An 18 year-old Irish student has told The Mirror he is “terrified” that coming out as gay while his grandparents are alive would “destroy” them.
The teenager wrote to the paper seeking advice. His anonymous letter said: “I’ve always struggled with my sexuality because, growing up in an Irish Catholic family, I’ve been used to hearing homophobic statements if two women or two men were kissing on telly – stuff like ‘That shouldn’t be allowed’ or, ‘That’s bloody disgusting.
“I used to think it was dirty; that it was a disgrace that two people of the same gender can be in love.”
The teenager recalled the 2015 marriage equality referendum, which passed by a landslide. However, in his own family, the issue was a cause of division.
“I remember sitting in my grandparents’ house while a cousin was there having a full-blown argument with them over the fact that they were voting No,” he wrote.
“My mum and dad haven’t made homophobic comments because I think they know I’m gay and don’t want me to be upset. But I’m terrified! I feel like deep down they’d be really upset if I actually confirmed it.”
The teenager has said he is now entering university in Dublin but he is still unsure whether he can come out or not. “We are a very close-knit family, yet I’m living with this lie.
“It’s having a profound effect on my mental health and I really feel like this is ruining my teenage years. I have fabulous friends who I know wouldn’t tell anyone, yet I’m terrified what the ripple effect will be.”
The Mirror‘s columnist responded by reminding the teenager coming out should be something he does at his own pace and reminded him that while his grandparents may not be supportive, he has a very understanding cousin, sensitive parents and good friends.
The advice columnist wrote: “You deserve to be who you are and live your life as you please without feeling you have to keep your sexuality under wraps.” Finally, she reminded him that university students tend to have a more inclusive way of thinking.
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