"After I came out I was almost angry with myself, because I was like 'This is fine! Everyone is fine with it! Why was I such an idiot to keep it in for so long!'" Harry Hitchens in an Interview with Attitude Magazine, 12th August 2014
Britain is ranked number one in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual and those questioning their sexuality rights (LGBTQ). This is according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association- Europe's Rainbow List 2014, which was published on the 13th May. This in part is down to the fact that on the 29th March 2014, the bill to legalise same-sex marriage was given Royal assent and became law. But there is still a way to go for members of the LGBTQ community in Britain to feel as safe and as accepted as heterosexuals.
Ben, a trainee accountant and Kirk, a graphics designer have talked about their 'coming out', how they fared at school, their treatment within the NHS in relation to blood donations, what they think of celebrities and the LGBTQ culture, especially regarding celebrities who come out and how 'gay idols' help young LGBTQ people.
According the Office for National Statistics (ONS), only 1.5% of the male population said they were gay, which drops for women identifying as gay or lesbian to 0.7%. Overall, people identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual was 1.5% of the population. This is according to the Integrated Household survey done by the ONS between April 2011 and March 2012. However, according to the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, Stonewall's website, "No-one knows how many gay people there are in Britain. Due to the legacy of criminalisation and discrimination it is likely that many studies tend to underestimate numbers. However government actuaries estimate that six per cent of the population, around 3.6 million people, are lesbian, gay or bisexual."
Is coming out a safe option?
Coming out is the process in which an individual reveals their true sexuality, whether that's gay, lesbian, bisexual and so on. 81% of young LGBTQ begin their coming out stage by telling a close friend first. But there is also the time before that when those individuals need to come out to themselves.
Ben, 22, a trainee accountant from Preston came to terms with his sexuality when he was in secondary school. He found that while many of his male friends talked about "busty girls and bragged about how they had all taken part in their male conquests", he had found himself coming "to see the beauty in the male form". He went on to say that his coming out never happened in the form of a formal announcement to all his friends and family. "I told a few friends who I had know through high school and everyone else through the introduction of my boyfriend at the time - I spent so much time worrying about my relationship than to care what other people thought about my sexuality."