my queer space

KAMPALA

aBOUT TODAY'S AUTHOR

The writer/author of this week’s story is Samantha, a student, sex worker and activist with LGBT Uganda…

Coming OUT!

 

 

For a gay person, coming out to friends and family can be a major milestone in our lives.

Opening up to those closest to us about our sexuality can signify a moment in which we begin to live freely as a proud gay person.

Gay people can be met with an array of responses after deciding to come out, and many of us have our own stories to tell.

Some of these can highlight the uncomfortable scenarios that often surround the act.

I spoke with three gay men and women about their awkward experiences.

Alexander, 27

My story is probably the worst fear of many closeted gay people.

In my early twenties I was still somewhat uncomfortable with my sexuality.

Therefore, I wasn’t yet out to my family and the majority of my friends.

Despite this, I still lived a fairly open gay life, which involved regularly going out in the gay scene and even dating guys, but there were many times through the years when my hidden lifestyle came close to being exposed.

 
 

Near run-ins with friends and family, either in gay clubs or during a date with my boyfriend at the time, all luckily ended in total avoidance.

My luck eventually ran out.

One particular day, which just happened to be gay pride, my anonymity went out the window when I bumped into the wrong people at the worst possible time.

Despite my fairly open engagement with the local gay community, Pride was an event I had always avoided because the event is not something exclusively attended by gay people.

Many of my straight family and friends visit the Pride parade every year, mainly as an excuse to drink and let their hair down.

It was for this reason that I never dared attend any Pride event; the thought of accidentally running into my parents in my natural habitat felt like such a scary concept.

This year, however, I put my fears aside after being convinced by my gay friends to attend the parade because they felt I was missing out on an important event for the LGBT community.

So I painted my face, draped myself in a Pride flag and made my way to the parade.

The first hour was a life changing experience: I was marching freely as a proud gay man for the first time in my life, but that elation quickly turned into dread when I locked eyes with my parents, who just so happened to be on the sidelines of the parade.

In that moment, which I had feared for years, the look on their faces mirrored my own, and it was a look of total disbelief.

 
 

Surprisingly I reacted to being caught in the act fairly maturely.

I exited the parade and took them aside to finally let them know I was gay.

Thankfully they took the news very well, but Sunday dinner the next day was, to put it nicely, somewhat unusual.