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This coming out story will inspire you to tell your own more often

Written by gaytourism

Tom has justed started a new YouTube channel to tell coming out stories from all around | Photo: (Supplied) Proud Crowd

I had been told from the age of 16: ‘I don’t mind you being gay but don’t rub it in my face’.

It was my understanding, this was not homophobic, but an acceptable opinion I had to believe.

I learned that to display affection and love towards a man in front of people, was simply wrong.

As a young man, this created a sense of shame in my identity. Especially as there was a hypocrisy around straight relationships being allowed to display affection at home, and in society.

When I finally started to understand what being gay was, I realized the identity, was about more than love and dating. It is also the opportunity to be myself and not having to suppress who you are.

Discovering you are LGBTI isn’t the end. It’s actually just the beginning of a beautiful journey. No matter how complicated the situation may be.

Tom as a teenager | Photo: Supplied

Tom as a teenager | Photo: Supplied

‘People don’t really need to come out anymore, do they?’

A few months ago I was talking to a close friend of mine about coming out. I would definitely consider them an LGBTI ally. But they still asked:

‘people don’t really need to come out anymore, do they?’

This comment did not upset me nor make me angry. But it did shock me.

At that moment I decided to tell her my coming out story. One that even myself was easier, in comparison to many.

Just because we celebrate Pride once a year and the gay marriage laws have been passed in the UK – does not mean individuals don’t need to come out. Nor does it make coming out a walk in a park.

The idea of ‘easy’ is hard to accept when those who are coming out often experience worry, confusion, self-loathing and fear of rejection.

It is easy for any of us to say things aren’t as bad as they were but regardless one person’s pain and experience is their own and should never be compared or weighed up against another’s.

Just because things are considerably better in the UK compared to other parts of the world does not make coming out any easier.

Proud Crowd promo image | Photo: Supplied

Why don’t we speak about coming out more?

We are fortunate enough to be in a generation with social media and online platforms to tap into.

Being aware of others self-discovery journeys is so useful when going through your own. It can be a valuable tool before you dive headfirst into the uncharted waters of your own coming out.

As a gay man with many queer friends, I don’t think we talk enough about our stories of self-discovery and coming out in general.

Is it because it is easier to shy away from our past than it is to look it in the face? Or is it because we worry about going back to the place we have spent our whole lives trying to get away from?

Don’t get me wrong we do not need to sit and speak about this every day. But how often do you ever sit and share with your queer friends your coming out experiences?

I always find every time I do I feel more connected to the person I’m talking to. It becomes more apparent I was never alone, although I had felt it.

I just started Proud Crowd, a YouTube channel for people to tell their coming out stories, for this exact reason.

I firmly believe having these online platforms can help alleviate isolation. And for the most trapped can save lives

Looking back now I wish I had platforms like this. Because everyone deserves to feel included, everyone, deserves to feel safe and everyone deserves to know that they are enough.

Watch Episode One of Proud Crowd now:

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More from Gay Star Students:

This is what it’s like to be a gay child in the care system

Education campaigner says LGBTI teachers should stay in the closet, gets called ‘a dinosaur’

I’m gay and a homophobe – now I understand why

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