When I was 14 I saw a boy who changed my life. He was a beautiful 18 year old sixth former at school and the moment I laid eyes upon him was the moment I finally admitted to myself that I was gay. There’d been a suspicion in my heart for a long time, but as a newly committed Christian (mainly in rebellion at my family’s rather long history of non-belief) I’d denied it for as long as I could. But it’s hard work hiding something from yourself and finally admitting that I was gay, just to myself, was a liberating experience that I still remember vividly to this day.
It’s not easy. The fear of the repercussions of coming out to others rendered me depressed and suicidal. At the age of 18 I attempted suicide (thankfully in a typically cackhanded and very unsuccessful fashion that resulted in no more than 24 hours of medical drama). But it does get better. It really, really does.
When you’re young you worry too much about what other people think of you (or what you think they will think of you) and think the whole world will judge you forever. Here’s the secret: once you are out of school you’ll find most people don’t care and, even better, it doesn’t really matter what people think of you. You’ll find even if your parents are judgmental it won’t really matter once you’re older; you’ll appreciate that parents aren’t the all-knowing Gods they appear when you are young but are just as flawed as anyone else.
Things do get better. I would not change my sexuality for anything. Not only has it brought me personal joy, but being “different” to the majority gives you an interesting and useful perspective on life. I found it gave me patience and compassion for others who are not like me.
If you’re depressed, if you think the world is against you, if you think no one cares… you are very wrong. Too many young people have taken their lives this year. We don’t want any more. There is hope, and there will always be someone there to talk to. In America there’s the Trevor Project. In Britain there is the Samaritans and the LGBT Switchboard. Contact them if you even think of ending your life. They can help you. There are people who give a damn.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist