Paul Madden, Outreach Worker. Southern Gay Men’s Health Project. February 2006.
The process of coming out is what you make it and can depend on the situation. You may stand in the middle of your campus and scream “I’m gay!”, you may tell friends or colleagues out of the blue or you may just let it come out naturally in conversation, “Yeah, that concert was excellent – my boyfriend/girlfriend managed to get tickets”. Often, the subtle approach is to be recommended: you may find that if you don’t make being it an issue, it won’t be one. You may experience positive as well as negative reactions when you do come out. I hope my story which follows may be of inspiration or enlightenment for you in whatever situation you may be in.
My coming out story……..
Well lets see, about year ago (at the time of writing, April 2006) I decided enough was enough and decided to come out as a gay man, considering I knew I always liked guys and the whole dating girl thing wasn’t working for me. I did at first come out as bisexual, but it didn’t last which did confuse people but it was a safe period for me. I was really down over living a lie. Having known Diarmuid Angland since November 2004, he told me at the International Relations Society AGM that he got elected Auditor of UCC LGBT; this led me thinking to “Oh my God, he’s gay and I didn’t even notice!”
I knew the LGB had existed having lurked on Q-Board for a bit before starting posting. So I met up with a few of the lads for lunch after Easter Wil, Bryan, Ger and Ken and they made me feel so comfortable about who I was. I went to Instinct for the first time that week and Freakscene and I’ve been going there every week since.
That was the coming out to myself next was friends, workmates and *gulp* the family. Well coming out at work wasn’t as hard as I’d expected. I had a questionable mark on my neck from my first night out, and one of the lads, Gary asked me “who was she and do I know her?”. My mind was racing what do I do, what do I say. So here it went *gulp* “It wasn’t a she…..” not even a awkward silence later he asked again “okay who was he and do I know him?”. The fact there was no change in tone or attitude made me again feel so comfortable and accepted. Most of my workmates had already guessed that I was gay so it was easy to confirm it for them.
Then I decided to come out to my friends. In college once I came out it flew around my class as I have a small tight knit class, everyone was really supportive and it was great. Next came the coming out to my friends that I went to school with. I told one of my friends, Colin and he was okay and about and then I told another, Bryan and he was okay about it too. The thing was neither knew the other knew and we were discussing the Michael Jackson case and Colin exclaimed “he’s gay and should be shot!”, poor Bryan nearly died as he thought “god how is Steve goanna come out to him now” but we had a great laugh when they realised they both knew.
Next came the family, so I decided to tell my parents after work one night, having already told my sister who was very supportive of me and was texting me as I told my parents and having a lot of encouragement from friends and work colleagues. So I was making my dinner when my mother came out to chat. I told her sit down as I had something to tell her, I’m sure to this day that she thought I was going to tell her that I got a girl pregnant or something. So I blurted it out “I’m Gay” She sat there stunned and replied “okay that’s one to spring on me, but I love you”. So she sent my dad to bed so we could chat and after a serious talk and her crying we were all good. She told me not to tell my dad as he wasn’t feeling the best.
So the next night I got a text telling me she had told my Dad and he was okay with it. So I went home to find my Nan after one sherry too many as she thought the pope was dead. So after dinner and walking her home my Dad said “if you were that way, your room would be tidier” this was really hurtful as my Dad was always telling us not to believe in stereotypes and here he was spouting one out.
Since then with a lot of work and love my parents still love me and I am still living at home! They met some of my friends in the LGBT and have even met a boyfriend I brought home for dinner. I am one of the lucky ones who have great parents who love me no matter what, not everyone is in the same situation and so every case is not the same.
If this story has encouraged you to come out, be aware of the supports available to you if something does go wrong. Best of Luck