Category Archives: Stories

I’m lucky

I was actually very happy

In the summer I came to the realisation that I was, as I probably should’ve realised sooner, very gay. It was in the middle of the night and I was watching videos of Kate Mckinnon. I wasn’t appealed or afraid. I was actually very happy.

I was confused at first

I was confused at first and didn’t want to come out to my parents and then change my mind. But I felt I had to tell someone, so I told my best friend. I knew that I could change my mind and she wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I told her I was bisexual and she was great about it. I eventually told some of my other friends and they seemed to feel the same. It wasn’t until I started referring to myself in my own mind as gay and not bi that I thought I had told them the wrong thing.

I kept it inside

There were a lot of times that it would’ve been really great to tell my parents but every time the moment passed and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know why because I was pretty certain they would be fine with it. Instead I kept it inside. It wasn’t until my homophobic uncle asked if I had a boyfriend yet that my mum told me to tell him I wanted a girlfriend that I told her. I was incredibly scared but she was wonderful and we had a ten minute conversation about it. The next day we decided that I would leave the room while she told my dad. Again I don’t know why I didn’t want to tell my dad it just felt awkward to bring it up. I came back into the room and all he said was “as long as you’re happy” then we sat there in silence for what must have been 30 seconds but felt like an hour. Then I got up and left again.

Come out when it’s right for you

I know that my coming out was incredibly easy compared to a lot of people. And I was, and am, so so lucky to have so much support and love around me that it has made me even more aware of the people who don’t have that. But I just want to say. Come out when it’s right for you. You don’t need to. But you don’t need to keep it to yourself either.

Coming Out to My Dad

I stood at the bottom of the attic steps, my fists clenched. Dad had just gotten off the phone with some client for his work, his home office was up there, but not in like a creepy way. The attic office was actually very nice. He fixed it up to look just like a second living room.

I had already backed out of it too many times

I knew I had to do it, I had already backed out of it too many times. What if Dad didn’t want his “precious little girl” to be different than everyone else in this God-forsaken town? Would he find me disgusting and sinful like my mother did? Here it goes…Deep breath in, deep breath out…

The stairs seemed to spin

I turned the doorknob, and slowly opened the door. I walked up the steps, but I swear it was the hardest thing I have done in my life, the stairs seemed to spin and I had to grip the railing so hard that my knuckles turned white.
“Dad?” I called up nervously, trying to keep my voice from cracking.
“Yes, Sweetie?”
“I have something I want to tell you, but I don’t want to talk about it after.” I looked away as he looked up at me from his desk. “Dad, I-I like girls…”

He gave me a big, reassuring smile

I was expecting a big explosion, but the reply was, “Em, you seem so upset, what does it matter? Who you like, I mean… As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters to me,” he gave me a big, reassuring smile. Then he stood up and gave me a hug.
“Well, Mom doesn’t seem to feel the same way about it,” I said, burying my face into his shoulder.

You are always loved

“I will talk to her, but Emily,” he leaned down so that we were eye-level, “You just ignore the people who call you weird or pick on you for it. You are you, and you are perfect. Remember that you are always loved. We love you no matter what. Okay?”
“Okay. Thank you Dad, I love you.”
He hugged me tighter, “I love you too, Sweetheart.”

Love is Love

Diversity should thrill people, yet it doesn’t. Just as love and sex should fill people with happiness and excitement. I am sixteen, I have never properly be in love, I haven’t found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with – so how am I supposed to narrow them down by gender and age?

Gender doesn’t really come into play

For me, falling for people, relies on their character and humour, and when I kiss someone, gender doesn’t really come into play. If someone makes you feel delirious and tingly from head to toe…then go for it.
I am in a place where I would be proud and unashamed to tell anyone if I fell in love with a girl or a guy.

Love is for everyone

No words can quite match how love can make you feel and nobody should have to stop loving anyone because of what other people say. And that’s kind of why I’m writing, not because my story is inspirational or anything – but because love is for everyone, and I’m not willing to negotiate.

Some of them know, it’s not that bad

Around Christmas time 2015, I realised that I liked both genders. I told one friend and she recommended an LGBT account on Instagram. I joined and became an admin. Soon after I told my friends and I looked up different kinds of sexuality. All of my friends accepted me.

She accepted me

I was terrified of coming out to my mum, but I shouldn’t have been. It was hard at first, but now I feel like I have a weight lifted off my shoulders. She did say that I’m a bit too young to decide that I was bi, but she still accepted me.

I will tell them when I’m ready

The rest of my family don’t know, but I like it that way. I will tell them when I am ready.

