Coming Out Of The Closet #LGBT

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Photo by Sydney Troxell on Pexels.com

One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I never sat down with my Mother and told her that I’m gay. I chose, instead, the easy option of writing to her and telling her that I was a homosexual.

Facing Mum for the first time, after writing that letter, I was very nervous as I travelled to where she lived. I hesitated several times before walking up to the front door, ringing the doorbell, and announcing my arrival. What a shock I got when she came towards me with open arms and, as she gave me one of her wonderful hugs, hearing her whisper the words “I always knew you were gay, I don’t know why it took you so long to tell me.”

Mum & Hugh
Me and mum. Taken sometime in the 1980s, just after I had told her I was gay.

Not all my family were like mum, though. Some told me they were having difficulty in accepting what I was because it wasn’t the sort of thing that happened to men in the area we came from. Hurtful words, but I already knew that the best thing I could do was to keep away from those who were upset by the life I was given, and allow them to live their lives as they wanted.

Over the years, I regained contact with some of those family members and, thankfully, have the changing face of society to thank for bringing us back together.

The fact that, in the past, there had been a few other men in the family who had never married, never seemed to raise any suspicions that the family had gay people as a part of it. It may have been talked about, but never while I was in the room.

I don’t know if any of those men ever ‘came out.’ Probably not, but it must have been difficult for those that were gay at the time they lived. This only made me more determined to live my life how I wanted and not the way others wanted me to live it.

Moving to work and live in London, in 1986, was one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made. Although the city acted as a wall which seemed to protect gay people, I was still finding it difficult to ‘come out.’

It was a strange situation because the first two jobs I took in London were in industries where other openly gay people were employees. When I took my next job, which would last 23-years, it took me six years to come out, and that was only when I heard the words “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” Of course, nobody cared that I was gay, yet for all those years I had been terrified what some of my work colleagues would think about me had I ‘come out’ of the closet.

Fast forward to today, and being gay is something much of society accepts. Or is it?

When we moved to our current home in South Wales, both my partner and I were a little hesitant that people would accept us. There are fewer people here than where we had lived for over 30 years. We were coming back to that place I’d been told that ‘being gay didn’t happen.’ We couldn’t have been more wrong!

People have been so welcoming, and we’re as part of the community as anyone else. Strange, though, that every now and again when I meet somebody for the first time and am asked who the other guy is that walks our dogs, that I find myself hesitating before saying “he’s John, my partner.”

Maybe some of the scars from our past never heal?

Rainbow over Swansea
Swansea Bay. A 5-minute walk from our new home.

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208 comments

  1. What a lovely post – and I love your mother’s reaction. I knew a woman a few years back who was sure her 15 year old son was gay – she was waiting for him to tell her. I wonder if he has yet!

    1. Yes, I wonder, Terri. It’s a lovely story to tell if he has, and another story to tell if he still hasn’t. Even today, many gay people find it difficult to ‘come out.’ Even I still sometimes find myself saying ‘he’s my partner’ when asked ‘who’s was that man I saw you with?’ The scars of the past can still go very deep.

  2. Hi Hugh! I love the honesty of this post. I loved your mom’s reaction when she saw you after the letter. Some traumatic events in out lives are difficult to get over. No one asks to be gay or straight, you’re born and you are what you are. Thanks for sharing. ❤

    1. Thank you, Vashti. I agree with everything you say. There are only certain aspects of our lives where we can make choices. It’s a shame that not everyone sees it like that, but at least today’s world is far more accepting. Still plenty of work to do, though.

  3. Thankfully times are achanging, but I think that for your point about other members of the family is very well made. In some cases it seems to have been a version of the don’t ask don’t tell policy. Thank you for sharing, Hugh.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Olga. I’m very pleased that times have changed. Now we just need to work hard in getting the message across to all those countries in the world where it’s still a crime to fall in love another person of the same sex.

  4. Wonderful account of coming out. I’m always glad to hear stories where parents have already guessed and are affirming. My Mom screamed “It’s not my fault” when I told her. My parents had serious personality flaws, so I just learned to move on towards people who accept me.

    1. Thanks so much, Brian. I believe that these days most parents will already have guessed. It’s when they don’t want to accept what can not be changed that the problems can start. It took my Father over 25 years to accept but pleased to say that that the struggle he had with it finally came to an end. It’s just such a shame of all the lost time it took up.

  5. When my friend Val told me that she was gay, she then said. I fully understand if you don’t want to be my friend anymore. I could have cried. I just hugged her and never said that I had known all along. She later told me that she had dreaded telling me… Poor love, I can’t even begin to imagine what difference it should make to anyone else about a persons sexuality. We are who we are.. warts and all.

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