Joe's Coming Out Story
To celebrate National Coming Out Day and the return of Queersay we reached out to our community to see if they would share their stories with us. We received some lovely personal stories and now, with their permission, we are sharing them with you.
Here is Joe’s story for you!
I have always found the concept of coming out to be interesting as a lot of the time it seems as if we, members of the LGBTQ+ community, only experience it once. However I find throughout my life I have had to come out on several occasions and still do.
My first coming out experience I was around the age of 8. I had known about gay people because of my mum’s friends. I don’t remember a lot from the experience besides telling some of my school friends that I liked boys. I still had “girlfriends” of course because at that age you are trying to fit in with what is happening around you. Most of the friends that I told didn’t really understand it and generally accepted who I was.
Entering high school, now aged 11, was a completely different experience. By this point I knew for sure who I was. I told a few people whom I thought I could trust. Of course not everyone was trustworthy as the news began to spread through my year group and eventually the whole school. I felt incredibly alone and went to the Internet to try and see if there were other people my age going through the same thing. It’s funny to think how many more platforms there are now compared to ten years ago as all I found were gay dating sites, the occasional news article and of course lots of porn. It was after my “research” that I came home from school one day to my mum wanting to speak to me. She told me that she had seen the websites I had visited and wanted to know if I was gay or just curious. I knew my mum would accept me. However that didn’t stop me from falling to pieces. My mum reassured me that it was okay and that she still loved me. At that moment I should have felt a huge weight lifting of my shoulders. Instead I had to focus on getting through secondary school. I endured 5 years of insults, threatening messages through MSN and the occasional physical altercation. Funnily I found that the more accepting and open I was about myself the more I didn’t care about what others thought. It was a tough few years but I wouldn’t change anything about it. It moulded me into who I am today.
I moved to Amsterdam 3 years ago to be among LGBTQ+ people and I have met some amazing people from all across the planet while living here. I have a great network of friends and work in the best gay bar of the Netherlands while also establishing myself as a freelance makeup artist. I have a partner and I finally feel at home. It’s true when they say, “It gets better.”