The last 16 months we have been told to stay at home, often only allowed to go outside to get groceries or go for a walk. So how has it been for LGBTQ+ people who came out at a time where we all had to stay in? GCN has partnered with Dublin Bus and DoDublin for the Coming Out With campaign, bringing you the stories of six LGBTQ+ people living in Dublin who have told the world who they are during a time where it has been closed down.
As people in the LGBTQ+ community know well, coming out is not a once off catch-all event but is a continuing process that happens frequently throughout your life. However, telling someone your identity for the first time is still an experience that most have gone through, and when the reaction is positive it can be a watershed moment for many LGBTQ+ folk, both young and old.
Keeva Boyle knows this better than most as she first came out in school as bisexual to a select few people. However, as her identity evolved and she learned more about who she was, she came out again in her early twenties as queer.
“It just made sense to me,” she tells GCN. “I came out this time around and it just felt comfortable, I felt like I knew myself more. All of these things just started clicking into place that made sense about how I felt and who I was.”
She started coming out to friends around May of 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. The reaction was really positive from both her family and friends. She had been a bit concerned about coming out for a second time and how that might be perceived by others. Yet she has learned so much from the experience.
“Your identity, whether it’s your sexuality or your gender identity, those things are allowed to change and they’re allowed to be fluid and they’re also allowed to stay the same in certain periods of your life or all of your life and you don’t have any control over that.
“Labels should only be there to serve you and to make you feel more valid, they’re not to restrict you in any way.”
The process of people knowing she is queer in her everyday life has become somewhat easier as she adopted a more outwardly queer look. “I recently got my haircut. And it looks kind of longer at the front than it is. But it’s quite short. And I’ve had to come out a lot less since I got that haircut. Because I think people now look at me and they’re like, ‘Oh, she’s probably gay’, which is helpful!” she laughs.
The new cut has also brought some unexpected attention. “Kids definitely have a goo, they’re like looking at me walking down the street. But I think it’s just that they’re curious, you know, or I like to think it’s that they’re also gay, and that they’re looking at me, not understanding what’s going on, but they’re like, ‘Oh, I want to look like that’.”
— dublinbusnews (@dublinbusnews) June 26, 2021
As things reopen again and now that Keeva has found a new confidence in herself, she is looking forward to getting out and about around Dublin again.
However, she also has concerns about the city. “I think most of what would make it not welcoming, in my opinion, is stuff that makes it not welcoming to most people that live in Dublin. It’s the housing crisis and we don’t have a great nightclub culture because of all of the regulations about shutting at a certain time.
“It doesn’t necessarily have that huge queer culture that European cities tend to have. But I think that’s really down to government choices and city planning.”
Despite the city’s ongoing problems, Keeva is excited to move forward with the next chapter of her life and begin a masters in UCD as a confident and happy queer woman.
With more stories to share from the wonderful people who feature in the Dublin Bus Coming Out With campaign, be sure to check back on GCN! And catch the Coming Out With Pride campaign on the sides of the Dublin Bus fleet and bus shelters across the city!
© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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