Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm Coming Out Part 1

Everyone has a "summer that changed their lives". Their first boyfriend/girlfriend. Their first kiss. Their first kiss. Simple, innocent things that we all take for granted. After all, when you're a kid you expect to go to college, get a job, meet a girl, buy a house, get married, buy a dog, have kids. Right? Sometimes it doesn't always happen like that.

For as long as I can remember I always knew I was "different". I was a quiet, shy child. I didn't like sports (I have the co-ordination of a length of 2x1 so I can't kick a football in a straight line), I wasn't into girls in the same way the other boys my age were. I liked to draw, read. So that automatically made me a target for bullying. Never physical but worse, verbal.

As I got older, I found myself thinking male celebrities were nicer to look at than female ones. I didn't know why. In some ways my childhood was quite innocent.

When I finally did make the realisation that I was gay, I tried my best to ignore it. I also probably became more introverted. Concentrating on school work. Not letting people get to close in case I let my guard down and they discovered my secret. The night I got my leaving cert results, instead of going out and celebrating with my school friends, I went to the cinema. Alone.

And that's the way it was until March 1999 and something snapped. I'd become very depressed and really didn't want to feel that way anymore. I'd read about an organisation called Gay Switchboard Dublin and eventually plucked up the courage to pick up the telephone and dial the number. The first time I rang I hung up as soon as someone answered. The same thing happened the second time. On the third occassion I talked to the person on the other end of the phone and they listened as I finally said the words "I'm gay". It was the hardest thing in the world to do but by saying those two little words, a huge weight was taken off my shoulders.

I was told about a monthly meeting run by the Switchboard called Icebreakers. It was a safe environment where people who were going through the process of coming out could meet others in the same position. Make friends and explore the scene together. And by some strange quirk of fate happened to be taking place the following night.

I went to the Icebreakers meeting and made some really good friends. I remember walking home from my first visit to the George feeling an incredible high, happy for the first time in a long time.

A couple of months later, in work, one of my friends told me about her cousin who was moving to Dublin and would be staying with her. He was a really nice guy. And he was gay. I decided that this seemed to be as good a time as any to tell her that I had something in common with her cousin. I expected her to be shocked or at least a bit surprised. Instead I got "Oh. I kinda guessed as much. Maybe we can all go out some night?" Talk about an anti-climax! "You free to go to the cinema next Thursday?"


  1. Well done to you. That can't have been easy. Do you have any involvement with the switchboard or Icebreakers now?

  2. Sadly, Icebreakers doesn't happen anymore. As for the Switchboard, I'm not currently a member but have helped out when needed.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Mr Pink.

  4. I know you must have felt scared but then to expose the real you is extremely brave, and to be accepted exactly as you are must be extremely freeing, you must have been delighted with the reaction from the majority of your friends, but I'm sure you've faced your fair share of difficulties too.
    You are (in my experience) a very loving and caring person, a good friend and a lovely man. (also a great drinking buddy, and fantastic guy to hold you up when you've had a few too many).

  5. I was dressed as a bishop the first night I met Pinky (we've known each other for a long time so I get to call him that) and I remember afterwards being told he'd been nervous at being openly gay and meeting new people. Think we all might have disarmed him that night :)

    Where's part 2?

  6. Fair play pinky, that's a great story. Can't wait for part 2. I sense Romance in the air and I like romance.

    I don't know who people's names are so you're still anonymous to me.

    In fairness to your mate, I would say that the average reaction to a coming out of an acquintance/friend is:
    knew it 24%
    didn't know but not surprised 75%
    totally didn't see it coming 1%

    These statistics are 120% true.

  7. Thank you for sharing - it's a very touching story. Nicely described. Really enjoyed it and look forward to the cont...

  8. What a cool well written post, I work with a gay guy who came out a few years back, and I do have to say it must have been a weight of his shoulders cause the guy has totally changed since, so I can fully appreciate what you must have gone through.

  9. Hey there. Story started so sad and I'm sure you felt so isolated but things have obviously changed so much for the better. lovely to see how you "came out" the other side. looking forward to pt 2xx