I came out to myself almost 20 years ago, when I was at high school, but chose not to do anything about it for a long time. I didn’t think it was possible to be gay and a geek, I felt I’d be shunned by both groups. There were no role models for someone like me. Whenever it got too much I’d distract myself with some kind of adventure: studying abroad, living and working in a frozen wasteland with only fifteen other people, volunteering in Africa.
Eventually I decided that I couldn’t keep avoiding the issue, I couldn’t keep running away and the loneliness was wearing me down. So I got a job, got a boyfriend and started the process of coming out. I’m still amazed (even though I shouldn’t be) at how my family, friends and colleagues accepted the news and carried on as if nothing had changed.
But sometimes I’ll wonder how things could have been. What if I’d kept kissing that guy at the university party instead of running away? What if I’d tried out gay life during my studies in Germany? Why did I make myself miss out on all the fun of being young, gay and single?
The rest of the time I think those thoughts are ridiculous. I made the choices I did and as a result I’ve seen and done things that few others have. Those choices changed the 14 year old who was scared of everything into the man I am now.