Thursday, 21 January 2010

Another coming out success

A couple of weeks back, I commented on the Ben Rakestrow, the serving soldier who came out to his mates - a courageous guy in many ways. And here is another great coming out story...

A few years ago I used to read an excellent blog called Closetcase written by a guy called Stuart. He decided to stop that blog and these days he Twitters, blogging very rarely. His blog was very good and I was sorry it ended as his humour was/is very much like mine.

During the last few months of Closetcase, the blog seemed to feature more about the worries of being gay and in the closet and less about his life. I am really pleased to say that Stuart has just told his parents that he is gay and now has a boyfriend (which he refers to as "the boy" which sounds a bit controlling, but never mind). For those who are coming out, his story will be familiar.

Like many gay guys (including myself), Stuart found every excuse not to come out and even used the line many of us have relied on: "I will come out when...". If you hear a guy making excuses and maybe getting defensive too, you know that coming out could easily wait until they are 40+ years old unless they decide to do the deed or are outed (which has to be far worse). I appreciate that it's not easy and for me it was stressful, but I'm glad I did it.

I agree that each guy needs to come out when he is ready and comfortable with his own sexuality, but one excuse that rarely stands up, is that they will wait until the right time. There will never be a right time... people and situations are unlikely to change in their favour. So guys have to decide when and how they will come out.

Stuart has found that having a boyfriend has focused his mind and forced him into making the decision. I suppose that, unless you are forced to make a decision (like having a boyfriend that you don't want to hide), you need to force yourself. Just like my story, Stuart's coming out to his parents was an anti-climax. He wont remember, but I once wrote a comment on his blog saying that he needed a plan to come out and he replied: "you don't know what you're talking about, my Dad will never understand". Like most coming out stories, the reality was nothing like we could imagine and his Dad was fine with having a gay son!

This was what I said in the previous blog posting and I stick to it:

To all of you that are coming out to friends and family, my advice is to get on with it. I am guilty of making excuses in the past and even recently but, without doubt, coming out makes life easier. If you are finding reasons not to come out or saying "I'll do it before I am 30" etc, you are never going to do it and you will find more reasons not do come out in the future. You need to make a plan and do it OR decide that you will never tell a specific person and just get on with your life. If you hide behind excuses or timelines, you are just going to stress yourself out. I am trying to be honest with people and I fail sometimes, but being out to my friends and family is more important than I ever thought it could be.

Please remember, each of us has had years to get used to being gay, so we can at least give our parents, brothers and friends the time to get used to the fact that the person they thought they knew is actually a bit more interesting!

I wonder of those who are in the closet and reading this, do you think that people don't suspect you are gay? There will be some that are professionally closeted, but for the majority, questions will have been asked by family and friends. If you think you no-one knows, you are likely to be very surprised and wrong - they are probably just waiting for you to confirm their suspicions.

So to Stuart and all of those who have "done the deed" recently, congratulations - it's a tough thing to do and takes a lot of bravery. I am not as "out" as I would like to be (at work for example) and my progress of being an out gay man is ongoing but as I've said it so many times before, coming out takes a huge stress out of your life.


  1. Great blog!

    A friend of mine has just come out aged 35 and it was hell to do, but he is so happy now.

    You will probably hate me, but I came out when I was 15. Well, I was actually outed by my brother who found Gay Times under my bed and told EVERYONE! But I was pretty chilled back then and was glad it happened!

    well done Stuart.

  2. Great entry.

    After many coming out experiences, I fail to understand what would prevent one from coming out - it takes loads off one's shoulders, and really helps to understand that people who REALLY love you, do love you unconditionally.

  3. Well done Stuart

    My coming out was pretty stressful and my Dad was a bit shitty for a while. I REALLY dont care what he thinks now - everyone else was great and I am happier than I have ever been. Until I came out (at 35!!!), I didnt realise how unhappy and stressed I was, having to hide my life from people.

  4. Great article Stephen.
    It was a little weird reading someone else’s perspective on my coming out experience, but nevertheless, it was a good read.

    Now that I have done it, I totally agree that coming out is one of those things people shouldn’t really put off doing anymore than they might have to.

    a week on from doing it, and I really wish I had just manned up and done it all those many years ago.

    My Dad's reaction surprised me. After years of coming across as this bigoted homophobe, he actually took the news quite well. I he has told me that although he had he's suspicions, he still was a little shocked, and a little disappointed with the revelation, but at least he has remained civil. I can tell he finds it difficult to talk about, but I hope that will change over time once he gets used to the idea.

    I am just glad it is all out in the open and that i can finally start living my life without having to lie to them and hide away the things that are important to me.

    As for calling my boyfriend "the boy", It's just a way to keep him anonymous online. I would never refer to him like that offline. :-)

  5. Stuart - you'll appreciate I was using you as a fine example rather than only quoting my own situation.

    I do understand that "the boy" would probably not be "your boy" if you called him that in real life!

  6. I just discovered this blog, and spent the last 2 and a half hours reading it.It's a great blog, congratulationes Stephen, I like it very much.I am very happy that you all had such positive experienses, I on the other hand did not.

    Two years ago, I came out to my family.It went really bad, we had a huge fight, and it was a major family crisis.I don't regret telling my parents that I am gay.It really is easier to go on with your life after that.But, unfortunatly they still can't accept the fact that they have a gay son.I continue to comfort my self that they need more time, aldo I believe two years is more than enough.

    However, I encurage people to come out.I was 20 when I did it, and all of my friends never considered it an issue, and life is good again.Not having to live in a lie 24/7.My parents are another storie, but they will come around eventually.

    By the way, I come from Macedonia, and people here have a very different perspective on sexual orientation.