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30 Day LGBT Challenge: Day 3

Learn more about the 30 Day LGBT Challenge.

Day 3 – How old were you when you knew? What was that like for you?

Barry: On some level I knew I was different from about the age of 8.  I’m not sure I fully understood what the difference was though. It wasn’t until 1986 when I was ten and I knew what ‘gay’ was.  I also pretty much knew that I had a massive crush on Elek Kisch, the Hungarian boy down the street and that because of that, I’d probably die from AIDS.

By 1988 I was going through puberty and was terrified of life.  As clichéd as it sounds, I cried myself to sleep most nights and hated myself for not being one of the boys. (I always was a bit of a drama queen).

By 1989 hunched over a New Kids on the Block poster in the bathroom I was pretty certain I was gay.

Listen to Dear Me – A Letter to my 16 Year Old Self.


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2 replies

  1. I was 14 when I knew for sure I was gay. I already knew that was considered a ‘bad’ thing in my community. I’d known that pretty much as far back as I can remember. I had so many feelings that I just could not act on. I felt an enormous sense of danger for myself. A cycle of pretending just embedded itself around me, and I allowed it out of fear. To this day it frightens me to remember this time in my life, and I think it’s a wonder I ever grew at all as a person from that point onwards.


  2. My first day or my second year at college. I met someone, and I couldn’t get them out of my mind (cue Kylie). I thought I recognised or remembered him from somewhere, but after about a week of soul searching and driving my mates made, it dawned on me that I didn’t recognise him, I fancied him. At that point I thought I was about to turn into a social leper, but that didn’t happen for at least another 16 years!
    As I thought on, I could remember having gay thoughts or feelings from a very early age. But, as it was Fife in the early 80’s and these thoughts were considered ‘wrong’, I pushed them to one side, and even tried to superimpose more regular thoughts on top of them. The upshot of this was I hid, very successfully, from myself until that age of 26.
    Has this totally fucked me up psychologically, making me at odds with the gay as well as the straight world? Too damn right it has! But it has also spawned an almost religious and loving appreciation for the warm and soothing arms of gin.


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