Tag Archives: Outside the UK

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.”

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.

‘Sinner’ in a house of god

I was a Christian child, I grew up going to church, praying every night, remembering bits of the bible and keeping a copy with me everyday. I believed that homosexuality was sin. It wasn’t until I was about 13 when I found out that I liked girls too. I kept quiet, never told my parents, not even my friends. I thought the phase would pass on quickly and I’d like boys again.

Why would you be opposed to being different? Love is love.

A year or so before, I had a kiss with a boy at church. When I was 14, I found out that this wasn’t a phase when I kissed a girl. I liked it. When I was 15,  I came out to my friends, they were all okay with it and were really accepting. I had several girlfriends over the next several years and I was really happy being myself. Why would you be opposed to being different? Love is love.

They were fine with it

When I left Texas to go to University in Conneticut I decided to tell my parents. First I told my siblings, they were fine with it. My older brother was worried and told me it’s just a phase, but my younger siblings were fine about it. Two weeks before I left, I told my parents. They both screamed at me and yelled at me about going to hell and being a spawn of satan. Why should people be opposed to love? Isn’t god all-loving and accepting? I decided I wouldn’t stay in my bigoted little home and moved in with my girlfriend.

If people are hurting or bullying you about who you love, tell them to piss off and get a dictionary, because love is love no matter which gender. I support you and accept you for who you are. Parents don’t accept you? Move out! Friends don’t accept you? Forget them, find better friends. You deserve it!

I was married when I realised that I was gay

I was born in an Irish Catholic family and my uncle is a Catholic priest with a parish in North Dublin. So it was preached into me from a young age that being homosexual and loving men like you’re ‘meant’ to love women is a sin.

Growing up, I was taught that being gay was wrong and like pretty much all Christians, I would frown upon gays or lesbians.

“I got along better with girls”

I didn’t have many male friends; a common thing in gay guys, we find friends easier in females because we can relate a lot more easily to them. But, I didn’t know that at the time that it was because I was gay.

I didn’t go to high school very much because I was sent to live with my uncle, to go to the school near to where he lived. His home ended up feeling like boarding school cause I hated my uncle. So, instead of going to school, my friends and I spent all day in the city. I didn’t really get caught up in the boyfriend/girlfriend thing in high school because I didn’t really go.

“At 15, I ran away from home”

Instead of going to school, I worked and saved enough to travel. At 15, I ran away from home, met my wife, had some kids and became a chef. I began to hate my wife after a while, so I ended up leaving her. So I moved to London  where I lived above a pub, and it was there that I met Andy.

When we had saved enough and I had got a proper job, we moved into a flat with two girls, so Andy and I became pretty good mates. Then I began to realize that what I felt for my wife wasn’t love, it wasn’t even close because what I felt for Andy was just something amazing that I’d never felt before. I’d been told all of my life that love is when you have a connection with an awesome girl.

“I loved my wife, but only as a best friend.”

I didn’t know that at the time though, because I’d never been in love before. What I’d been feeling for my wife was what I’d assumed to be love because I’d been told all of my life that having some sort of connection with a woman is how it’s supposed to be. But I realized that I was just totally in love with Andy, and luckily, Andy felt the same way.

I told my wife that I had found someone really special in London that made me really happy, and that they were a man not a woman. She went mental at me, left and that was one of the last times that I saw her for a while.

“They tried to pray for me.

I went to my parents to tell them about Andy, but I didn’t tell them at first, I left them and was driving to my uncle’s house to pick my children up, when I realized that I just had to tell them, so I drove all the way back and told them. They just hugged and tried to pray for me. My dad yelled at me and tried to pray for me again although I tried to convince him that it wouldn’t work.

I moved to Australia, and since that move, I’ve been really open about my sexuality. In Melbourne especially, they have a lot of good support for the gay community.

I didn’t know how my conservative Christian family would react

At 14 I knew I was not like the other girls. I ran around and played sports and games with the boys but I was more attracted to girls. I didn’t even know the word lesbian until I was 15 when my mother demanded to know if I was one. Of course, I denied it.

‘The church was not friendly towards homosexuals’

We belonged to a very conservative church. Any socialising I did was through the church youth groups. The church was not friendly towards homosexuals, and was even protesting against the legalising it in New Zealand.

The dictionary at school was not much help, and in my little conservative suburban world, the chapters on homosexuality were cut from our text books (this was in the 1980s), and there was no one I could turn to.

‘I started to read a lot’

I kept my sexuality buried for a long time – but I started to read a lot, and became a good theology student. Through reading people like Bishop Shelbey Spong and Dominic Crossan (which are heavy theology reads), I came to understand that the debate wasn’t as simple as my church had made out.

I then moved out of home at 20, found a new congregation that were more positive towards difference. I continued to throw myself into my degree and theology, and I dealt with the grief of my grandmother passing away.

Then I fell for someone, head over heels in love. It didn’t work out – but it did confirm the feelings I had felt at 14. She didn’t make me feel dumb for loving her, so I felt I could start to come out.

‘Good things take time’

Coming out to myself had taken almost ten years, and it took me almost another ten years to come out as genderqueer.

Telling my friends was easy, they were all supportive and encouraging, both within the church and my secular friends. Most of them had thought I was gay for a long time and put my non-dating down to my shyness.

Coming out to my family was more problematic as my mother and brother still attend the church I grew up in. One afternoon (on my 25th Birthday after watching the rugby) I told my mum and dad that I was gay. My dad was so positive, he turned and said “that’s the bravest thing I’ve ever seen you do”. My mother wasn’t quite so positive, and for the next couple of weeks my dad mediated the conversation and helped mum through understanding that it wasn’t me changing –  it was me showing who I was.

How does this end? My mother has told most of the church that I am gay. This hasn’t had any repercussions; she still holds a position of responsibility. The relationship with my dad became much stronger he has been an incredibly positive unconditional supporter.  I kept my faith for a long time. Moving to another country I still study theology in my spare time and occasionally try and find a congregation I fit in with.

Surrounded by my family – I found who I am

I figured out I was bi in the summer between 9th and 10th grade. I was on a summer trip to Canada and my family were around me day and night.

As a guy who was questioning his sexuality most of the time it was a bit strange. I noticed that most of the guys in my family would stare at females who walked past and comment on how they thought she looked.

I didn’t know what the hell was going on

I would stare at the guys they were with instead of the girls. I didn’t know why but I noticed I would find my self thinking about them at quiet moments during the day. I couldn’t help it and I was scared but at the same time some females held attraction for me. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

After finding out a bit more about bi-sexuality it just felt right when applied to me. I became happier and more fun to be around.

My brother and dad’s reactions surprised me

While my cousins, aunt and uncle were off doing their own thing I went to find the bathroom with my brother and told him. He reacted calmly and his attitude seemed to be ‘ok, whatever’. He came across as hurt but I was relieved that he wasn’t mad. My dad just said ‘I don’t care as long as you’re happy.’ And I was and am, happier than I’ve ever been!

They still talk to me about women

We don’t really talk about it much now. My brother and dad are fully straight men and still try to get me involved when they talk about women. I never get involved. I think my brother tries to deny that I’m bisexual to himself because he doesn’t like thinking that I could like guys. My dad doesn’t care he just wants me to be happy.

My friends were great

My friends were all supportive, ecstatic actually. Some had thought I was gay when I first met them so when I came out as bi they were pleased that they’d guessed right (or close enough!). They all help and support me no matter what and I love them all for that.