Saturday, 8 March 2014

Young At Heart

I never realised before how lucky I was.

Because I’ve known I was gay for a really long time.

As in... a really long time.

For example, when I was 8 my parents let me and my siblings share a laptop, I would look up naked lady pics and when my parents checked the internet history, my brother got blamed.
 

 Sorry brother.

Or when I found my Dad’s porn stash and wasn’t grossed out, just really interested.

I’ve kept diaries in one form or another since I was about 10, and I vividly remember writing in one that I thought I was strange because I didn’t like boys like my friends did.
 

I’d known for a long time I was gay, but had no name to put to it or even realise there were other people like me. I just thought I was a bit of a weirdo. When you’re little, you think you’re the first person to discover homosexuality. The only gay in the world.

I accepted I was gay when I was about 15 and my boyfriend dumped me because I wouldn’t shag him (a reasonable reason for a 17 year old lad). And I didn’t start coming out until 2 years later, when I was sure of myself and more importantly, not living at home so I wouldn’t have to deal with my Mother’s wrath every day.


Now, I absolutely adore the LGBT community. I’m constantly amazed by the power of it. I was in a foreign country where I didn’t wholly speak the language and I immediately could find a group of awesome people who accepted me and helped me expand my gay German lingo.
 

But what I’ve noticed over here in Germany, is that all my gay friends seem to have come out very late, or in fact, still haven’t come out at all.

At 28, my friend J is doing her nut trying to work out how to tell her parents she’s gay, and was horrified when I suggested they might already have an inkling, being that she’s 28 and has never shown even the slightest interest in boys.

Another friend, who’s 29, was telling me how nerve wracking it was introducing her girlfriend to her Dad over Christmas, because she only came out in November.

Then of course there is my friend Russia, who is out to me and about 2 other friends and swings between being fiercely proud and deeply ashamed of who she is.
 


So I’m feeling pretty lucky.

Lucky that I’ve known who I am for a long time. Lucky that I lived in a country that (on the whole) is pretty accepting of gays, and lucky that my siblings were awesome about the whole thing.

One sibling didn’t care. One thought it was hilarious. And one was really weird around me for 6 months or so and then worked out nothing had changed.
 

But Germany has an entirely different way of going about further education. In England, you can leave Uni and be in full time employment with a bachelor’s degree by the time you’re 21.

In Germany, pretty much everyone takes a gap year or 2 after their exams at 18. Then University takes 4 years, then once more, pretty much everyone takes some kind of further education like a Masters and then a PhD. So a lot of people are 26 and coming out of Uni to look for a job.


Now, I did a lot of my “growing up” in Uni. I learnt a lot about myself and matured a whole heap. And all that was squished into 3 little years.

(I did no growing up in my gap year. I may have even regressed a little. It’s amazing how whorish it was working at a Catholic youth camp for a year.)
 

So now I’m this weird little English girl in Germany who’s about 5 years younger than all her friends but also been out for 5 times longer. They ask a lot of questions. And they’re questions that I can only give anecdotal answers too, because that’s all I have.
 

Which I’m sure is very interesting, but also entirely unhelpful.

So to all those people out there biding their time to come out; if you want to wait, then wait. But know that there will never be a "good" time for it.

It will always be awkward.

But not as awkward as it would be if I ever told my Brother that it was my fault that he was banned from the computer for 6 months for getting viruses on the laptop from nudey sites.
...That’ll just stay our little secret.

-T

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