Coming out never really gets any easier – and you will probably never have to stop doing it. That feeling of terror rises up inside of you, that makes you feel like you might vomit, never really goes away. Even if it’s only for a fleeting second before you blurt out the words, there is always that ‘what if?’
As you learn to become okay with it though and realise that if somebody can’t accept this part of you then they probably don’t deserve you – the reactions matter less. It helps that you’ve generally got a lot of the big “comings-out” out the way. Your family knows, your friendship group knows, the key figures in your life are aware; everyone else is just the periphery.
But what if you haven’t? And what if they’re not?
This is the position I find myself in, and I guess that makes this my coming out letter.
I lead an odd existence where my university friends only really know me as someone who dates women, so it confuses them that my family don’t know that about me.
It’s not that I’ve kept it a huge secret, it’s just that I haven’t been asked – or, at least not since I’ve been comfortable with my sexuality. That sick feeling I was talking about earlier, it’s really off-putting.
If I had come out every time I had talked up to it in my head, I would have probably done it 100 times, but I haven’t even done it once. It’s not that I don’t think they’d support me or that they’d disagree, my parents are wonderful and I think they probably know already. This is unlikely to surprise them.
It’s just never felt like its been the right time – there’s always been too much else on, there’s always been an excuse. I always said I would tell them when I got a girlfriend, but I made my excuses and never did.
I used to say it was because I wasn’t sure – I didn’t want to get it wrong. I didn’t want to come out and then realise that actually I wanted to date men. What I’ve realised is being wrong doesn’t matter, if it’s who I feel I am at that moment, then its right. Even if it does change, so what? We, as people, are fluid; we change. Changing doesn’t make who I was false or, who I am, a mask. Regardless of my sexuality, I am me. I am a bundle of contradictions and that’s okay.
As it stands, I have known I’m not straight since I was 14, I’ve been comfortable with that since I was 18 or 19, and now I’m nearly 22. I’ve had a girlfriend, I’ve publicly identified as gay countless times, I’ve been in love – and I haven’t been able to talk to two of the most important people to me about that.
I’ve waited so long and the longer I have waited, the higher the mountain to climb has become, and I’m not waiting any longer.
I don’t want to live a double life. I don’t want to be involved in LGBT activism and still in the closet. I don’t want to hide.
So I guess, here it is, my coming out:
I am Emma Healey, as it stands I am interested in women. It might stay this way – it might not. All the matters is who I am now – and that person is happy.