Ciaran | 28 | Belfast, N Ireland | Civil Servant
I'm a straight man with a number of gay mates. Two of these have been friends since my school days and I knew them both before they came out. Both are now happily adjusted guys but they had very different Coming Out experiences.
I guess I always knew they were gay. One of them came out quite early in my opinion, when he was about fifteen. He seemed to cope with it quite well. He appeared to be relieved that he was now able to 'be himself' and went through a period of being very flamboyant and proud with a capital P.
My other mate had much tougher time during his coming out period. This wasn’t because of any negative reactions he received. In fact when he finally did come out he was embraced by everyone; family and friends alike. He however put himself through hell trying to come to terms with his sexuality and had several failed suicide attempts. He was 23 before he finally came out after breaking off an engagement to the girl he had been dating for four years. He has stated on several occasions that once he'd done it, despite the guilt of hurting his girlfriend, he felt an immediate sense of relief that he no longer had to live a lie.
It's always amazed me how two people from similar backgrounds and with the same circle of friends can have such polar opposite experiences of coming out. I wasn’t shocked when either one of mates came out to me and I didn't feel any differently towards them afterwards.