National Coming Out Day -Coming Out Still Matters

Ade: So, 11th October is celebrated as National Coming Out Day and the theme for this year is ‘Coming Out Still Matters’ – what does that theme mean to you?

Darren: For me ‘coming out’ represents something different from the ‘one off’ event many of us consider it. I think that every day we make choices of whether we allow ourselves to be seen and I consider these moments ‘coming out moments’. So it may be talking about our partners, about wanting to find a boyfriend, a book we are reading or even something about a hobby we have. It can be subtle moments where we are faced with a choice – shall I be expressed or shall I divert, go silent, retreat. Continue Reading →

Journeying with The Quest

In December 2012, Gabriel participated in  The Quest Weekend Exploration Workshop. Here he reflects on his journey with The Quest.

Despite being a lot in my head, sometimes I take decisions without thinking too much; I just jump into the water. The Quest was such a case!

Late last year, a friend invited me to the book launch of ‘Love Me As I Am: gay men reflect on their lives‘, which appealed to me because it showed something I could easily relate to – my difficulties in growing up gay. That same evening, when I arrived home, I registered for the next available workshop with The Quest; no further questions asked. Continue Reading →

Reflections on Robbie Rogers Coming Out

“Breaking that silence means emerging from the closet of shame. To proclaim oneself openly as gay is, above all else, to come out of shame – profoundly, to break the silence. This is why the term “Coming Out “ is a shame metaphor’ – Gershen Kaufman and Lev Raphael (Coming Out of Shame – Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives)

I remember being a closeted 22 year old, when the footballer Justin Fashanu came out in 1990. It was the talk of the office, as we all watched from the sidelines to see how the story would unfold. Sadly, that story did not have a happy ending, for whilst Justin had taken the bold and courageous step to come out, he was not met by a world ready to embrace a footballer, who happened to be gay. Regardless of how that story concluded, I continue to be inspired by the courage displayed by Justin, and his story certainly gave me the courage to eventually come out and live my life as an openly gay man.

Robbie RogersYesterday, almost 23 years after Justin became the first openly gay footballer associated with English football, another footballer came out as gay. The player in question was 25 year old, US born Robbie Rogers, who had played for the US and Leeds United. Whilst Justin’s coming out had provided the tabloid press with stories reinforcing certain stereotypes of gay men around the issue of sex, Robbie’s coming out was very different, as he took us on a journey that many gay men travel, in their quest to live an authentic life. Robbie showed us what lies beneath the surface of the masks that many gay men have learnt to wear. In his note, Robbie says –

“Things are never what they seem….. My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers and even different from my family………” Continue Reading →

Coming Out at 48

Mark, a recent participant of The Quest Weekend Exploration Workshop, shares the journey of him coming to terms with his sexuality – and coming out as a gay man, later in life.

1967b BidefordI first noticed I might be relating to the world differently from many other boys when I was very young. My friends at infant school were girls rather than boys. I was timid and avoided the ‘rough and tumble’ play of other boys. Even although as a slightly older child most of my friendships shifted to being with boys, I naturally befriended those who were gentle, more imaginative and more cerebral.  In those early years I also began to sense that not liking team sports, or not wanting to put myself in physical danger, meant that I was not conforming with what the world expected of ‘proper boys’. Although I could see I was not alone in these tendencies, a ‘mis-match’ was definitely becoming apparent. Unbeknown to me, even at this early age, my shame began to insidiously influence my self-perception and behaviour. Continue Reading →