It is not that hard. Just look past the fear you first feel and you will be fine!

Of Dandelions and Eurekas

My family is very open-minded

I live in a bigoted country, one of the worst in Western Europe for LGBTQIA* people. This forced me to grow up in ignorance regarding the LGBT world. I used to think ‘fag’ would be an insult and that ‘transgender men’ were cisgender men who were cross dressers. My family is very open-minded and they never taught me so but unfortunateley, my parents are not that knowledgable of transgender issues. However, I soon learnt that fag wasn’t really an insult, yet I remained with my ideas about transgender men.

I really wanted to be a boy

I didn’t know I was a transgender boy, deep down. I didn’t experience dysphoria before going through adolescence since my dysphoria is direct to chest, hips, and all those things that teenage girls experience. Yet I really wanted to be a boy. Not because I thought it was ‘better’ but because I felt so. I used to blow on dandelions and when the seeds all flew away and I had to make a wish, I would wish to become a boy. I sometimes went to sleep wishing I’d wake up a boy.

I was normal

With adolescence came dysphoria and I started to feel very bad. I was really sad and thought of suicide too. I still was ignorant about transgender people. But when I was in middle school, in the second year (twelve years old), I got in this group against homophobia. This brought me into the community, even if I didn’t identify as gay. I heard about FtMs and I googled them. I swear, I don’t know why didn’t I shout: “Eureka!” out loud. It really was a eureka moment as I discovered something I had being looking for since I was a young boy. It immediately fit. I understood, then, who I was, that I was normal. That other people were like me.

But I also heard horrible stories. I asked myself: “do I really want to live that life?” I wondered if by any chance I could just be a tomboy. But I couldn’t, I really couldn’t. I technically had already “came out”, crying that I wanted to be a boy, not understanding that I already was.

My acceptance was easy

I have now answered myself that question: “yes, I do want to. And I want to make it easier for who’ll experience this after me”. My acceptance was easy, or so it seems.

But really, my acceptance was when I stated that I was different from tomboys. My acceptance was when I asked my mother why couldn’t I have been a boy. You surely have heard stories that seem like mine, and mine surely is just one of the many. But I still wanted to share it.

And I’d like to add, friends accepted me. There’s hope in bigoted countries, too.

Discovering Me

In year 8, I was in French and sitting next to one of my friends. I just thought of asking him out. I, a bit stupidly, did and he freaked out. I was also freaking out and I started reconsidering my sexuality. I just always assumed I was straight and was a bit scared. All the boys in my year didn’t seem approving of homosexuals as they always made sly jokes about them. In year 9, I finally realised that I was bi. I told some of friends but I tried to be discreet as I was unsure of the reactions. By the end of the week, everyone knew. They were all approving. I was slightly surprised but also relieved. Now in year 10, I’ve had my first girlfriend but still searching for the right guy. I’m only one of two out non-heterosexual people in my year so my chances seem small, unfortunately.

Jenny the Worrier Princess

I’d always been a tomboy growing up. My mum often recalls that, for my first birthday, I was brought a doll and pram and my response was to throw the doll out, load the pram with building blocks and pretend it was a car.

Aged six, I asked my mum one day ‘Mummy do you mind if I am a boy type girl?’ and of course being the understanding woman she is she didn’t mind one bit.

I chose to bury my feelings and carry on trying to be like everyone else

As I progressed through school I realized my friends were nearly all boys and my crushes were almost always on girls (and Wonder Woman). At the time the only representations of gay men in popular culture were camp stereotypes and lesbians were nonexistent so I felt very, very different from the norm. Knowing I wasn’t like the other girls around me, I chose to bury my feelings and carry on trying to be like everyone else.

At secondary school the only thing we were taught sexuality wise was reproduction in a very clinical way. In the late 80’s the government, then led by Margaret Thatcher, brought in a law to prevent the promotion of homosexuality (Section 28). This meant that it could not be taught in schools and you couldn’t go to a teacher for help or advice.

I had a series of boyfriends

Ironically quite a lot of my school friends were also gay but we were all deeply in the closet, partly because it was a small town and partly because we didn’t know what people’s reactions would be.

I had a series of boyfriends that were, in fact, friends that had asked me out, as I probably would never have dreamed of thinking of them in that way otherwise. The few boys that I was attracted to were usually quite feminine looking.

Then one day, when I was 18, I got a call from my best friend needing help. Her girlfriend’s parents had found the secret love letters that she had written to her (this was the pre-internet age so emails or text messages were not a possibility) and had banned them from ever seeing each other again. I felt really stupid, having a best friend for all these years and not even realizing she was gay too. As I had a boyfriend at the time I chose to keep quiet about my confusion and help her through her situation the best I could.

