My name is Wayne and I had the idea for this website about four months ago. I'm a youth worker and I've done lots of work with young guys and girls who for various reasons have a fear of coming out to their friends, family and the world in general. I know that there's quite a bit of support out there for out gay people (social networks, anti-homophobic bullying projects, clubs and LGBT groups) but I felt that there was a lack of support for those who have yet to take that big step and come out. I felt that the best way to offer this support would be to provide written accounts of how other people had experienced the coming out process. I came out at 21 (I'm nearly 31 now) and when I was going through that confusing and often depressing stage of admiting that I was gay to myself, I felt that I had no one to talk to to help me understand what to do next. I had no really close gay friends who I felt that I could talk to and I didn't even consider using the internet.
So anyway, I had an idea. What if I could gather together a few first hand accounts from gay men and women who had been through those first major stages of coming out and publish them on a website so that people in the closet could get some idea of how the process can go. I started asking my friends and got a good response. I started receiving stories by email and over facebook and before knew it I had 10 stories that I felt would be of interest to the people I wanted to support. I asked my good friend Yog if she would like to help me set up the website (as I didn't really know my html from my weblink). Thankfully she jumped at the chance and rucomingout.com was born! For the last two months I've been receiving stories from people all over the world who are keen to share their experiences of coming out to help others. At this stage I have almost 50 stories which I am in the process of editing and uploading to the site. I never imagined that there would be so many people willing to share such a personal story. How wrong I was!
Many contributors have told me that they found the process of writing their stories very cathartic and sometimes quiet emotionally challenging. Other people have told me that they have enjoyed reading other people's accounts despite having come out years ago themselves. It's early days but the feedback I have received is overwhelmingly positive which is fantastic. I'm committed to this project and will continue to upload stories for as long as I receive them. The rucomingout team is growing every day which means a more varied and richer source of stories for those who need them.
I'll be using this blog to update you on the progress of the project. The journey has only just started but I'm excited about where we're going.
Next week I'm going to talk to Attitude (the UK's leading gay men's lifestyle magazine) about the project. I'll be spreading the word about rucomingout more in the coming months. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the future of the project please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll have a chat (albeit electronically!).
You may have noticed that the gorgeous Beverley Knight has submitted an exclusive story of support already. Watch this space for more stories from well known people over the coming weeks.
So there we go. My first ever blog! I hope someone reads it else I've just wasted my time and and let my cup of tea go cold for nothing!
Take care of each other and please get involved!