The first time I realised that I like girls...

The first time I realised that I liked girls I wanted to tell everyone.

I couldn’t actually see how people would have a problem with it but my girlfriend at the time told me that I shouldn’t and I soon found out why.

My family and friends were all religious and I went to a school that was religious. When I told my friends that I thought I was gay and they ended up spreading the rumour around at a school camp and it didn’t go well at all. I laughed off the negative response and said that I was joking and then tried to convince myself that I didn’t feel that way. My girlfriend broke up with me soon after for fear of being found out.

I tried coming out again at a new school when I was a bit older. Some of my friends were cool with it but others didn’t want to talk to me anymore and seemed angry with me, but blamed it on other things. So I tried to forget about it again. But it’s not something that is easy to hide from.

When I got a bit older I told a good friend of mine. I honestly had no idea how he would react because I felt like everyone had some kind of issue with the idea of being gay. When I told him about it he was surprised, but amazingly, incredibly supportive – and you know what? Most people that I told after I left school were really cool with it.  It felt like I was finally able to be honest about it.

It took ages for me to tell my family. I told my oldest sister but I was really scared to tell everyone else because I was worried about how they would react. So I lived with a secret hanging over my head, being hurt every time they would see someone on the news that was SSA or talk about my gay friends in a negative way. When they did this it felt like they were taking shots at me.

Earlier this year, three years after I came out to most of my friends, I told Mum and Dad. They had pretty much cottoned on by then and even though I didn’t feel ready, I felt that I had to do it because I didn’t want them to ask without me being prepared.

My Dad was OK at first; Mum still hasn’t really spoken about it. I asked that they wouldn’t tell my grandparents and they did – I still haven’t spoken to them about it and it feels a bit easier not to bring it up. It still hurts to know that they think it’s a sin and they still talk to me about having boyfriends and getting married to a man like they have chosen to forget what I told them. But at least it’s not a secret anymore.

I know that I have heaps of people around who are cool with who I am and that makes it a bit easier to deal with. As for the people at school and the way that they reacted – that was tough but I have other friends now and people change their attitudes after school when they have grown up a bit. Sometimes people’s ideas about me and my own ideas about myself get me down. In Albany there hasn’t been much of a community and their isn’t much chance to meet new people. Because of this and other things I struggled a lot with myself, trying to work out who I am and at times I struggled with depression and anxiety. These have been tough times but it’s important to me to be honest with people around me and with myself.

My advice to you if you are struggling with people not accepting you for who you are is to go ahead and find someone out there who is thinks you’re awesome for being you. Find people who support you and are positive to counteract all the negativity. Open-minded people are out there, I promise. Places that helped me out were: headspace, ReachOut online and the Freedom Centre website.

Kait, age 21