As a child I remember feeling instinctively that I was different from other boys. In my teens, when my friends started dating girls, I wanted to do the same, but it just didn't feel right. I felt awkward and inferior. I had often heard insults like "queer" and "pansy", but it was not until I knew what the words meant, that I realised that they described me - I was Gay.
Noticing how people spoke about homosexuals, I came to the conclusion that being Gay was bad. I decided to shut it out, forget about it. What else could I do? I couldn't change and was terrified of revealing my secret. I wasn't bullied at school. I became introverted and kept a low profile, so as not to draw attention to myself.
I left home and went to university. I was determined to succeed so that, amongst other things, people would be pleased with me. It was almost as if being Gay and therefore "deficient" (as I saw it) in one area of my life meant that I had to excel in other areas. I formed a number of friendships, but generally shied away from men to prevent them knowing I was different, and women so as not to form attachments that would come to nothing. I knew I could never marry or have children. There were frequent rumours that I was dating, but I did nothing to stop them. I was relieved really, it meant my "secret" was safe.
After university I started work. My college friends were beginning to settle down, and gradually I felt that I had less in common with them. Unlike people who needed to form partnerships, I thought I could be happy alone. I needed no-one. I thought I was in total control of my life. I was not going to let my homosexuality get in the way of my future.
Promotion brought me back to Manchester. I bought a house, but with no friends locally, life became a monotonous routine of work and evenings alone. I felt very isolated. I began to hate being Gay and would have done absolutely anything to change, but changing my sexuality was about as feasible as changing my eye colour. I had two terrifying choices; either facing my sexuality and "coming out" or growing old alone. Eventually I realised that the only way forward was to "come out".
I 'phoned the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and later met one of the volunteers. For the first time I could be totally honest with someone without fear of rejection. That was a huge weight off my shoulders. I joined 'Icebreakers', a group for men coming to terms with their sexuality. Here I formed friendships and started to enjoy a social life, going to the cinema, to the theatre and to restaurants.
My main anxiety now was the prospect of telling my parents that I was Gay. Should I risk their disapproval, or continue to hide part of my life from them? We had always been a close family so, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst, I decided to tell them. Words cannot describe the feeling as my mother and father hugged me that day. I realised then that their love was unconditional; how could I ever have thought otherwise? Later, I told my sister Sarah and her family, my friends and my work colleagues. There was not one bad reaction.
In 1995 I met David, my partner, and in July 1999 we celebrated our Commitment Ceremony and Blessing. My life has been turned around. Years ago I hated being Gay. Now I can honestly say I am perfectly happy with my situation, and I wouldn't change anything!
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A Guide For Families And Friends of Lesbian and Gays
This information has been written primarily for parents but is also useful for families and friends.
How do I Tell My Parents I'm Lesbian or Gay?
Useful for people contemplating coming out to their parents.
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