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Coming Out: Embracing My Sexuality

Author: Olly Halton


I’m thirteen years old - sneaking downstairs after my sister has gone to bed - to tell my parents something important, something scary and something that makes me nervous like nothing else. Three little words that send shivers down my spine.

As a child, all you see in every film, book and lesson at school is a certain view of the world. A black-and-white diagram of what life is like: a hero saving a victim in distress, a family of two parents and their children, or the wedding of your favourite character. Now, I didn’t specify anything about these individuals, yet you can already see them in your mind - and no doubt differently to the next person.

The main trouble is that life isn’t like the movies – they don’t accurately portray modern society.

You even hear people discussing relationships or marriages of their friends and loved ones in the street, prefacing it with the old: “you do know they’re gay though, right?” It sounds like a rude word; a word people replace with weird euphemisms because they’re scared of what it means, or the people attributed with it.

Now, with the benefit of having lived those experiences, I have no fear of them as I did when I was that thirteen-year-old boy. And yes, I’m afraid it doesn’t get any easier to field the old “do you have a girlfriend?” questions, but it does get easier to be you. Whether that is gay, bi, pan, ace, trans, there are as many sexual and gender identities as there are colours in the rainbow, pardon the pun!

Whilst for some being themselves means wearing a label that comes with a sense of pride and belonging, it’s not for everyone. Some don’t want to position themselves into a nice little box, others are simply not even ready to consider such a thing.

For those who are ready, wearing a label often means ‘coming out’, and whilst scary for some, those who have been through this process often say how rewarding it is, and that if they could change one thing about their experience, they’d have only done it sooner. Whilst we lie in wait for a world without bigotry, where the idea of ‘coming out’ itself becomes irrelevant, for the time being it remains. What it does mean though is that people who feel this way get to know that they’re not alone, that they’re one of the 1.3 million people in the UK who fall outside of what is considered heterosexual normality.

1.3 million like you to connect with 1.3 million like me.

Unfortunately, for some this isn’t always possible right now, perhaps they don’t yet feel ready, or that people would treat them differently if they knew the truth. And for those people, there should always be someone to talk to.

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