Six people share their powerful coming out stories.
DANIEL HARDING: Growing up was hard. I think I just assumed that I would always be different to other people, and that was just who I was. I'm angry at myself for not feeling that being different is actually quite an incredible thing. It's a beautiful thing.
I think coming out to my parents was a really hard moment, and I don't think it'll ever get easy for anyone. When I finally did, it was because I fancied someone. I thought that was it. I'm gonna marry them, if I could marry, and that would be everything.
And then, he didn't want me, so I was heartbroken. I just thought, right, I'm gonna tell my mom. Hopefully, she'll give me a hug and make me feel a bit better. And she didn't take it very well.
And then, I came out to my dad on answerphone because I thought he'd disown me. He told me, actually, a while after that it was like listening to a bad podcast where it kept on cutting out, and then you wanted to know the ending, but I didn't get to the ending until four messages. And the ending was me blurting out, I'm gay.
I think coming out to your parents is a huge step, and you have to remember that they might take a little bit of time. My mom did, and she's a fantastic support right now.
FAY BARRETT: So the first time I came out to my parents was felt like it was gonna be a hugely traumatic experience. I'd really built it up in my mind. I had this absolute dread in the pit of my stomach.
Fortunately, when I actually did come out to them, it couldn't have been better. It was like chewing a wasp for a really long time, trying to say those little words-- I am gay. I said, there's something I've got to tell you, and it's something that's making me really happy. I hope it makes you happy, too. And I said, I'm gay.
And she shot up from my chair. She came over to me, 'cause I was sobbing by this point, and she just threw her arms around me and gave me the biggest hug and just said, any girlfriend of yours is as welcome in our house as you are. And my dad was exactly the same.
LIZ RIDGWAY: It's no right or wrong way to come out. It's just a very, very personal experience and journey.
The first person I discussed being trans with was my GP. I'm not in contact with him anymore, but I wish I could say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Was just such a great support for me and helped me in those really, really early days, those difficult, really awkward days of being trans, stepping out the door as Liz and leaving my previous life behind.
Coming out as gay was a little bit like leaping out of a wardrobe and onto the dance floor. Coming out as trans was just tinted with a little bit more of complexity and perhaps more akin to popping a backpack on and starting a mountain trek. Once again, it was liberating, but with a different level of complexity than, maybe, when I came out years beforehand as gay.
TAYRIS MONGARDI: For me, personally, I feel like I have two coming-out stories myself-- one about my own reservation with it as a child, and one as a queer adult. And I think the first person I actually had that conversation with in my family was my sister. And she really is my champion in my world.
It was just a casual walk home from school, and I think I made a flippant comment about a boy I liked. And she was like, oh, are you gay? And I was like, well, yeah, here we are. I was like, yeah, I am.
Luckily, she did some of the legwork for telling the rest of the family. I'm very fortunate. My family have always been very accepting. We didn't even really have a proper conversation. I think, just head to toe, it just became general knowledge that I was.
Being of Jamaican heritage-- example, my dad-- I know in Jamaica it's still quite taboo to be LGBTQ [INAUDIBLE], and he's never batted an eye. And I think it probably helps, in ways, that I'm a drag queen now, because I think the world I lived in and the world-- the career and stuff I do-- is so far removed from the world he lives in. He's just like, if you're making money and you're keeping safe, live your life. And I keep living it, and I have love in my life. So I really feel very thankful for my family and the person they allowed me to be without hesitation.
HEATHER ELIZABETH: I remember when I first came out. I was 16. I was on holiday with my parents. I'd had a secret girlfriend for maybe six months. And I was just hanging out with my mom and feeling really close with her, and I just blurted out. I didn't like keeping secrets from her.
She just started sobbing, just sobbing, sobbing, sobbing, and then I had to just hold her. And then, she was like, don't tell your dad about this. I'm gonna go on a walk with your father and tell him about this. And then, we had dinner, and then we didn't talk about it for two years.
My parents are religious, and my church does not support gay people. And I knew they held those beliefs, but in that moment, I thought, she's gonna like me more than she likes what the church says.
It was exactly the reaction that I thought I was gonna get but I hoped I wouldn't. Things with my parents are OK. They're not gonna be at Pride any time soon, but I know that they love me for me and they support me.
At the time, I regretted coming out just because it caused me some issues. Now I don't regret it for a moment.
ANEESA CHAUDHRY: I remember, coming out at university, people were talking about me because I decided I wanted to try and be the vice president of the law society. The topic was, she's gay, she's gay. And I just thought, oh my gosh.
And my friend said, I need to tell you something. I said, OK. And she goes, they're all going on about how you're gay, and I just said, Anita is not gay. She is bisexual. And I just went, oh my god.
Well, at least I didn't have to say anything or do anything. She did it for me. But it was this moment of-- I feel so exposed and yet euphoric at the same time.
The first person I came out to was my best friend from school. And I just remember going to visit her and thinking, I just don't want to lose her. I don't want her to reject me. And alongside her was my twin sister.
There's something massive about feeling really safe with someone, and then a wall comes up because you've been honest and authentic with them. Sadly, it is hard to be Muslim and not straight, but there are now organizations such as Radical Rhizomes and also others in other parts of the world, who support and provide a safe space for people like me that just didn't exist all those years ago.
Once you're in the rainbow world, it's just yellow brick road all the way. And yeah, there'll be a few hurdles here and there, and there'll be some controversy and problems along the way, but you'll become stronger, and you'll be you. And that's the most important thing to do.