On Coming Out…

It started with a kiss…

School friends whooped and cheered, handing around an illegally obtained bottle of Malibu – the precious, as I shared my first kiss with a girl in my school year, I was 15.

A limp-wristed spin of a bottle had meant that two girls were selected and immediately someone reached forward to spin again, an error, but I was already puckered up and ready to roll. Even though it was something I’d never done before or even really thought about I must say, I took to it like a duck to water.

After that night I started to think about it more and more, dreaming up scenarios where I could orchestrate this divine collision of faces again but after various miscalculated bottle spins, it didn’t come to fruition until I left school for university.

At university I exploded out of myself, meeting new people, different and interesting people that weren’t one colour, sexuality and not even just from the home counties, from THE MIDLANDS and even a couple from THE NORTH.

I quickly partied my way to a first year flunk out and left after the second term to have a rethink about what was going on.

I took a year out and called it a gap year but didn’t do much travelling.

I got my first proper job in a pub and my first proper girlfriend.

She lived in Swindon and I lived in Oxford and I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time at Cineworld Swindon and in the bottom bunk of her bunk bed, they were heady days indeed.

Between my now 4 film per week habit and working full-time I spent hardly any time at home.

I became secretive and moody and hid away from my parents, mainly to avoid any awkward questions which I would feel compelled to answer with lies.

We fought quite a lot which would usually end up with me straight on a train to my beloved Wiltshire retreat. At the time I felt like my mum was a very conservative woman, she was also my idol, I felt like I was everything she didn’t want and she found my request for ‘clothes like a boy would wear’ for my birthday to be quite upsetting.

I resolved in my head that it was best not to tell her anything as I truly believed she would disown me.

Despite this, after 6 months of my almost daily deceitful Southwestern trains commute I decided that I needed to break my silence and bite the bullet with my mum.

I resolved to do this via text, my general MO at the time being 18.

I probably didn’t help the situation by being quite coy about the whole thing, my opening text being

‘I nd 2 talk 2 u abt sumthin’,

… only kidding, even at 18 I used vowels, but the sentiment was the same.

Mum instantly thought I was pregnant or an intra venous drug user which surprised me at the time, considering I was more into The Archers than class As and that I would voluntarily offer, nay beg to have my boyfriends sleep in the spare bedroom rather than with me when they stayed over, which my dad LOVED.

Eventually I crafted a text which got to the crux of the matter, and read along the lines of

‘I think I might be gay, I hope you still love me but understand if you don’t’

(give this girl an Oscar!)

Yes, it was quite dramatic, but at the time it really did feel that way, all or nothing, now or never, me and Swindon town against the world.

My mum was at work and after two hours I’d had no reply. I “DTed” (double texted -when you text someone again without a response to your initial text).

Turns out the DT and even TT would be much employed by me during my future lesbian dating career.

The second text read:

‘This is important to me, so please could you reply’, I know…sassy!

She replies promptly:

‘No probs, love you’.

In one text all my worries were assuaged and a huge wave of relief swept over me.
I finished work that day and headed home where I knew my mum would be waiting.

I don’t regret the textual way I came out to my mum because it gave us both time to compute things.
If I had told her face to face, her reaction may have upset me, a tweak of an eyebrow or an elongated paused before responding, would have had me scuttling back into my closet, full of self-doubt and as a mother I would expect her to react in some way to the news, it is big news.

We sat around the kitchen table, laughing and crying and sharing.

My mum had obviously thought about what she would say to me and told me that at the end of the day, my sex life is nothing to do with her as much as hers is to do with me and that as long as I am happy and healthy and not breaking the law then everything is fine.

That sounds a bit black and white but, it was the positive affirmation I needed and it also took our relationship as mother and daughter forward as we both revealed parts of ourselves that day and I saw her from the perspective of being an adult for one of the first times I remember growing up.

I didn’t ever have a big “come to Jesus moment” with my dad, I didn’t feel like we really have that kind of relationship, I wouldn’t have spoken to him about heterosexual relationships really apart from in quite a superficial way – my mum told him.

She said he worried that it would cause me to come up against discrimination but so far in my life, I luckily have not had that problem.

We still don’t talk much about it but he sent me a book about the Hampstead Heath Women’s pond recently and I felt like that was his way of saying, it’s OK.

I’m really blessed that my coming out experience went so smoothly as many of my friends have either had awful experiences or just know they can never be truthful with their own parents for fear of rejection.

I look back now and see that most of what stopped me telling them sooner though were my own worries and insecurities and I didn’t give credit for how understanding they and other people would be.

What’s been your ‘coming out’ experience?



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Jo

    Your Mum responded similar to mine and your reason for not divulging your sexuality to others was exactly the same as mine. It wasnt really until uni that I came out of my shell and started embracing my sexuality and having relationships, and even when I got a serious girlfriend I didnt tell my mum or dad. I told a couple of friends who were fine about it but I had always had a recurring dream of my mum throwing my things out of the house and telling me “you know why” when i questioned her actions… so in real life I kept schtum so as not to rock any boats.

    My mum found out by being nosey and looking through my old mobile phone texts. she text my gf at the time and asked her if she was in a relationship with me, adding three kisses. despite the kisses we both started having panic attacks and freaked out. i felt terrible because i hadnt even told my twin, but she married a guy from a homphobic family and i felt i would be judged partly by him or even potentially by her. this didnt happen and they were both completely fine about it / had their own suspicions about my gf and i anyway. my mum was thrilled because she could tell her friends and be a ‘trendy mum’ and my dad was a bit disapointed, but only because my mum had hogged all of the hoo haa around it and he felt left out.

    So, yeah, I was really lucky. i have friends whose parents didnt talk to them for months… whose parents still think it may be a phase…. I do count my blessings.

  2. I came out after being unceremoniously dumped for the umpteenth time by my first girlfriend. I was at Center Parcs on a family holiday and my mum did a spot of crying, locked herself in the loo for a bit, then offered to take me to a spa.

    I’m not sure why this was her gut reaction, but she’s always been tolerant and nice to my girlfriend’s since. I don’t think she’ll ever put a rainbow bumper sticker on her car, but she does tell people off for being homophobic now at least. Small things. <3

  3. Emylou

    I’m 33 and have only just come out to my mum and my best friend.
    I knew I was attracted to women since the age of 15 but being from a conservative family and a small town I pushed it to the back of my mind. I was always shy and so it wasn’t difficult to hide behind that.
    When I went to uni I had an amazing two month fling with a girl from Manchester, but it was very much behind closed doors, she was dating one of my housemates at the time. I was in love with her but things just fizzled out as our first year came to an end.
    When I went back home for the summer I fell into a relationship with a man who I was good friends with. Not expecting anything other than a couple of month’s fun I went along with things. He was much more serious than I was. Five years later I fell pregnant…
    Throughout our relationship I was attracted to women but remained faithful and it wasn’t until I changed my career that the cracks became too big to paste over. Almost two years ago we moved to the south as I had got a job down here. It was then I met her. Thrown together by an incredibly stressful workplace we quickly became best friends and grew to rely on one another almost entirely. I knew I was falling for her and that she was single (she’d split up with her girlfriend a few months before). I also knew that I could no longer live a lie with the father of my boy.
    I split up with my partner last May but was too terrified of losing my friend to tell her the truth. I eventually convinced myself that I was going to do it and set a date. Before I got the chance she began dating a guy we worked with (the last thing I was expecting) and now they’re living together. She wants to start a family.
    She was the first person I came out to. She was amazing as was my mum.
    I still haven’t told my best friend that I’m in love with her…

Upcomming Events