Dear Mum and Dad (to read together),
I have something to tell you and I think by letter it would be easier. Please take your time, take in what I'm saying, and never stop trying to see my point of view throughout this letter. Don’t panic, I'm fine.
I bought half a microwave oven. I also pay half the rent. I do half the shopping… with my other half – Jeff.
I’ll start by saying I’ve always known I was different, but wasn’t able to put a word to my feelings until the age of eleven or twelve. It was at this age that I realised I am gay. It may be of a shock to you, maybe not. You may have already known, or you may have always dismissed it like a lot of parents. You probably have a lot of thoughts going around in your head right now, a lot of questions; so I'm going to try and answer as many of them as I can, without knowing everything you might be thinking and feeling, and don’t hesitate to call me once you’ve finished reading.
If you’re sad, scared, worried, or disappointed, the eleven or twelve year-old me experienced all of that one night when he realised he was gay. The thought of accepting that never crossed my mind. I eventually decided to ignore it, to live the rest of my life as “heterosexual”, to marry a woman and have kids. I told myself that for about six years, but knew that I was gay and that that wasn’t what I wanted. Again, the thought of accepting it and moving on never crossed my mind. In fact, it probably never crossed my mind until the night I decided to accept it. On the 9th of May 2011 at around 8pm, all of the lies I had built over my head since I was eleven crashed down on my shoulders.
Eventually I found an opportunity one afternoon and came out to Gabrielle after just three days short of a month. It was incredibly hard just to say “I am gay” due to the stigma around them in society, but I managed after sitting on the wall for half an hour and she was totally accepting of me. I at last had someone I could talk to in person. About a week later, I came out to Tom one weekend. I was a lot less nervous in Tom’s case since Chloe is a lesbian. Fifteen minutes later he’d gone back to talking about exams as if I had just mentioned something in the news, or just as if we’d had a little chat about the weather. It was incredibly reassuring. After that, I came out to Emily over MSN in February 2012 and she was also completely fine with it. Starting university in Bordeaux was a great opportunity to start a new page and start to better accept myself. I joined a LGBT youth association made up of other people like me who had the same questions, which helped me to finally say “I'm gay. So what?”
No marriage. No adoption. Not allowed to give my blood. Homophobia. Second-class citizen. “I'm gay. So what?” So I'm a human being. So I have friends. So I study. So I love somebody. All we want is somebody to love forever. With the closet doors closed: darkness, shame, loneliness. Opening those doors and coming out brought light, pride and showed me who my true friends are. My horizons have widened, but I'm still me. I don’t wear pink jeans, or listen to Lady Gaga, nor have I a sudden urge to run to the nearest clothes store every Saturday. But yes, I want my rights and I’ll do what it takes to get them because I won’t be walked upon any longer. With my association, I’m organizing an event for the International Day Against Homophobia on the 18th May, which is important for me after all the questions I asked myself, to avoid future generations from going through the same ordeal when they realise they’re different. Mum, you wanted me to do charity work, so here I am. I'm working to give hope to those future generations, to those who are less fortunate than me, for those who are kicked out of their homes after having said three words; “I am gay”.
Yes. I've kept a lot from you, and trust me I haven’t liked one minute of it. It’s become even more evident lately, and the idea of the double-life – with those who I'm out to on one side, and those who I'm in the closet to on the other –, is becoming unbearable. I want to share my life with you. All I want to do is make you proud and I can’t do that if I'm hiding from you and making myself feel unworthy of being myself. I suppose when you look at it, this letter didn’t take six hours to write, it took almost two years. I'm going to leave it to you to tell Katie, as I'm sure you’ll find the right time and place. You have no idea how scary it was to put this letter in the post and to now be sitting around waiting for a phone call. When you’ve finished reading this and taking it in, please call me this evening.
I love you both very much,
PS: Here are the receipts for the gluten-free stuff.
Find out what their reaction was in My Coming Out - Part 2 : My Parents' Reaction.