My name is Bert. I am 24 years old and I am gay. You probably think that this is a strange introduction, but I had trouble with saying this out loud from the age of 14 to 22. You can imagine how difficult this journey has been for me.
After seeking help at NiceDay myself, I want to inspire people with a series of blog posts and help them with their coming out. I also want to share with you how I deal with discrimination and other difficulties that I experience in my daily life. At the age of 14 I realized for the first time that I like boys. It was a simple kiss at school camp that opened the doors to a very beautiful world. But in this world I lived a double life. At home we regularly had conversations about boyfriends, girlfriends, sexuality and orientation. When I was growing up my father once said:
If you ever become gay I’ll kick you out of the house.
Ouch …. I suddenly realized that I was in a very difficult situation. At home, but also at school. I did not have a great time at school. For example, I felt uncomfortable to be in the dressing room surrounded by a group of boys whenever we had PE. After a while, what I feared so much happened; I accidentally stared at a boy a little too long, and people immediately started cursing at me. I ignored the abuse and pretended to hear nothing, but I felt deeply hurt.
This example is one of many incidents that let me stay hidden in the closet for years. Somewhere during high school I had an encounter with a classmate who could not handle people from the LGBT community. I often got insulted and harassed. At that time I was a bit older and I had a lot of bottled of feelings. I was so angry at him. There were a lot of arguments in the classroom between me and this guy. This whole period made me feel very insecure, scared, sad and above all very angry about the injustice that was done to me.
Fortunately there were people with whom I felt connected. In the last period of high school I had a good friend, we followed the same class, to whom I dared to tell the truth. After 8 long, debilitating years, I carefully dared to say that I like boys. After speaking out the words out loud for the first time, I got a big hug. One that said more than 1000 words. From that moment on it was like a domino effect. I told other friends about my orientation and most of them responded with the same reaction:
Bert we are so happy that you are finally telling us, but we have known it for so long already.
Telling my family
However, I did not find complete peace yet. That statement my father made 8 years ago still haunted me. After a very tough conversation with my mentor and a teacher who is openly gay, I drove home with a mission. I have never been so nervous and scared in my life, would I really be kicked out? Does this mean the end of the relationship with my father?
There I was, sitting at the dinner table. My mother asked me why I was not eating. I did not have an appetite, I felt so sick. My father and sister already finished their plate and went upstairs. And then with a lot of effort and tears I finally said to my mother “I like boys”. My mom started crying and said “finally Bert, you are going to find peace finally. I have already known it for so long. After that I called my sister to come down. I told her my story and I got exactly the same response as from my mother.
The last one I told my story to was my father. After having said what I wanted to say, my father did not answer. He said nothing for the whole evening. At least I was relieved that I was not kicked out of the house. However, his reaction has left some scars. In my next blog I am going to tell you how I have dealt with this situation.
Start the conversation
Coming out of the closet is a big step. It’s quite an event for you and your close friends and family. There will always be people who do not understand your situation. Nevertheless try to start the conversation. You are who you are and people who care about you will accept you as you are.
How was your process of coming out? How did it go?