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For LGBT History Month, Deanna MH talks about her experience with coming out.

I came out for the first time approximately three years ago, at first as bisexual, now I am probably more inclined to say I am gay.

The first friends I told reacted as I hoped. I begged that in light of my sexuality they did not treat me differently; they did not. They showered me with love, support and I remain grateful to this day, for their generosity and warmth.

The reaction of my parents however, resembled a very different story.

Growing up in working class Wales, a town whose ‘entire community [has been] slung on the slagheap’ according to a recent Guardian article, the social attitudes embody a plethora of prejudices.

My father had repeatedly told me of how in his childhood he went ‘faggot bashing’, and that he hoped to God that none of his children were gay.

An overwhelming sense of anxiety and adrenaline rushed through my body as I begged he stopped talking about it.

Anxious to get it off my chest and tell at least one member of my family, I called my mother. She did not take the news particularly badly, apart from the classic ‘it’s just a phase’ comment.

It seemed fine at first, and I did not feel I was asking too much of my mother – or myself.

As time went on, my mother increasingly found it unbearable to keep the news from my father and I became depressed, feeling constantly like a burden and a liar in my own home.

Additionally, I became incredibly sensitive with regards to my discovered sexuality and the homophobic rhetoric my dad previously spouted was now far too much for me to handle.

It is important to consider how marginalised groups will have mental health problems and stress induced by situations specific to them.

Eventually, one day at dinner, my dad dominated the conversation again with homophobic comments. He used the words ‘faggots’ and ‘dykes’. He told of his ‘faggot bashing’ days.

I felt sick. An overwhelming sense of anxiety and adrenaline rushed through my body as I begged he stopped talking about it.

My comments met the response ‘I can say what I like in my own house’. Suddenly I snapped. I burst into tears, and practically screamed I was bisexual.

I found it too much to live at home. I could only stay for around three days, without feeling impending anxiety.

Despite building up the reaction in my mind, I did not anticipate what followed. My father screamed, he suddenly stood up and in one quick motion threw his plate and many of the dining plates against the wall, shattering them instantly.

Red in the face, he screamed asking why I had chosen this and if I had done it to hurt him. He accused me of lying and began to angrily cry, smashing and punching anything within the vicinity of his fists.

I begged my mother to make him stop, but she screamed back claiming I had placed a burden on her too hard to bear, and that I was selfish.

The shouting and the anger continued. My dad, a very confrontational man, edged towards me, eyes bulging. He cornered me in the kitchen cabinet. I was scared, I couldn’t move my body, and then his hands were around my neck – an act he denies to have committed to this day.

Coming out is an incredibly emotional moment for any LGBT+ individual. ‘Being in the closet’ can be incredibly taxing on one’s mental health and many people say after they’ve come out that they feel a great sense of freedom and liberation.

Following the incident, I found it too much to live at home. I could only stay for around three days, without feeling impending anxiety.

I am still sometimes subject to homophobic verbal abuse, and I am treated differently because of it.

Many LGBT+ individuals have unfortunately experienced even worse than what I have, some are not able to come out, and some are unable to admit even to themselves who they are. I hope that one day, the process becomes easier and the notion of ‘coming out’ is an unwarranted act.

Unfortunately, that day is not quite here, and the act of coming out remains an individual struggle for everyone on the LGBT+ spectrum, especially as you never stop coming out.

But what can be said, from my experiences, and from the experiences of so many people across the LGBT+ spectrum, is that it gets so much better – in fact it gets amazing.

I feel electric and excited about who I am, and since coming out I do not feel like I need to hide who I am from anything or anyone.

Coming out, and being gay can be the single most exhilarating and liberating experience of your life, and the excitement that follows and the bonds you form with people going through similar situations are second to none.

Since that incident three years ago, I have found my mental health and my general attitude to life in a significantly better place.

I feel electric and excited about who I am, and since coming out I do not feel like I need to hide who I am from anything or anyone.

For me it didn’t just get better, it got amazing…

I have been the Social Secretary for the amazing LGBT+ society, where I met the most amazing people, including my current Facebook wife.

I have proudly involved myself in trans and asexual awareness weeks and have loved standing with my fellow gays at events like Student Pride in London and at the Pride March in Bristol.

I met my incredible girlfriend, who I have been with now for over a year. I made the most incredible friends, some of whom I will live with next year, and many I will cry to in OMG to as I graduate in 2018.

My relationship with my family has improved. Although the verbal abuse continues, it has simmered down and I am extremely optimistic that it will cease.

My mother now asks after my girlfriend and even bought her a Christmas present. Even my wider family now know and after a stunned silence on Boxing Day, they accepted it and asked me about it.

Being able to express yourself, that is, your completely authentic self, is one of the keys to mental wellbeing.

So as we surround ourselves by the excitement of LGBT+ history month, yes; we commemorate the hardships we have had to face. We think about the hardships we still must face – my coming out story to my parents is an example of that.

But what’s more is that we celebrate the progress and achievements we have made. Progress isn’t linear and we as a community have so much to be proud of as we continue to achieve, and excel, and love, and be ourselves in the face of adversity.

I have found an incredible sense of joy following my self-liberation as a gay woman and as we proudly saturate ourselves in LGBT+ history month – a momentous occasion celebrating our strength and resilience – I am optimistic about the future for LGBT+ people.

For me it didn’t just get better, it got amazing, and I believe that this notion will continue for our movement as a whole.


Thank you Deanna for this great piece. Let us know what you thought at our social media.

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