After a few months, I told some close friends and liaised with other gay and lesbian people. When other people in my school, who'd had their suspicions for a while, cottoned onto my new social life, I decided to "go public". This had mixed reactions and I've taken some stick, but for me, the boost in my self-steem and the feeling of freedom was great.
However, when I told my family, I didn't really listen to them, and let my freedom get the better of me, and this caused tension between us. My advice for gay, lesbian and bisexual people coming out to their family would be to make sure you are clear with them, let them get used to it and give them time. I think it's important not to hide anything, but be careful - remember you have the rest of your life to enjoy yourself.
Telling my mom was the best decision I ever made because I can tell her anything and she will be honest. When I came out to my mum I told her I was being bullied and it all came out. She was mad at me being bullied so she went to school and got it sorted for me!
We all go through that 'crazy head' stage when we start to wonder if we are really gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or transsexual, all the questions, worry and thoughts running round in your head. I remember it well, and it isn't a nice place to be, I call it the 'crazy head' stage because that's how it was, and the only way to describe how it felt, waking up every morning still not sure if your into boys or girls.
The experiment stage can be quite fun, but you have to get there, you have to get from the 'crazy head' stage to.......... and say "OK!" You feel you need to justify it to yourself when really you have no need to do so.
Luckily most of us get there in the end and manage to find the few encounters that help us to start and clear out the 'crazy head'.
I'm glad to hear that more and more young people are getting over that stage more quickly, and far more pain free than say a few years ago.
Being gay is part of your life, it's part of your personality and guides your life more than you can imagine whether you follow the life on the gay scene or not.
I remember waking up on the first morning I actually knew I was gay, I had a little lump in my tummy and it had changed from fear to excitement. All of a sudden I wanted to live my life, I wanted to get out there and find the guy of my dreams.
Being gay is nothing to be ashamed of, or worried about, you don't have to go to marches and fight for equal rights, but you shouldn't hide your sexuality from anyone either.
By 'coming out', I knew that I was not only letting people know that I am happy with my sexuality, but I was proving to myself that it's ok to be 'out' and gay, to live my life as I wish, and that I don't have to hide from anyone any longer.
The day I came 'out' to my mum, that feeling like I had the lump in my tummy came back, just for a short time, until I thought about the right way to tell her, but as soon as I told her that feeling went. My mum replied, "Don't worry darling, we'll still love you no matter what", and she asked why I never told her sooner. I then started telling the rest of my family, starting with my dad, sister and brother-in-law. Again, worrying about their response but the tummy feeling wasn't there, so I guess I was only really worried about telling my mum.
Over the past two and a half years I have found out who my true friends are and who are not. Out of a wide range of friends I can say I have at the most six friends out of the group from when I was younger that still talk to me since finding out I'm gay. But, I look at it like this - the straight friends who don't talk to me, well, I have found better gay friends that I know won't let me down.
I was just 17 when I came 'out' and yeah, looking back there are things I would change but as I was told when I came 'out', and I would say this to anyone younger than me who is concerned about 'coming out' - 'Coming out' is the start of the rest of your life, it's the start of a new beginning, of a happy and exciting life that in the end will lead to happiness.
Once you have initially 'come out' it does get better, you work methods of dropping it in to conversation without even opening your mouth. You can say 'it' with a proud look on your face, without mumbling it and confusing your words and the best bit is you stop shaking!!
Everyone is different! Everyone has had different experiences of 'coming out', some stories are funny or happy, others are not, but you have to remember that coming out is something you should do for you.