Coming Out in the Steel City
Lewis Postans, one of Sheffield’s own, writes about his coming out story within the Steel City:
I knew from an early age that I was ‘different’, ever since I started secondary school there was something telling me that what I thought was right, was wrong. I’d dated girls, quite a few, but for all of them it something felt weird. Never did I stray or be unfaithful to them, quite the opposite, but throughout them all (especially to the latter years) something didn’t seem right. It was around Year 9 when I figured out and accepted that I was infact gay.
But it was my secret.
I hated the fact I was gay, I totally despised it. Life, to me, was to grow up and create a family but now, for reasons I wasn’t in control of; I had lost that. Homophobia and prejudice was highly present in my school (like most other high schools) creating a general feeling that being gay was ‘abnormal’ or ‘morally wrong.’ Before I was out I was popular and happy amongst my friends yet despite it being a blissful cover up I knew I couldn’t keep up the illusion forever. It took me until Year 10 to tell my parents, and the rest of the school; for that matter. It was on June 27th that I did it. Sat in the place I hated, Maths, about to tell my parents. My biggest anxiety was rejection – whether or not my parents would accept me or disown me. I pulled out my phone and sent this exact message
I’ve got something to tell you. Yeah, I’m gay. I wish I could have told you this face-to-face but I’ve never been so scared of telling you something as much as I have today. It might be a shock but I’ve known for years and I now feel I should tell you.
At least you can be rest assured that I won’t end up getting a girl pregnant at a party when I’m hammered :’)
I love you.
That one message took around 5 minutes to write and 50 minutes for me to have the nerve to press send. The moment I sent it I felt two immense emotions. Intense sickness and nervousness; for the reaction of my parents, and the other of relief, for now I was open about who I truly was – as opposed to hiding in the shadows. I took a friend home with me that day, in case anything kicked off I would have her as support. All my friends were fine with it, for the first few weeks. I got home and was presented with a sarcastic mother "heyup gayboy” was the first thing she said to me as I walked through the door. After this, and a brief argument about why I had ‘all of a sudden decided this’, my mum forced me to ring my grandparents and tell them about my sexuality. My Mommar (Grandmother) thought it was just a phase and my granddad didn’t comment – until this very day neither have treated me differently and have been fully supportive. For the next few weeks my relationship with my mum broke down when communications were kept to a minimal, my dad had fully supported me and asked me how I knew I was gay, and why I hadn’t told them sooner. He warned me to think the situation completely over before coming out at school, but told me I was still his son regardless and how my mother’s actions were wrong as she should have left me to come out in my own time. Nearly two years later things are fine, all my family that matters to me supports me unconditionally and have welcomed my partner.
Even though I lost my ‘closest friends’ as they didn’t want to be associated with a "faggot”, due to fears they too would be considered gay, I gained some new and better friends. Overall my coming out process was a long ordeal and has led to me having physical and verbal abuse but, in the grand scheme of things, I’m now leading a life that isn’t a lie and I can be me. I’m not weighed down by the guilt of not being honest about my sexuality and it has allowed me to be with somebody whom is loving and affectionate who I can happily be the same with. No longer do I feel ashamed or consider myself as wrong for liking boys. I don’t blame my mum for her reaction as it must have been a shock to her and I don’t dwell on the ignorance of my old mates because life is too short to worry about those who don’t matter.
It took two years but I got there, and life couldn’t be better