Coming Out with Matthew
Location: New Zealand
Identity/Gender: Gay Male
When did you first realize your identity? and what was the story behind it?
I was maybe my early teens when all the boys were noticing the girls except me. It wasn't until I was really going through puberty that my mind started to click onto the fact that I was attracted to guys.
Was there someone who helped you to come out or given you some advice to help you in the coming out process? Or were did you go through it all by yourself? Or were you outed by someone?
There wasn't really anyone who I could look up to. My mum has a gay cousin so the idea behind it didn't really scare her. My friends were a big help and made sure I was comfortable with myself.
Who did you come out to first and what was their reaction? Was it positive or negative? Did you plan the whole thing or was it impromptu? What made you choose to tell that person?
It started with friends and as my courage grew I moved onto my family. Well at least the ones who I knew would be expecting. Telling my mom was the first family member and then my step father and they both told me they loved me regardless.
How did you feel after coming out? What happened? Do you remember what were the exact words that you said when you came out? Was the subsequent coming out sessions easier or harder than the first?
The time before their reaction made me feel like my heart would stop at any moment and I was waiting for disapproval. I went home before seeing mom's reaction. After that it got a lot easier.
Since coming out, how has it affected your life? What about other areas such a job, family, friends, school?
Since being out, I haven't received any hate at all. But I go by the thought that only people who matter should know and it's no on else's business.
What does being out mean to you? What difference, if any, did your cultural background make to your experience of coming out?
It means being happy with who I am and being able to live life. To not be judge and have people around me who support me.
What positive message would you say or give to someone who is wanting to come out or still in the closet?
Take your time. Be ready at your own pace. But also embrace your sexuality and don't let anyone undermine you. You only live once so make sure it's worth it.