Coming out

One of the most universal aspects of being LGBT is coming out. 

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1984: Chris Smith, the first openly gay MP © Picture Nation


Everyone in the gay community has to decide whether to come out, when to come out and who to come out to. These decisions are made not just once, but confronted over and again every day and as we meet new people in new situations.
The year after the Pink Singers were formed, Britain got its first openly gay MP:

‘My name is Chris Smith. I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and I’m gay.’

Fairy tales and horror stories

Framed copies of all three Pink Singers CDsAs an ‘out’ choir, the Pink Singers is a place where you don’t need to come out to other members and this is something members have often said they value.
But some Pink Singers have used the choir as a way of coming out to their wider friends and family.  Some have invited their parents and friends to our concerts, others have posted one of our choir CDs home. After all, who could be cross that their child has joined a choir?
Coming out stories range from the tragic to the absurd. Through the videos below, you can uncover some of ours, but we would love to know yours (if you have one). If you came out through the medium of baking, singing or simply by talking to people sensibly, tell us your coming out story by leaving a comment on this page.

Coming out – our stories

Kate
Kate talks about how the choir can provide an easy way to come out...
Emma Jane
Emma Jane talks about coming to terms with being gay
Sam
Sam remembers the rehearsal that prompted him to come out to his parents...
Michael
Coming out often meant great personal and professional risk, as Michael recalls
Chris
Chris recalls the first time she took a girlfriend home...
Sally
Sally remembers a time when two women living together were called 'sisters'...
Murray
Murray remembers what people called 'the struggle he was going through'...
Paul
Paul recalls leaving behind his Welsh, Catholic upbringing and coming to London

 
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36 thoughts on “Coming out”

  1. I came out to my mom in the intermission of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway (NYC). How could she not have known? 🙂 She’s fab now! 🙂

  2. I came out to my dad because of my first girlfriend but to the rest of the world through joining the Brisbane Lesbian & Gay Pride Choir!

  3. My mother is 80, she is singing in her ‘Evergreen’ Choir. I sing with Schwubs, the Bern gay choir. She brings her friends to my concerts, I bring my friends to hers!

  4. I came out to my wife while we were hanging the washing out!! It was difficult and there’s been a few hard years… but we’re still friends!

  5. Like Karin, I came out to my parents by telling them I’d joined a chorus (the LGMC). Within two minutes the conversation had moved on to Alliance & Leicester building society accounts.

  6. I told my sister I ‘thought I was gay’. She reached her hand out to take mine and I took her hand. Then she said ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get you a good doctor!’ I said then said with absolute surprise at her repsonse, ‘I don’t need a doctor. I’m very happy.’ And then she said ‘Oh well that’s ok.’

  7. When I was 18 a family friend rang up my parents and ‘accidentally’ told them I was gay. It wasn’t the best day for me. 🙁

  8. Unable to come out in the 1970s put me in a vulnerable position. It would be after 30 years of abuse that I could come out – stand tall and be myself. I now stand before my peers with pride of who I am! – Hallelujah!

  9. I did not ‘come out’. It made me irritable that I should have to. I fell in love with a woman. People were aware. That’s it. Right?

  10. I spent months hoping I was secretly straight. When I came out to my dad all he said was ok, good. But if a guy touches you I’ll kill him!

  11. I came out to my Muslim brother and sister last week. They said they already figured it out and hugged me.

  12. I came out to my mum in 1984. She has always been OK about such things. But for the first 10 years she thought it was a phase. LOL

  13. When I came out I throught we would become closer with my mom, in fact with separated… forever. But you are always in my heart.

  14. I came out after my Dad opened a mailing by accident that was quite graphic (to me but not invited 🙂 from Millivres Publishing) – a shock over the breakfast table but since then they have been fantastically supportive as have my family and friends. Nice 🙂

  15. I defied any expectation of my family by coming out in the middle of a huge town gathering in south Italy. I’m absolutely f**** proud of who I am. – Silulo, founder of Brighton’s Gay Men’s Chorus

  16. Playing a Role versus Being Me. I spent my whole life trying out ‘other people’s identities’, and was bisexual in conduct. Might have talked ‘out and proud’ but never felt it. Inside, I was putting my fingers in my ears. As I came to know myself better, I began to realise things. During the final year of a 3-year relationship with a man, I had ‘I am gay, I’m gay, I’m gay!’ going through my head all the time. What I’ve learned in the years since we broke up is that, while my conduct may have been bisexual, my truest inner identity, and my natural inclination, is a lesbian. I am a lesbian!? It’s a journey. Hannah Rose xx

  17. I told my Mum I was gay when I was 14 and she immediately went to talk to her gay colleague to get details of a local gay youth group. But that was a bit of a terrifying idea for a 14-year old me, so I came out properly at uni.

  18. I was outed at school (Christian, all-girls) as a bisexual trans guy. I lost most of my friends and the bullying was awful. I had people make the sign of the cross at me and every thing. I had to drop out of school. I’m so proud I got to uni and now I was to be a teacher. Charley

  19. I asked my mum if she remembered my friend Sam, then revealed Sam was a boy. My Dad texted me to say ‘heard your news. All ok.’ Mike, LGMC x

  20. I came out to my parents after lots of teasing from my parents about if I’m moving to London to find a foreign girlfriend. I was like ‘No, a foreign boyfriend’. The rest is history. Dru

  21. When I told my mum I thought I was gay she said ‘it doesn’t matter you’re my son and I love you.’ A lovely lady!

  22. Having come out as gay – I can honestly say that coming out to my parents as HIV+ was the hardest thing I have ever done… Mark

  23. As a Northern Irish protestant – I came out by telling my mum that I was dating a man named Seamus. ‘Is he a CATHOLIC?!’ was her response!! Paul (husband of Pinkie Ben)

  24. I came out by ‘accidentally’ leaving my job application for bar staff at a gay bar, and my parents found it – oops. Mark

  25. I came out to my parents on 1 Sept 2002 (some dates you never forget!) when I was 18. 4 years later I joined the gay rights movement in Malta and came out to the world. It’s nice out here! Bernaied xx

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London's LGBT+ Community Choir