I Came Out At 16, And Every Day Since.

How my “coming out story” is a forever changing dialogue.

Bekk Escott
May 14, 2019 · 4 min read
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Photo by Harry Quan on Unsplash

I remember the day well, I was a nervous wreck but I was ready to tell my truth.

The blood rushing through my body felt thick, heavy, and as if there was not enough to go around. My palms were sweaty, I was, quite frankly, freaking out.

Coming out to my family was a big deal. These are the people closest to me, the ones who loved me the most, and while I knew I was lucky enough to have a liberal mother who has gay and lesbian friends, it was a terrifying thought.

When I told my mum, when I finally had the courage to utter those words, her reaction was… not much. She had pretty much guessed anyway, and as I said — she had LGB friends and family, she didn’t care. That’s great and all, and don’t get me wrong — I will never take for granted how lucky I am to have an extremely liberal, non-judgemental and understanding family — however, it wasn’t enough. I felt, deflated. Coming out what such a big deal in my head, it wasn’t that much wanted an argument, a debate or even a shocked reaction. I just wanted, something. I wanted my mum to be proud of me, of my coming to terms with myself and accepting who I am — aware of the judgement and hatred that would await me in the world.

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Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Fast forward 12 years, I told my mum how I felt about her reaction, or lack thereof. She was saddened, and wished she had given me more, as she hadn’t realised how big of a thing it was for me at 16.

Now though, I’m not sure I would have liked the reaction I thought I wanted. Over the years I’ve realised that me coming out to my immediate family was only a tiny part of my coming out story — yet people put so much emphasis on it.

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Photo by Chris Johnson on Unsplash

I came out to a “friend” in school, in confidence, who went and told everyone else. The bullying I was already experiencing only increased.

I came out on national television. I was met with apprehension, tears and “it’s just not right” comments, from who was effectively my co-star. I was also met with hundreds of kind comments from internet strangers, passers-by who recognised me, and radio hosts (Scott Mills is a pretty big deal in the radio world here in the UK, hearing him sing my praises at the age of 17 was amazing).

I came out to my colleagues in one of my first paid jobs, my manager went on to treat me like the outcast I felt like, going as far as telling one of my early girlfriends she couldn’t wait in the restaurant for me to finish work — while her husband stood metres away from the tills.

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Photo by Elyssa Fahndrich on Unsplash

I came out to the (male) stranger in the gay bar who decided to hit on me. He was shocked, told me I didn’t “look like a lesbian”, and was frankly flabbergasted that I was not interested in him. He told me I hadn’t found the right man yet. He went on to hit on my friend… still in the gay bar.

I came out to all of my colleagues over the years, indirectly of course. I gradually learnt to not make a fuss. If I ever wanted a world were being gay and feeling the need to come out to the people we meet, I needed to start with my own surroundings — if I didn’t make a thing of it, hopefully they wouldn’t. I’ve been met with a reaction similar to that of my mother’s — not much of one. And that is what made me realise, that’s okay. That’s good. That makes me feel like less of a minority, and more normal.

Of course, all LGBTQ folk are normal — but we can be made to feel the opposite by the reactions of others when we come out to them, whether directly or indirectly. Learning to not give a damn about the reaction I get from slipping my girlfriend into the conversation with a new colleague is one of the greatest lessons I have learnt in my coming out journey. And one I hope that I will become the norm for LGBT people in generations to come.

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Photo by Jana Sabeth Schultz on Unsplash

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Bekk Escott

Written by

A part time writer, studying for my BA (Hons) Degree Creative Writing. My interests include mental health, politics, LGBT rights, fiction, poetry and many more!

Dreams and Stories

Our Dreams, Not mere fantasies

Bekk Escott

Written by

A part time writer, studying for my BA (Hons) Degree Creative Writing. My interests include mental health, politics, LGBT rights, fiction, poetry and many more!

Dreams and Stories

Our Dreams, Not mere fantasies

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