Our lovely president, Jess, has also been kind enough to share a coming out story with us! If you’d like to share a story, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re thinking of coming out, we have a handy guide [link].
I was nervous of coming out just after starting first year at Durham- it had taken me until my last year at school to really admit to myself that I might have these feelings and, compared to the self-assured, extroverted LGBT+ people I believed populated the LGBT+ Association and scene at Durham, I felt like a bit of a fraud. It took a good 6 months or so after that for me to feel certain of my identity and to realise that there is no perfect LGBT+ person who knows everything about the vast scope of our community and every possible identity out there.
I was fortunate that most of my experiences of coming out were incredibly positive. For my parents and the majority of my friends, old and new, it wasn’t really a big deal, and I still pinch myself sometimes to think that I’m lucky enough to have friends and family who actively celebrate who I am with me. It wasn’t all positive however- there are close relatives I still don’t feel comfortable confiding in, and some who outed me to loved ones without my knowledge or consent. Now I’m generally at peace with not being 100% out, 100% of the time- I’ve learned to view coming out as a wonderful thing to be able to do, but not the be all and end all of my relationships with friends and family.
If you’d told fresher me that two years later I’d be President of the LGBT+ Association I really would have laughed at you. I am so much more confident in myself, but mostly I’ve realised that I’m never going to have one moment of amazing revelation and clarity, but an ongoing and constantly evolving process of working out things about myself- including this aspect of who I am. Becoming one of the self assured and happy LGBT+ people I so envied did start with coming out, but has really been about all the other things along the way.