something to which not everyone can relate…


BEING RELATIVELY OPENLY GAY…

…is quite liberating.

It’s a lot easier to come out to people you’ve just met than people you’ve got to know well, and people who have therefore got to know you quite well, assuming you’re straight. I sometimes wish everyone needed to come out, regardless of their sexuality. Surely, if society never assumed that anyone was straight, coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual would be much easier. The same could be (and has been, I think) said about gender, but I’m not going to comment on that, because I don’t really know enough about it without doing research, and after all, this is supposed to be my story…

Anyway, I digress…

Soon after coming out, I went on a Scouting event where I got to know quite a few people, and pretty quickly. I made the decision after about 20 hours that I was going to try and be openly gay for the duration of the event. I didn’t go around flirting with every guy I saw, and I didn’t tell everyone I spoke to, but I felt no pressure to fit in, and felt able to speak my mind – frankly. There’s one discussion that sticks in my mind; a discussion about international politics and political campaigns. Being the pedant that I am, I was a bit offended when someone listed ‘LGBT’ as a political campaign. Of course, what they meant to say was ‘LGBT Pride’, and the person tried to argue that nobody would be offended by it. I disagreed:

“I wouldn’t describe the fact that I’m gay as a political campaign”

I don’t think that I’d told that person I was gay. They retreated rapidly!

The point of me mentioning this is that if I wasn’t ‘out’, I wouldn’t have been able to argue this point.

NOTHING MUCH CHANGES…

I’m still the slightly odd, radio obsessed pedant. I just happen to be gay. In light of my radio obsession, I urge you to read Scott Mills’ ‘coming out’ article from 2001 – my stance is pretty similar.

Thanks for reading this – it’s very much appreciated and I hope it’ll help me to be myself. The main reason for me writing this is so that I don’t need to worry about sharing stuff on social media or saying something in public which would reveal my sexuality.

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