KaleidoScot’s Nicola Hunter Page shares her Coming Out Story: “When I was a teenager, I was the lucky girl that had the mum my friends adored. More often than not they would spend time at my house, asking her for advice and help – generally treating her like a second mother. She in turn loved them right back, but kept a secret from them to protect me. I’d long since accepted that my mum was gay, but was always wary of letting people know – especially friends. I’d been burnt before. Eventually though, I decided to ‘come out’ to 4 of my friends. I wasn’t ashamed of my mum or her sexuality, and I no longer wanted to hide what wasn’t really a big deal to me.
“My friends tried to be nonchalant and supportive. It was sweet, they didn’t really have much experience in non normative relationships but instinctively knew this was not something they should have a problem with. Mummy Anna was still mummy Anna, after all. And yet, the next time we were all in my house together, there was a tension of uncertainty and worry. I felt bad for them, this wasn’t my first rodeo, I still remembered how badly other friends had taken it and at least these lovely souls were trying to act normally.
“I quickly formed a plan. My mum knew I had revealed the truth to my friends, but I didn’t have time to clue her in on what I decided to do. I just hoped she was savvy enough to get the shtick. Spoiler alert – I needn’t have worried.
“Bringing my mum into the living room, I gravely asked her to sit down, that I needed to tell her something. Confused and looking slightly panicked, she sat down and looked at my 4 friends, who by this point were just as confused as she was.
“’Mum’, I sighed – trying to look as heartbroken as possible, ‘I need to tell you something. It’s something I’ve keep hidden for a long time, but it’s time I’m honest with you.’
“Mum looked like she was about to faint. Hey, I was 15 and living in a not great area, what do you think she was thinking? I decided to let her in on the joke before she passed out.
“’I… I… Mum, I… like boys!’ I stammered out, looking for any sign she understood. Her hand flew to her chest and she gasped ‘No!’
“’Mum, I’ve tried not to, but I can’t help it! It’s who I am!’
“I looked around my friends, they still looked confused. Heh.
“My mum stood, came closer to me. ‘Have you really tried? I mean, have you tried to ignore it? Maybe you’re just confused. Just because you’ve made friends with boys doesn’t mean you love them like *that*!’ She stopped, like a thought had just occurred to her. ‘Oh sweetheart, you haven’t… Kissed a boy, have you? Oh god, you have! And you like it!’
“I silently nodded, tears filling my eyes. ‘I’m so sorry, I couldn’t help it! I like him too much, and he likes me! Is that so wrong?’
“She sighed, shaking her head. ‘Its just so strange Nicola. I can’t get my head around it. Have you tried being normal, staying away from boys and just spending time with girls?’
“By now I could see my friends were getting it. It was dawning on them there was a ‘normal’ for everyone, and this was ours.
“’Mum, really I have, but it doesn’t help. I just think about boys anyway’.
“She sat down again, and we wrapped up our little pantomime. ‘I can’t believe it. My eldest child, a heterosexual. You know what they’ll call you, a hettie! Oh Nicola, it’ll be so difficult! Living that way, people might not understand.’
“I sat down next to her. ‘I know mum, but I need to be true to me. I hope you’ll still love me.’
“Hugging me, she exclaimed ‘Of course I will! I wouldn’t let anyone treat you different! You’re still my daughter after all’.
“We looked around the room. Then the giggles started. I don’t know who laughed first, but I remember it ending in a massive group hug and shouts of ‘we still love ya hettie!’
“After that, none of them treated mum any differently than before. Mission accomplished.
“Of course, I wasn’t telling the whole truth. Fact was, by then I knew that I was bisexual. I already knew that boys and girls were equally as attractive to me. My mum knew this too but for the purposes of the pantomime we didn’t discuss that part! As I got older it was just a fact of my life that I readily admitted to, but oddly enough I never had *that talk* with anybody about it. To me it was like admitting my eyes are green – an obvious non-subject. Still, I feel like I live an authentic life, my private life is my business but not something I hide.
“That’s why I think Coming Out Day is an important date to acknowledge. For so many people living authentically means telling a truth that’s sometimes that’s scary to admit to. It’s a personal choice that is filled with bravery and strength, and doing it on a day where you know thousands of other people are doing it too makes you feel less alone. There’s not one person in the world who hasn’t got at least one coming out story, so to me coming out means being a true and hopeful part of the human race.”