Coming Out with Tony Langdon
Name: Tony Langdon
Location: Bendigo VIC
Identity/Gender: Gay Male
When did you first realize your identity? and what was the story behind it?
Took me many years to realize my identity. This was largely due to a lack of role models that I could identify with. I eventually accepted it just after I left home at age 22. Not long after moving to Melbourne, I had some encounters with other guys, and that made it obvious.
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?
I more drifted out than any spectacular coming out. People slowly found out over a period of time, as I didn’t put a huge amount of effort into hiding who I was, but I didn’t “broadcast” it to the world either. Everyone is different, but that worked for me – people found out by a number of means, from online “breadcrumb trails” to honest answers to direct questions, and everything in between. My sisters were a help, because I knew they would be accepting, and they were among the first family to find out.
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?
Technically, it was one of my flatmates at the time, but he was also a factor in my own self identification. As he was attracted to me, the outcome was positive. Outside the gay community, I think 2 of my sisters were the first. My late first partner and I were holidaying on the Gold Coast where they lived, and over the period of several days, my sisters got curious as to why I was hanging around with an obviously gay man, so they asked if we were “together”, to which I answered “yes”. As expected, their reaction was very positive. It wasn’t planned, though I was aware of the possibility they might ask, and I was 99% sure they’d take it well, which they did.
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?
I felt relieved, above all, and that has been my most common reaction to subsequent coming out experiences. Some experiences were easier, some were harder, though the trend over time is that coming out is both easier and even less “explicit”. Often it’s simply talking about life that leads to coming out along the way, such as when talking about our recent wedding.
Since coming out, how has it affected your life? What about other areas such a job, family, friends, school?
The whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive for me. All of my employers have known about my sexual orientation, and it’s been a non issue. Family are all supportive, and attended our recent wedding. Friends now are people I’ve met since coming out, so they’ve known from the start. The few people from earlier, like school that I’ve seen since have been supportive. I’m also a volunteer firefighter and involved in sporting clubs. The fire brigade have been great. In fact, a number of members attended our wedding, and some of them hosted and helped organize it. And in sport, I’ve had no issues either.
What does being out mean to you? What difference, if any, did your cultural background make to your experience of coming out?
Being out means being my real self wherever I go. My background has had mixed influences. In the early years, being from a small town did contribute to delaying my coming out, but later, being an Anglo-Australian probably helped.
What positive message would you say or give to someone who is wanting to come out or still in the closet?
Coming out can be the most liberating thing you do in your life. No more having to second guess who you’ve told, or worry what might happen when people find out by accident. When you’re not trying to hide all the time, you can concentrate on living life to the fullest.