Coming out was probably the most difficult and most courageous thing I have ever done in my life.
As a child I not only felt different, I was different. I always wanted things that other boys did not want – my friends were girls; I played dressings-up with my mother’s make-up and clothes; Wonder Woman was my idol; I asked for dolls not footballs. So I was ridiculed by classmates and neighbours, taunted and alienated. Life was not easy.
My teenage years were even worse. At secondary school the mockery became cruel. At puberty my feeling of being different intensified. To appear to be one of the lads, I had several girlfriends, but by my late teens I was sick of trying to conform.
Coming out in a small town was not easy. I was lucky though to find security and support in friends facing the same problem, one of whom was Edel.
I met her through a mutual friend. She was a warm, open and caring person. We spent many a night chatting into the wee hours. For me, she was part of our family. This gave me confidence and a newfound sense of happiness.
Eventually I felt strong and ready to TELL my mother about my sexuality. I have always had a close relationship with her and felt she would understand, but she lost it! She said I was going through a phase, I was being ridiculous.
I went to bed distraught. What could I do now? I decided to write a letter to try and describe how I felt.
The following day I was resigned to having to go on as before. My mother came home from work, she too, was distraught. She said she couldn’t get her head around it, that she would need some time to think.
It did take time, but the dialogue had started.
After that day, I felt so much better. My family now loves me for who I am. Unfortunately not every gay person’s family is as understanding.