I continued to have long term relationships with men, again because they made the first move and it was easier to go along with it. I loved them not for their gender but for them as people. However, throughout these relationships I continued to have secret, painful crushes, on female friends and again I chose to bury them.

I didn’t have much chance to explore my sexuality

On occasion I used to frequent gay bars in Soho, with one of my close gay male friends, but didn’t have much chance to explore my sexuality as there were hardly any places to meet women.

Things started to change once I began studying part-time for a technology qualification in London. I got my first PC and internet connection and looked for an online place to be myself.

I really was very gay and couldn’t go hiding this part of myself

Then one day I had an epiphany. It was 1997 and I saw an advert for a new television channel (at this point in time we only had four TV channels in the UK) Channel 5 was being launched very ceremoniously by The Spice Girls and the channel was showing a promo for a new series called Xena Warrior Princess. I looked at Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle and over to my boyfriend and the penny dropped. I really was very gay and couldn’t go on hiding this part of myself indefinitely or I would never be truly happy. I watched the programme avidly, savouring every subtext reference to their relationship, and I joined a Xena group on AOL. From there I met a straight girl (my first ally I suppose!) who invited me to a regular Xena night in a sci-fi bar in Westminster. I had never been around so many gay girls and my friend even tried to match make me with someone at the group but I was too shy and I still had a boyfriend to contend with.

I plucked up the courage to end my long term relationship

I was still in the closet at the company I worked at but plucked up the courage to end my long term relationship and decided I really needed to explore my sexuality at last. We had a new temp receptionist at work and one day, as we went for lunch, she advised me that if I wanted to come out and didn’t know how to do it, then telling everyone I was bisexual may be the way to go because of my history of long term relationships with men. I was shocked; I couldn’t work out how she had picked up on my sexuality as I had tried to hide it so carefully. She then said that her gay flat mate was moving out and she had a spare room in her flat on Charing Cross Road in Soho If I wanted it. I snapped up the room and finally began to explore my sexuality. It wasn’t easy as there were no real places to meet women (and sadly that is still the case) so the majority of my dating adventures began online. Eventually I began to build up a network of friends and in the end met my current partner Claire. We have been together for thirteen years now, my longest relationship to date.

I have now gone from quietly in the closet to a new member of the global leadership team for my current companies LGBTF network. I present and educate on LGBT issues whenever I can and I was also one of the mentors for this application!

It’s not always so dramatic

I came out a little less then a year ago when I was thirteen, about a month after I worked out that I wasn’t straight. I’ve always been open minded and so I didn’t freak out or worry about my future, because I knew that it was natural. I knew that I wouldn’t allow people to bully me. I was secure in myself and that really helped me. The only reason why it took me a month was because I wanted to do it right. I wanted to come out to my family first, then my best friends and then organise a time when I could get all- well most of my friends in one place at one time and I did. It also needed extra organisation because one of my other friends wanted to come out at the same time. Support from friends makes a big difference. Did my friends reject me? No. Did everyone in the hallways stop, stare and whisper? No. Has it lead to horrible depression-inducing bullying? No. I know that my story is pretty unique but not all coming out stories are bad. I guess what I’m saying is the saying “it gets better” is a brilliant saying but sometimes “it” isn’t bad to start with. Be happy with yourself.

Coming To Terms With Being Me

I had always felt different. It’s such a cliché, I know, but I just KNEW there was something staring me right in the face – I just didn’t know what I was looking for. I was upset a lot of the time for a reason I didn’t understand, but now I can see how blindingly obvious it was: I wasn’t a girl, but everyone kept calling me one.

I felt so wrong and alone.

PE was always difficult. I would loathe every second of the girls’ changing rooms, always leaving them in a bad mood or with tears brimming. The worst part about it was that no one, not even me, understood. We’re raised in binaries, as either male or female depending on what you were born with, and this is reinforced so heavily in our society that transgender or gender variant youth can feel so cut-off and isolated from the rest of the world. I hated my long hair. I hated the feminine school uniform trousers. I hated how people called me “she” or “dear” or “young lady”. I felt so wrong and alone.

It was probably in Year 9 when I first typed “I feel like a boy” into a search engine, and the results confused me. There was a whole universe of genders out there that I’d never heard of. I thought you could only be a girl or a boy, and that for me to be a boy, I had to like girls (which I didn’t!) – I couldn’t have been more wrong. I learnt about non-binary, two-spirit, genderfluid, to name but a few, and I also learnt that to be transgender there is no requirement for your sexuality. So, a person of any gender can have any sexuality. It was an eye-opening experience.

