COMING OUT DAY - Kieran (MDP)
I came out to my parents on a sunny day in June 2018. I was 29.
I had been dating my partner since January and most of my close friends and colleagues were already aware, but I didn't really consider that "coming out". I had eventually told my sisters a couple of months earlier, but I was really dreading telling my dad.
We didn't really talk much at home and I always felt like I was a disappointment to him, having dropped out of university when I was 18. I had hoped that my ongoing application to the Police would make him happy, but we had never really discussed it.
Everyone was adamant that I should tell him I was gay, and he would be OK with it, but I was convinced it wouldn't go well. My dad had always said about me having a son "to continue the family name", as both he and my grandpa only had sisters, as do I.
It was the gala day in the village and after a wander around, the three of us had walked down to the local pub for a few drinks. It was only the third or fourth time I had ever drunk with my dad outside of family events, which was a genuine treat.
It had been weighing on my mind for a while and the beer gave me courage, so eventually I managed to blurt out that I'd been "seeing a boy for months". There was a silence before I burst into tears and ran up the road, texting my partner and sister and convinced that they would be following me.
My parents came home about half an hour later. My dad sat down in the lounge and then proceeded to burst into angry shouting, accusing me of lying for months. Still in floods of tears, I pointed out that he had never once asked me where I was going at nights when I stayed at my partners house.
Further recriminations followed; about all the money he had spent on me going to university with no result and the trip to India I had been on in high school. Eventually my partner's mum came to pick me up and I spent the night at their house.
The next day my mum and sister came to pick me up and I went home. My dad blanked me when I walked in and to this day has never spoken a further word to me. While I was desperate to move out, I was waiting for the police to allocate me a position, so I didn't end up having to quickly sell up.
Although my mum got on at my dad for not talking to me, he maintained he "wasn't interested". I lived in the silent house for nine months before I bought a house near my current base, moving in with my partner just as I started my firearms training.
After collecting the last couple of things from my parents' house, I have never been back there. I still see my mum and sisters. I posted my relationship status on Facebook soon after, so I presume most of my family know now, but only my dad's sister has specifically discussed it with me.
I don't regret coming out. I think it's better that my parents heard it directly from me rather than from someone else. Some people have suggested that I should try and speak to my dad, but ultimately, I can't change who I am so I don't think it will work. I'll wait for him to make the first move, but I don't ever think he will.
I know that other people have worse experiences than me and I have been lucky to be able to move on from it. To anyone considering coming out, I would say it has to be at a time that's right for you.