by Charlie Hart
I was sixteen when I first concluded that I was bi (thanks, Winona Ryder). I was open about this with my best friend, and my boyfriend at the time, but I was too embarrassed to discuss it with my family or wider social circle.
However, the truth did come out during a sixth form residential trip to the Lake District, over a boozy game of truth or dare. I was a naïve, socially-awkward, bullied, undiagnosed autistic teenager, desperate for validation and acceptance, constantly trying to prove I wasn’t “square” like the bullies called me. Also, finding girls attractive always seemed so normal to me, so I had hoped that among the reactions from other kids would be some nonchalant “so what, me too” or something. Instead, all I got was a barrage of intrusive questions. When it dawned on me that I had over-shared, I got anxious, had a meltdown, fled the scene and eventually phoned my boyfriend in tears (from the playground swings on the chalet site).
In the days following the school trip, the gossip was all around the school. Another friend, from a very religious family, was hostile towards me, because I had gone camping with her the previous year without telling her about my sexuality (I didn’t fancy her anyway).
Things got better at university, in this respect anyway, because I met some like-minded friends through the LGBT society.
That was in the mid-90s. I hope, I believe, that teenagers today are more open-minded and accepting.
Sometimes people don’t come out LGBTQIA+ because they don’t have an accepting environment, not because they are ashamed or not brave enough.
Friends, families, colleagues, teachers, managers and other allies can help provide a safe, supportive environment where it feels OK to come out.
This article was originally published on Charlie Hart’s own site: https://alicewhatsthematterblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/11/coming-out-story/