Thijs'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 Thijs’s story for you!
Growing up, I was always very shy and into myself. As if I already knew I was guarding a secret. I was also not your typical tomboy, loved staying indoors, playing computer games and yes, I also played with dolls…
My parents couldn’t have been more lovely throughout the whole thing though. They gave me a Barbie one time for Christmas and many times my mom would, out of the blue, mention that it would not matter if me or my twin sister turned out to be gay. She knew. My dad knew. Even I somewhere knew but I was in full force denial up until I was 18. At 16 years old, I even tried dating a girl once. She was head over heels in love and felt so safe around me (naturally). I was panicking every time we met because I knew it was just a cover-up, afraid to go sexually where I very much didn’t want to go.
I moved to the big city, Amsterdam, first chance I got, still firm in the closet. I was doing an internship at a hotel and had a gay colleague. He was basically my first one on one gay contact and I was so fascinated because he was one of the first gay couples to get married, so I had to talk about it, even to my parents.
While talking though, I never mentioned my own sexuality. Until one night, after coming home from a late shift, my mom was done with me dodging the bullet and flat out asked me if I liked boys as well. I was so caught off guard, that before I could compose myself, I said yes!
The beauty of it all was that she didn’t ask me if I was gay, which felt like a whole identity I had to suddenly take on, she asked me if I liked boys. To this day, I’m not sure she knows how important that phrasing was at the time. It felt like I could answer truthfully, without getting the stamp society needed to put on.
That night, my parents and me stayed up until 3.00 in the morning, celebrating, drinking wine, cheese plate on the side. Halfway, my twin sister walked in the room, wondering why we were still up. My mom gave me the subtlest look as if to ask me if she could tell her. I nodded and she told my sister, again with the same perfect phrasing. She was also immediately fine, but for some reason, very surprised. Despite being twins, we are two severely different people, so our running joke to this day is, the only thing we have in common, is that we both like men.
I know I’ve been immensely fortunate with a family like this. My mom even helped me by telling family and friends in phases, demanding they keep it to themselves, so I still had some (false) sense of control.
Since moving to Amsterdam, I started encountering (closeted) LGBTQI+ folks, who sometimes do not have a family like mine, so I always want to be the person to them, which my family was to me. I work in nightlife and all my projects have a safe space for LGBTQI+ at its core, because it’s vital to have someone in your corner or somewhere to go during those confusing times finding yourself or simply feeling safe to explore even more!
If anyone reading this needs an ear, a shoulder or a hug, I’m available, you’re not alone. Not ever.