Adam’s Coming Out Story
I was in primary school when my best friend asked me, “Since when are we gay?” I got such a fright that I jumped on my bike and cycled home as fast as I could. I ignored my friend for weeks afterwards. This wasn’t something I wanted to know or think about. At the age of eleven I already knew what the Afrikaans community thought of ‘moffies’, and I didn’t want to be on the other end of that kind of rejection.
Through high school I kept suppressing my latent homosexual feelings. I went to an all boys school, and I’m sure you can imagine the attitude they had towards gays. I hid as deep as I possibly could in my closet. But when I was alone in my room I still fantasised about men. I secretly looked at the other boys’ asses and pretended not to stare when they put on their PE kits. My safe haven was the art classroom, where I could totally be myself.
When I was 16 my mum sent me to a psychologist since she was worried about me being depressed the whole time. I told the psychologist that if I told her what the cause of my depression was I would have to kill myself. She nevertheless kept engulfing me with unconditional acceptance.
In the art classroom and the psychologists office I started, very slowly, to accept that I will never change. I started toying with my sexuality in my art. I also started to feel safe enough to let the the psychologist in on my secret.
At the end of Matric I had the courage to tell a friend that I am gay. I will never forget the day. It was the 18th of November and we had just came out of the cinema. I offered to buy him coffee and we had a heart to heart in the coffee shop. He broke the ice by telling me that at the beginning of the year he went through a rough patch with his girlfriend and had thought that he might be bisexual. I told him that I felt the same, but leant over more to the gay side. It was so easy. It just came out. And it was met by full acceptance. No judgement. It was a very comforting experience. It also set a trend for me coming out to people in the future…
Going to varsity was a very liberating experience. No one really cared what your inclinations were. Everybody did their own thing and went their own way. Everybody was mature and accepted people for who and what they were. I joined the student newspaper and found my first boyfriend. I took him home but never introduced him as my boyfriend. I was still in the closet with my family…
Around my 21st birthday I had a bit of an existential crisis. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was already on my second course at university. My family and I went out to a very snazzy Thai restaurant for my birthday. Ironically enough, it was the 18th of November. Drama queen that I am, I decided beforehand that this would be the ideal time to tell everyone about my ‘artistic inclination’, as one friend referred to it. My speech on the evening consisted of two parts: me being gay, and that I don’t have any direction in life and am quite unhappy about it. My family took it very well. They all decided to focus on the latter part of my speech. Everyone took their turn to tell me how much they love me and that everything would work out in the end. Lots of tears were shed. It was extremely heart-warming. No judgement. No rejection. Only unconditional acceptance.
Today I am happily married to the most amazing man I could find. He is soft spoken, sensitive, loving, artistic and extremely handsome. And my family loves him more than they do me…!