Caroline | 27 | Edinburgh, Scotland
I was 21 when I finally had the courage to Come Out. I had known from a young age, around fourteen, that I was gay but never had the confidence to tell anyone. I think it was down to the constant casual homophobia that surrounds small villages. It’s not that anyone in my village was particularly homophobic it was just that no one knew anyone who was gay and I believe unfamiliarity makes people scared.
Before I Came Out I knew that my parents thought very differently about gay people; possessing common preconceptions that they are perverted or on the outskirts of what they perceived to be normal. However when I did eventually tell them I was gay their opinion changed; they realised that your sexuality does not define who you are and does not compromise your morals and they way you choose to live your life. I firmly believe that if you’re a ‘dick’ you will always be one irrelevant of the fact that you’re gay, lesbian, transgender, white, black, disabled; the list is endless as we are a multicultural and diverse nation.
"The reason I didn't Come Out until I was 21
I didn’t want to be kicked out of the house and left to fend for myself, so I told my parents after I graduated from university so that I would have that behind me. This was a stupid decision. I should in retrospect have told them years ago, which would have stopped all the fear of rejection and pain I suffered in the years leading up to Coming Out. My parents were amazing. I told them on the Tuesday and by the Wednesday night my Mum had phoned all of her friends and our family members and told them. She informed them that if they wouldn’t accept me then they would no longer be friends of hers. My mum also told my Grandparents on the Wednesday. She was really scared as they were obviously of an older generation and she didn’t know if they could or would accept a gay granddaughter. Her fears, like my own, turned out to be unfounded as my Gran came up to me and told me I was very brave and that whoever I love, she would love too. Gran also said that my Gramps might not talk about it much, but he still accepted it. I remember taking a girl round to my Grandparents for the first time and they got on like a house on fire.
"My Gramps lent over to me and said, ‘Well you’ve done well for yourself. She’s a nice bit of crumpet’. Now you can’t get better than that!"
I’ve been Out now for nearly six years and I can only say I wish I had done it sooner. I am Out at work and in every aspect of my life and never again will hide who I am. I also think that it’s important not to be too forceful in declaring ‘I’m a lesbian’ at every turn. I believe that I am no different from my sister in terms of morals or what I want from my life and she doesn’t expect anything for being straight as I don’t for being a lesbian.
Of course we need to fight our battles when it comes to equality and let our voices be heard against narrow minded groups who seem to be spending a lot of effort spreading hate. I believe it’s the tiny things that make a difference when fighting for acceptance within society, parents, friends and relatives. I think you need to show that you are a good person irrelevant of your sexual preference then be a good person. Don’t exclude yourselves from your straight mates or gay mates for that matter. Like people because they enhance your life and are good people. That’s how I live my life.
I have a varied group of friends, some straight some gay, some married, some have kids, single, old, young, interesting, fun and the best thing is that they accept me for me.