Earlier this month, we invited Vancity Buzz readers who identify as LGBT to submit their own ‘coming out’ stories as a way of empowering and inspiring others who may be struggling with their own sexuality.
Z95.3 FM Vancouver’s Matty B is the third of our reader-submitted coming out stories during Vancouver Pride Week 2014. #HappyPride
Occupation: Afternoon Announcer at Z95.3 FM Vancouver
Coming out is one of the most difficult and most rewarding experiences an LGBTQ person will ever go through. It happens at different times for everyone, and if I could offer one piece of advice it would be, do it when you’re ready.
I knew I was gay since about grade 10. I grew up in a very small town outside of Ottawa, and unfortunately I was teased by a few who made a lasting impact on my self confidence. However I was lucky enough to be surrounded by even more loving friends and family.
I first started to come out to my friends in college, slowly and surely testing the waters. You always build it up to be much worse than it will be, especially when you surround yourself with the right people. My sister was the first family member I told, and though she was surprised, she was instantly supportive and told me “I’m here for you, whatever you need.”
I put a lot of focus on my career right out of college and quickly moved up in radio to my first gig away from home in Saskatoon. This was a fresh start for me, I could be whoever I wanted, I could date whoever I wanted, and for the first time I really felt like myself.
I fell hard for a boy there, who unfortunately didn’t feel the same way about me. I was so upset, it felt like a black hole stirring inside me. The one person who I wanted to call and cry to and be consoled by was my mother, who I still hadn’t come out to.
But I knew this was the time. I needed help, and my parents have always been there for me when I needed it. So there, in a parking lot, in my car, in tears, I called my mother.
Deep down I knew my father would be fine with me being gay. He has always sacrificed his happiness for mine, and encouraged me through every hobby I picked up.
My mother, however, is exactly like me – stubborn, passionate, and set in her beliefs. I was worried that her fear or her misunderstanding would put a wedge in our relationship, or worse – she would push me away forever.
As soon as she answered the phone she knew something was wrong. I told her, “I got dumped.” She said, “by work?”, I laughed and said, “No. Mom, you know I’m gay, right?”.
I’ll never forget the next sentence that came out of her mouth: “Yes Matthew, we know. And we love you no matter what.”
I still get emotional thinking about how lucky I am to have such love given to me. And as usual my family found humour in the situation. My mom said, “I talked about this with your father a while ago. I said, ‘You know about Matthew, right?’ and he said, ‘ya, since about grade 2.'”
Surround yourself with the right people. Show them love, and it will be shown back. Be brave, be yourself.
– MATTY B