COMING OUT DAY - Laura
Dread. Fear. Anxiety. Yes, those were the feelings I had when I was about to tell my parents I was gay. I was 16 years old. There I was standing in my bedroom trying to put the words together to tell them how I felt. But anytime I tried to think of words, they would escape me and a wave of anxiety and crushing fear would wash over me. But I knew I had to get this feeling off my chest. I couldn’t be held prisoner in my own head or heart any longer. I wanted to be my authentic self, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
I had so much fear about what others would think. Would my family disown me? Would my friends think I was checking them out in the changing rooms at school? Would I be labelled a freak or worse? Would I lose all my friends?
So I am standing there and disaster strikes, my mum walks in my room! My speech was not ready, my heart is now pounding, I’m barely blinking and she says “Are you okay?”
I burst into tears (I am an ugly crier so it was extra dramatic ha-ha) and she asked me what was wrong, asked me if I was being bullied at school etc. Basically all the questions a mum asks their child when they are upset. I said no to them all and then she asked me “ARE YOU GAY?”
I then whispered through my tears one word…YES.
She hugged me tightly and told me that she loves me no matter who I love, and that all she wants is a happy daughter. She also then told me she has known all along since I was a little girl. Mums just know.
She then told me about how my uncle, her brother, is gay and how happy she is for him. I just felt this overwhelming sense of relief at telling another soul my secret. The next day, my dad took me out for lunch and he said to me, “My first girlfriend was a redhead too you know”… My secret girlfriend at the time was a redhead at school called Jennifer. It was in that moment that I knew my mum had told him. I was worried about his reaction, but he told me that he loved me very much, and that aslong as I had someone who made me happy and is kind to me, then it didn’t matter if it was a man or woman.
My siblings were then all told by my parents and again they reacted with joy and with so much love. They all reassured me and told me that they didn’t care, all they wanted was for me to be happy and I finally was.
I then decided to come out to my friends. In the middle of a party, whilst everyone was chatting and dancing, I just blurted out to my friends “I’m gay”. Much to my surprise, they all turned round and went “We were bloody waiting for you to tell us, we’ve always known that”. We then went back to dancing. They didn’t have a care in the world because they knew I was still the same Laura.
So here I am 12 years later. I have a beautiful girlfriend whom I walk hand in hand with down the street, I proudly wear my rainbow coloured Thin Blue Line badge on my body armour but most of all, I don’t have the weight of worry on my shoulders about coming out. I did it and I am so proud of myself for doing it. I know I was lucky that I had a welcoming family and friends. Some others aren’t so lucky, but just know that minds can change, hearts can soften and you don’t need to go through it alone. Remember, Closets are for clothes!