U.K. Site Shares Coming Out Stories of Young and Old Alike
BY Daniel Reynolds
September 06 2012 5:00 AM ET
As a youth worker for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, Wayne Dhesi answers a lot of difficult questions from young people. But when a teenager in his charge asked for advice on coming out, Dhesi wasn’t sure how to respond.
“He had a lot of questions,” says the 30-year-old Dhesi, who himself came out only a few years ago. “I was very apprehensive to give advice, because everyone’s situation is different.”
He decided to write down his own story, creating a detailed narrative that traced his own path from “closeted” to “out” gay man. And he enlisted a friend to write one as well. Dhesi shared these testimonials with the teenager, who came to a realization: he wasn’t alone in his fears. Others had gone through his situation, and survived to discover a community of support.
The experience got Dhesi thinking.
In March 2012, he launched RUComingOut.com, a website that collects firsthand accounts of coming out stories, which are designed to be a “resource for those who are living life in the closet.” To date, Dhesi has received nearly 100 submissions from the out and proud, a diverse selection that includes lawyers, athletes, moms, accountants, and reality television stars. Their locations vary as well. While most are from the United Kingdom, there are representatives from the United States, Sweden, New Zealand, China, Australia, and more.
The result? A growing, written survey of the fears, challenges, and triumphs faced by closeted LGBT people.
Despite their disparate backgrounds, these accounts share many common questions. “What if it was just a phase?" Andres, 21, from New York City remembers thinking. “Why was this happening to me? Why was I not ‘normal’ like the rest of the world?”
Other questions are not so common. “Do I split up my family unit in order for me to be true to myself?" wonders Jess, 31, from Birmingham, England, who was married and had two children at the time. She ended up leaving her husband, and came out by kissing her girlfriend at a family reunion.