Vice-President, Rainbow UC & Bachelor of Primary Education (STeM) student
I didn’t come out to my parents until after I had moved to Sydney for uni – I was too terrified to really say anything till then, even to myself.
I grew up on a farm, and the closest town to us had a population of 40. On the one hand, my parents were pretty progressive-minded, and my maternal grandmother was openly gay; on the other hand, I had had several experiences at school, and in my home town, that made me suppress any feelings or thoughts about my sexuality.
I first came out as bisexual at uni, and I was dating a guy for a couple of years. Saying that I liked women out loud was a way to express all these thoughts that were flooding my head. Telling people helped me to not overthink things, to free up that brain space.
I called my mum first. She cried, and, among other things, asked me what she was supposed to tell her colleagues (and I was like: maybe you don’t really have to tell them anything?).
It was hard seeing someone I was so close to finding it difficult to deal with something so personal and so important. But then I realised, I had had time to process this about myself – it was brand new to her, and she needed to take some time to work through it too. She did, and it’s all good now.
I think that’s an important thing to remember, if someone comes out to you – it’s ok to not be fine with it right away. But it is important to listen to them, respectfully. And to separate your feelings for that person, a friend or a loved one, from what they are telling you about themselves. Then take the time to process it.
To realise I didn’t identify as bisexual, and to come out as gay, was a bit different – it’s been small conversations and actions more than a big moment.
For my Dad, I did it by introducing him to my girlfriend. He’s a lot quieter than my Mum, especially when he’s unsure about something, so it was about him meeting someone important in my life, and liking and respecting that person, rather than having a long conversation.
He reached out to me and said that if Lauren wanted to come to the farm any time, she was more than welcome. That really meant so much to me, because the farm is a place that’s very important to him.
Sometimes, coming out can be a long and complicated thing, something you may feel you have to do every time you move, or make new friends, or start a new job.
My coming out was mainly about coming out to my parents. With everyone else, it has been more about the physical transformation – changing my hair and how I dress, to something I’m more comfortable with – and being freer in my conversation.
When I had the support of the people who meant the most to me, I was able to be open in many other areas of my life, and not be so worried about the consequences. Because I knew they had my back.
Read more Coming Out stories here: