Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Email from Virgin Driver

A couple of days ago, I got a lovely email from a reader who called himself "Virgin Driver". In the email he told me that my blog had helped transform his life, had helped him to come out as a confident gay man, and had also inspired him to blog about it too. Getting emails like that always makes me very happy, and makes me think that blogging is a highly worthwhile activity. Although at the moment his blog is invitation only, he sent me his first posting with permission to use it here in my "Reader's story" category. This is what his first post says:


So, I'm a 24 year old virgin who can't drive, but not for much longer. The thing is I'm gay, but up until a few weeks ago I couldn't really admit that to myself. Of course I've known for years, even started to accept it internally, but three weeks ago something just clicked. I changed from "slowing coming to terms with my sexuality" to being "gay and proud of it" and ready to do something about it and tell people in the very near future.

So why am I blogging about this? Well it's cheaper than therapy for all those years of repressed sexuality, but mainly because the thing that made "something click" three weeks ago was a blog. If this can help another gay person come out and fell happy and confident about their sexuality then it will be worth every word. The last few weeks have been some of the most exciting and revelational in my life and I want to be able to look back and remember how it all felt.

Coming out to myself - properly - was the hardest part (I hope). Unlike some guys who worry that their parents will freak out or their friends will abandon them, I genuinely can't see that happening to me. I also live in one of the best cities in the world to be gay in: London, and I work in an industry where it definitely won't affect my career: Creative.

I have a really caring, open-minded and liberal bunch of friends. There are already lots of gay guys in my extended circle, so apart from an initial shock they should get used to it pretty quickly. Although if I'm honest I don't think there will that much shock, they probably put the pieces of the puzzle together themselves a long time ago.

As for my parents, they're pretty liberal, they like to think of themselves as good, modern, middle-class, open minded people. They've never put any pressure on me or my brother (who I'll get to later) to be or do anything, they just want us to be happy. Even if they initially have trouble accepting it they'll try to happy for me. There's another reason I'm optimistic about it, which I'll get to below. I don't plan to tell them for a while yet, I want to build up my own confidence and have the ability to support them if they need help when I do come out. It took me about six years to accept my sexuality so I can't expect them to be 100% fine over-night, but they'll get used to it.

As for my brother, well that's a different story, but not the one you might expect. The thing is he's gay too. Apparently it's not as unusual as you might think. I've been about 99% sure he was gay for the last few years, but didn't really think about it too much. He was also the first friend or family member I came out to, just last weekend. I wasn't planning to tell him first. But I knew he was gay and I wanted us to be able to talk about it. We're not really that close, but I think part of the reason for that is because up until last weekend there was a great big elephant in the room that is our relationship. I'm not entirely sure how he took it, I thought we would have a really good talk about a lot of things but we only talked for about 15 minutes and then didn't mention it for the rest of the weekend. Maybe he was shocked, he said it had crossed his mind, but I'm very quiet and reserved so wasn't giving any of the obvious signals. I'll have to try talk about it with him some more but we don't live in the same city. He's going to be visiting London in June when he's going to introduce me to his boyfriend of one year.

Well there is so much more I need to punch out on this keyboard, but I think I've written enough for now, coming up in future posts:

Gay support groups (or Gay.A. meetings as I call them)
My early memories and thinking for the first time that I might be gay.
Living in the closet in San Francisco.
Using gay social networking sites.
Making gay friends.
Meeting my brother's boyfriend.
Coming out to my close friends.
Telling my parents.
Going to my first gay bar.
My first date. (happening this Tuesday)
My first "experience" (Although I'm not sure how explicit I want this blog to be, so don't get your hopes up)
Being out at work. ( haven't got a clue how that is going to work yet or if it even needs to happen)
My thoughts on relationships and casual sex (constantly evolving)
Gay culture reviews and maybe some gay rights history too.
And last but not least: learning to drive.

It's all ahead of me and I'll try to share (almost) every detail here too.

Lastly a shout out to the two blogs that have helped me massively so far, London Preppy, who like me was a 24 year old virgin and whose coming out post kick started this whole process and gaybanker whose wisdom, experience and honest blogging helped me take the next steps.


alastair said...

A delight to read; good for him.

And I still, at 29, can't drive!

Sir Wobin said...

You don't need a licence to drive a man (or ride him!)

Some should definitely come with a warning label and most shops never accept returns even when the goods were clearly factory soiled. But that's fashion for you. Sometimes you must have it because it looks just gorgeous on you even though you know they're just for a season.

Happy shopping!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the club !!! You do sound very lucky in that friends and family will probably take the news well. That was a well written post - hopefully you will consider extending your blog beyond invite only. Good luck on your gayventure :P

Anonymous said...

Cool letter and a good read! I saw quite a few echoes of my experience in there, too. The first person I came out to was my sister's best friend, who turned out to be her girlfriend!

I realised I was 100% gay about 3 months after meeting my first boyfriend. At first it seemed like an experiment as I'd found myself attracted to men rather than women and I wanted to find out what that was all about.

It hit me at about 3pm on a Thursday. I struggled through the rest of the work day then picked up a bottle of whisky and a pile of junk food on the way home, holed up and got very, very drunk.

The basis of my reality came crashing down. My future thoughts of a wife and family disappeared. I was going to be an outcast, shunned. I was never going to be able to be affectionate with anyone I loved in a natural, public way. All negative stuff.

Oh, and I was also terrified that dying of AIDS was now a foregone conclusion. I grew up just at the right time for the first wave of very agressive 'public service announcements' about the disease.

The next evening I told my mother. She took it well at the time. All she said was "Thank God, I thought you'd got some girl pregnant!"

I made a point of taking her shopping in the morning and asked her how she was doing. She said she was fine, then told me that it'd kept her awake for 10 minutes or so but then she realised that despite this new information that I was exactly the same person I used to be.

For me, that simple truth formed the basis of my acceptance of my sexuality. Realising you're gay doesn't change who or what you are. You were already 'that way' before you were aware of it.

David said...

great post.loving your blog gay banker.like to get an invite to virgin drivers blog too.

Anonymous said...

Nice Posting

Mike said...

That's a nciely written first post. Congratulations on deciding to come out. It's absolutely the right thing to do!! There are lots of places you can get advice on coming out to people - especially parents and for me preapration really helped. But it sounds like you'e got your head around most of the issues you want to explore; and good luck on your first date!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun ride to be in on, too. How do you get an invite?

Godfrey Off the Grid said...

as a fellow 24 y/o virgin, i'd love to read his blog. seems like a very articulate fellow