I apologize in advance to the Manhunt Daily reader who contributed this story to our Coming Out Month project! First, I shouldn’t have changed his proper usage of “realise” to “realize”. My stupid American eyes just couldn’t handle the difference of one measly letter…
Second, I probably shouldn’t have interrupted his text with all-too-explicit pictures of Australian porn star Matthew Mason. Much as I adore Matthew’s butthole, it’s not exactly what you want to look at while reading about someone coming out to their mother.
If you can forgive me for these two sins, I invite you all to read a true tale of one man growing into his sexuality and embracing his inner truth. <— This sounds like a cheesy Hallmark card, so you’re welcome to forgive me for a third sin now.
Photo credit: Lucas Entertainment
Click through to read this member’s story (and see more pics):
I didn’t realize the things I fantasized about were queer. I just thought they were what I wanted. My first kiss was a boy up the road named Scott. He was my best friend, and we would play husbands and wives. I was always the wife, which was cool. Then we’d go to bed. He’d lay on top of me, and we’d kiss. We thought that was all husbands and wives did. Well, I did.
Then, one day, he suggested that we try it with tongue. I said okay. I was hooked. I was 5.
He moved away to Perth, WA five years later, and I haven’t seen him since. Scott, if by chance you read this, I’d love to get back in touch.
When I was 10, my parents took me to a farm in NSW for a square dancing weekend. Sometimes, the numbers were short and I‘d end up dancing as the girl. It always excited me when that happened, and to this day, I’m not entirely sure why I find being led in dancing so erotic.
Anyway, there was one man there who was a little creepy, but I used to fantasise that he’d follow me into a toilet and fondle my bum. It never happened, which I am now grateful for, but at the time I was disappointed. Kids, huh?
I first came out to myself when I was 15.
I’d always been aware of my attraction to other boys, but I just put it down to having a crush. One day, on the bus back to school after Thursday afternoon sport, a friend and I stood up in our respective seats. His seat was behind mine. The bus lurched forward as it came to a stop, and his crotch came into direct contact with the back of my hand. I still remember the feeling, and I knew I wanted to feel that some more.
That was the moment that I realized I was gay.
It didn’t bother me, but I knew I had to keep it secret. I developed the largest crush on this Italian boy after that incident, and he was the center of my wank fantasies until I left school at eighteen.
The first person I came out to was my friend Stephen. We were in school in math class in 1999. I remember it vividly, because it was also the day of my driving test, which I passed despite what I thought was a glaringly obvious error.
Anyway, we were talking about how everyone is a bit bisexual, and he told me that he was. So I told him I was too. He then told me he was kidding. I don’t know why, but I looked him in the eye and said that I wasn’t. He was stunned.
The teacher started the lesson, but I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. I had to do something else. So I wrote him a letter telling him how I had always felt this way and would he keep it to himself.
I, of course, made the error of telling him in the letter who I was crushing on. Not the Italian—that one I take to my grave—but another boy who was a mutual friend. He was just so attractive to me.
Anyway, word got back to him, and our friendship was strained after that. One lesson I take from that is that the most humiliating thing to a straight guy is knowing that a gay guy thinks he’s sexy. Or it was at the time. I still stay tight lipped about who I’d love to play with, for fear that there would be physical injury as a result.
I knew deep down that there was no way in the world that Stephen would keep it to himself, and sure enough, a few days later my best friend at the time, Ben, was acting a little strangely. I asked him what was up. He told me what he’d heard. I confirmed it.
He told me that he wasn’t upset that I’m gay, what hurt him was that I didn’t feel I could trust him with it. I told him I was terrified of losing his friendship because of his religious nature. He understood but told me that it would never have happened anyway.
Indeed, at my lowest points, at times when I have seriously thought about how I could take my own life, Ben has been the first person to jump into the fray with me and talk me back from the edge. I still consider him one of my best friends, and I love him for being there for me.
Just before the 2000 Summer Olympics, I had met a guy online named Patrick who said that he found me interesting. After awhile, he said he wanted to meet and see how things went. I was still a virgin at this point, and I was attracted to this boy. Sex never entered my head as a real possibility, but I wanted to meet him to see if there was a spark and maybe start dating.
I went to Sydney a couple times to meet him, but nothing ever came of it. We’d go to the movies, and then I’d go back home to Newcastle on the train. I found out later that he’d told a mutual friend he was going to surprise me by kissing me while we were at the movies.
As you can imagine, having a low self image at the time, I was devastated. I haven’t seen him since he was mugged during the Olympics, and he said that he didn’t have any feelings for me anymore. At the time, I thought they must have been beaten it out of him, but now I think he just didn’t want me. Which is cool. I don’t grudge him that, and if he were willing now, I’d be friends with him.
Coming out to my family was the hard part.
Shortly after Patrick dumped me and told me about the mugging, I just couldn’t contain it any longer. I was sitting on the lounge watching TV, and I just burst into tears. My mum, who was on the phone, rushed over and asked what was wrong.
For awhile, I just bawled my eyes out and held onto her tightly. When I could talk again, I just told her about how a friend of mine had been beaten up in Sydney. She asked me why that upset me so much.
I don’t know how the conversation led to it, but I distinctly remember using the words, “Well, I’m not straight if that’s what you’re asking”.
Her response after a few seconds: “Are you sure?”
That actually made me laugh, despite how ludicrous it is. We talked about it for about half an hour and agreed that we should keep it between us for the time being. I know that at some point she told my Dad, but he and I never once spoke about it, and when he was laying in bed, wasting away with cancer, I was never able to voice my sorrow if I had disappointed him. My mum assures me that he was not upset by it, but deep down, who knows?
After that, I decided that online I would not hide myself or who I am. My Facebook and other non-hookup social media sites all have on them that I am gay and will not tolerate any homophobic crap. Friends and relatives have all been supportive. The last two people I have to come out to are my sister and brother.
My sister asked me to be a godfather to my nephew shortly after he was born. It was the right time, so I said to her, “Mum said that she’s talked about this with you, but I need to say it anyway. Leanne, I would be honoured to be his godfather, but you do realize I’m gay, don’t you?”
Her affirmative answer that it doesn’t change the fact that she loves me and I am always welcome to see her children was a huge weight off my mind. I was terrified, you see, of her husband David. He had given me the impression before that he was not welcoming of gay people, and I was terrified he would try to stop me seeing the children. Thankfully, it didn’t come to be.
Indeed, the day of the christening, I was the first person he handed my godson to, as he patted me on my back. Oh, and my sister’s reaction to my Mum was exactly what we expected. “You shouldn’t have let him wear your shoes when he was 4!” I’m assured it was in jest, but it still cracks me up.
I’ve yet to officially come out to my brother, but his girlfriend assures me he knows about it and still loves me. I didn’t think he’d be a problem. His best friend in school is gay.
Nowadays, I don’t hide that I’m gay, but I don’t make a point of telling new people either. I’m out at work, and aside from a few disparaging bits of graffiti ranging from “Fag” to “He should be put down”, it’s been pretty smooth sailing for me. I don’t get upset by gay jokes and even make sure to take them too far, just to make people squirm for fun.
There’s only one place that I’m tight lipped: The cricket field.
I’m an umpire in the competition immediately below state level, and I don’t want to ruin my chances of going further, even though the powers that be drum into us that our ability to umpire is the only thing looked at.
So, I’m about to turn 31, and I don’t feel too bad today. Like everyone, I’d like a bit more sex in my life. Hell, right now, I’d settle for any. But it’s all good.
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