My Coming Out. By: Kevin ‘Kel’ O’Neil – Founder of STOP-Homophobia.com
Well, people keep sending me their coming out stories, which I love reading and sharing with all of you, they help people to come to terms with who they are. Some are funny and some are traumatic. Lots of you ask me what my coming out story is, so here goes, I suppose it’s only fair lol…
I had always known that I was gay, at 4 or 5 years old I can remember knowing that I was attracted to boys, I just didn’t know what it meant, but I knew instinctively not to mention it to anyone. As I went through puberty at 10/11 I knew for sure, but still said nothing. At 18 I began to be sexually active, with girls, there was no enjoyment in it, it was just what 18 year olds did.
At 23 I had my first sexual experience with a man, and came out to my friends pretty much the same week. A year later I decided to come out to my family via my father.
I am from the north east of England (Newcastle upon Tyne) but at the time I lived in Manchester, so decided to come out by letter. I wasn’t sure what to say so I just wrote the truth – sat down with a pen and paper and just let the words flow. That was the easy part, the hard part was posting the letter. It took about 3/4 of a bottle of vodka before I set off for the postbox, with my letter clutched in my hand.
The next morning I woke up at 7 a.m. and the realization of what I had done suddenly hit me, I got up and dressed and made my way back to the postbox, all the way there I was rehearsing what I would say to the postman when he came to collect the contents of the box, in order to secure the letter’s safe return. Unfortunately the box had been emptied an hour earlier.
For two days I waited for the reply, every possible connotation of the reply went through my head, from total acceptance to exile.
The reply arrived at 9:07 a.m. I can remember the time to this day, 26 years later.
Basically the letter said; “Kevin, this has come as quite a shock, but, you are my son and I’ll love you whatever you do.”
About six months later I was at Dad’s house for a dinner to celebrate the fact that he had been given a medal for donating his 50th pint of blood.
As we all sat around the table chatting and eating, my Dad suddenly asked, “Kevin do you give blood?”
I replied that “as a practicing homosexual it was illegal for me to give blood or carry a donor card”.
To which he replied without missing a beat…”PRACTICING? I would have thought you’d have had it off pat by now!”
Everyone laughed, as well as I, and I knew then that I was totally accepted and that I was totally loved.