One of the biggest ways a person can feel comfortable in themselves is to be open about their sexuality. In the run up to DCU’s LGBT Equality Week, The College View spoke to some of the members of the LGBTA Society about their experiences.
Young people seem to come out at a young age, wanting to be accepted for who they really are. Adam Mynes came out to his close friends when he was 13 and to his family this year. Oisin Cotter came out at 14, Stuart Anderson at 16, and Cellena Connolly-Moynihan at the end of her Leaving Cert. year. Coming out isn’t an easy thing to do and everyone does it differently. “Not everyone in my family knows. But that’s just my own choice”, said Oisin. Cellena told her mam and got her to “tell everyone else” for her.
There is still, however, a slight pressure on some young people to stay quiet about their sexuality. Stuart experienced this when people kept asking him if he was gay before he was ready to come out so he “denied it”. As Irish society becomes more liberal, attitudes toward LGBT people are changing immensely. Stuart recalls the reaction he received when he came out. “I think all my friends took it positively, even though at the time I didn’t have many close friends.” Oisin feels lucky that he was in an accepting school, which made the process easier for him.
Many LGBT people find they make stronger friendships after they come out. “You’re more yoursel”, said Cellena.
Adam said that there was never a real dramatic change after he came out, “it was sort of like the same, old Adam”. Stuart claimed that he found it hard to make friends before he came out, but it’s easier now. “I started to make true friends that I could talk to about anything, whereas before I had to watch what I’d say.”
Typical of Generation Tech, Facebook can play a role in young people’s decision to come out. Cellena tagged herself in a relationship with her girlfriend Ciara, while Adam updated his ‘interested in’ to men.
Coming out is a complicated thing, but when you do, it is the best feeling in the world, according to Oisin, the Chairperson of LGBTA this year. “Even after coming out to just one person, your life changes completely. It’s like you’re finally becoming the real you.” Stuart feels more confident after coming out. “I was living each day, but I wasn’t really being me.”
With legislation about same sex marriages in the news on a regular basis, opinions differ in society as to when they will become legal. Oisin can see it being legal in the next five years, while Adam can’t see it happening for more than 10 years. However, there was an air of optimism in his thoughts. “There’s no way that we’re going to go backwards.”