I was so desperate for me to make my mind up

I spent a lot of time after my internet discoveries thinking. I would go to secluded places at school and think. Think about the label I should use for my gender, about the label I should use for my sexuality. I was in a phase of confusion, which was honestly one of the most agonising times of my life. I hated seeing everyone so happy with their identity around me, so happy to be divided into male or female, when I was so desperate for me to make my mind up about this thing that’s deemed so important in our culture. I’d wake up one day and announce: “I’m a boy! I’m definitely male – I’ve finally decided!” only to then realise within a few hours that I was in fact genderless again, or sometimes even female. I would venture to YouTube and watch trans videos which definitely helped, but it drained me: they all seemed so sure in themselves, talking about how they’d always played with boys and action figures. Although I considered myself masculine, I didn’t really do those things, and that seemed to contradict what I was feeling at the time.

I came out to my parents as being confused about my gender, and to my luck, they were 100% accepting. We tried different names and pronouns at home – one day I was Liam, the next I was Phoenix – but nothing quite felt right and this made me more confused. “They” pronouns made me feel awkward, and “he” pronouns felt sort of forced.

I just had to accept that my identity would take time

This continued for a long time and it took me equally as long to realise: I was trying too hard to label myself. I was forcing feelings and thoughts before allowing them to surface naturally, and I was smothering my femininity because I felt it contradicted the male identity I wanted to have. I finally realised that I just had to accept that my identity would take time and I slowly began to embrace every part of myself. I accepted that I was sometimes feminine, sometimes masculine, and although I wasn’t happy about it, I accepted that I might always be genderfluid. And that’s okay.

It’s true what they say: things do get better. Feelings take time to understand. It was the summer of 2014 when I came out publicly after years of confusion and waiting for my feelings to settle – and since then, I haven’t looked back. I waited until I was certain that this was what I wanted, and coming out over the summer was just perfect for me. Some days I’m feminine, other days I’m masculine, and I like men – but I am male. This is me, and although it took a while to get here, I’ve finally found myself.

Take your time

So, if there’s any moral to learn from my story, I guess it would be this: take your time. Don’t rush so much to give yourself a label, because sometimes, it takes feelings a while to settle, and are often far too complicated to define by a single word. But, most important of all: don’t try to suppress parts of yourself because society dictates that you should feel a certain way. This is something I wish I’d realised soon.

Now that I’ve learnt this, I am me, and I couldn’t be happier.

Realising you’re not who you thought you were…

Very few people’s coming out stories are easy. Those whose are are the incredibly lucky ones. I always knew my parents would have absolutely no problem with my sexuality, but that didn’t stop it being incredibly difficult to actually tell them. There was always there tiny thought in the back of my head that my parents would kick their then 14 year old son out of the house when he told them he liked boys and girls. I probably wouldn’t have told them until some years later, had they not noticed I’d been self-harming because of homophobic bullying at my school and online.

I was always more attracted to boys

At the time, I identified as bisexual. I was told by near countless people that “bi people don’t exist” and that “bisexuals are just in denial of being gay”. For such a long time I was determined to prove them wrong, and I was attracted to girls for some time after coming out. I was always more attracted to boys, the ratio being around 80:20 boys to girls. I only dated two more girls after coming out, and have exclusively dated boys since 2010 or thereabouts.

The people who told me that bisexuality didn’t exist did almost as much damage as those who told me I was a freak of nature and that I should die for being bisexual in the first place. Whilst I overcame those who bullied me with help from my parents and teachers, the unwillingness to change the definition of my sexual identity remained with me right up until June 2014, aged 19. I’d known I was gay for a long time before this, but denied it to myself and others, instead saying “I could have a sexual relationship with a woman, but not an intimate/emotional one”. I knew this was rubbish, the ratio of my attractions was now more like 99:1 boys to girls, but I didn’t want those who didn’t respect my sexuality to win. It was a very big deal to start openly identifying as gay, even something as simple as unticking women from my ‘interested in’ on my facebook profile took some doing.

It’s okay to change your definition

I live very happily as an openly gay man, and even just after being bullied I started doing charity work to combat homophobia. I didn’t have a problem accepting myself until people starting making me believe I was wrong, but the one thing I did have to learn was that it’s okay to change your definition of your sexual identity. At 14-16 years old I was terrified that changing said definition was to give in, but I’ve now learned that very few people care if you change it – as long as you’re happy with who you are and how you define yourself, that’s all that matters. I know it sounds massively clichéd, but it’s an absolute truth.